The film industry has seen its share of ups and downs due to the financial issues impacting economies worldwide in the past decade.
However, the growth of 3D films, which have commanded higher ticket prices, has buoyed the industry's fortunes through continued profits. Weathering the advent of streaming movies, piracy, and reduced entertainment budgets, filmmakers have put a lot of stock in 3D movies and the potential for enormous profits.
A Modest Beginning
Although modern 3D movies are light years beyond the movies that came out in the 1950s, when the first 3D movies were released, the arrival of 3D in the ‘50s mirrors the reasons why Hollywood and film industries the world over have embraced the technology today. In the 1950s, Hollywood was under attack from the shiny invention of television, and 3D films were supposed to be the answer to falling revenues.
Interestingly, 3D film technology was actually in existence in 1915, but the first significant push didn't happen until the 1950s and its resurgence wasn't felt until after the turn of the millennium. Throughout the last century, there were several efforts to improve the technology and make it palatable for a wide selection of features, such as the rather poor efforts in the 1980s to reintroduce 3D in action-adventure films like "Jaws 3D."
TV and Movie Technology Meet
In a similar fashion today, the film industry has embraced digital filmmaking and 3D technology as a way to make the movies "feel" big when compared to the entertainment experience of a home theater system. Bigger budgets, bigger 3D, and tons of digital special effects have infiltrated summertime movie theaters. The arrival of enormous flat screen televisions with 3D technology that doesn't even require a pair of glasses has shown that even consumer electronics companies have jumped on the 3D bandwagon.
The interesting thing about Hollywood's effort at inundating audiences with 3D movies is that the industry has remained dependent upon home video sales in an era when Internet piracy has eaten strongly into company profits. Although those filmmakers want to see huge box office receipts in theaters, they are also counting upon hefty DVD and Blu-ray sales to boost the bottom line.
Not Just for the Big Blockbusters
Hollywood has certainly embraced 3D technology, and it would appear as though the industry wishes to increase its dominance in today's release schedules. Far from being the domain of $200 million tent-pole movies released in the middle of the summer, 3D movies come in a variety of budgets and genres. Over the past few years, myriad 3D movies have shown up on release schedules, and each year more movies are planned for 3D production.
Ubiquitous Application Potential
One of the interesting facets of development regarding 3D films made in the past decade is that the first films that featured 3D technology were filmed using classic techniques and traditional film cameras, while films created today have been created with digital film cameras for 3D presentation. The impact of this change has meant a smoother implementation of 3D opportunities throughout films rather than the inconsistent application of random scenes where 3D could look good.
Movies based on comic books that feature flying superheroes aren't the only place a moviegoer today will see 3D. Although films with micro-budgets and those that have been made under the banner of independent filmmaking wouldn't be the first place for 3D technology to show up, the technology seems to have spread to midrange budgets. With so many 3D films on the schedule this year, it would seem that 3D technology, and the accompanying higher ticket prices, is here to stay whether the public wants the technology or not.
Author Jake Reynolds is fascinated with technology, be it in films or in 3D Bends and heavy machinery.