Is 3D Better for Animation Or Live-Action Films?

By Mike Reyes 2014-06-13 08:35:07discussion comments
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Katzenberg
Why The Industry Feels That 3D Works Better With Animation
Many filmmakers from the more traditional days of movie making have come out in support of 3D. For instance, when being interviewed about how he saw the 3D experience influencing how Dreamworks Animation would make films from 2008 and on, Jeffrey Katzenberg believed that 3D was not only more visually impressive, but it was also imperative to the theatrical experience's survival, as it:
"...offer[ed] the first opportunity to innovate the theater experience in ways we can’t in our home for many years to come."

While the technology has made leaps and bounds in developing towards a better 3D home theater experience, there's still something superior about the way theaters show their 3D films versus how you experience them at home. The lighting's just right, there's not as much of a need to worry about where you're sitting, and it's all perfectly calibrated. Of course, technical aspects aside, the usage of 3D storytelling should bring the audience into the film that they're experiencing, instead of just allowing them to watch it in a slightly more expensive format. This is something that filmmakers of both side of the 3D aisle can agree upon. When asked about his feelings on 3D, Pixar's John Lasseter said:
"When you watch Up, it's a very subtle use of 3D, but it actually engages you. It brings the story around you that much more. It's so beautiful when you watch it."

Note that he stipulated "subtle" usage of 3D, much like Robert Zemeckis and even Steven Spielberg stipulate that they would only use 3D in a film that fit the format. When Zemeckis was going through his 3D animation period in his career, he remarked how he loved working with the format, as it was "a magnificent tool we have now to present stories that we weren't able to actually do in a way that now we were given the ability to do."

Animated storytellers like Zemeckis and Lasseter know the advantages they have in their field, and as we've seen in their work, they know how to use them. Even the "dead eyed" Polar Express days of 3D motion capture look amazing in the details that they actually do capture. While 3D tends to dim the picture with a Live Action film (which plays havoc with the color pallette intended for the screen), it's not that hard to brighten the picture in an animated film so the color shines right through along with the image. Finally, a filmmaker's fantasy of controlling reality down to the last light particle has come true.
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