Friday, November 21, 2014

And Now in Stereo

The right side of a stereo pair.
You can just assume I wanted an
excuse to put a shirtless guy in my blog
Has the 3D craze died?[1] For the last few years, there were many big budget releases and re-releases in 3D, ranging from the wonderful ParaNorman, Hugo, and even A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas[2] to some less distinguished items. During the previews before one movie, they ran a trailer for the 3D conversion[3] of Titanic. I leaned and whispered, “that’s the worst 3D conversion I’ve ever seen.” Then they showed the trailer for Star Wars: The Phantom Menace. “I stand corrected.”

Unfortunately, the film industry again proved the adage, “make it good, or make it 3D,” despite that there were some films that were both. And with a lack of good new content coming, the existing material just couldn’t support things. Yes, House of Wax is a wonderful film (I’m referring to the 1953 Vincent Price movie, not the unrelated 2005 film of the same name), but how often can you watch it.[4]

But my interests in 3D don’t end at movies. Nor do they even begin there. My introduction to stereo images was a box of stereo cards that a friend’s mother had. These were amazing. Years later, I have quite a few of my own. Looking at an antique stereo view, like the one below (from a set of the Holy Land, taken in the late nineteenth century) is like taking a peep back into time, and it have a level of reality that a regular photograph just doesn’t have. Yeah, sometimes the damage makes it so that you’re looking through a damaged peephole, but they still fascinate me.

Here's the entire image.
The other direction I go is that I’ve got one of Fuji’s (now discontinued) Finepix Read 3D W3. I love it, even though I wish the lenses were bigger (bigger lenses make better pictures). It is actually my third stereo camera. The first was a film camera that exposed half a frame with each part of the image. I eventually gave it to a friend, after I stopped using film and had bought a splitter for my SLR, but that was a pain to use.

I have taken thousands of pictures with my Fuji camera. Sometimes the image looks a little waxy (low light and small, cheap lenses), but generally, I’m happy with it, and ready to snap more pics.

Bridge over the river Aare, Bern, Switzerland.
So maybe I’ll never see 3D become such a thing that movie producers are saying, “you’ve got the makings of a great film here, so let’s make it 3D so you can tell the story even better”[5] Even if that never happens, I’ll still be enjoying 3D.

Same image, anaglyph. Nah, I don't like anaglyph either.
This is a topic I've neglected in this blog. All those years collecting and taking stereo images, and I haven't had a moment to talk about it yet. Until now. It will come up again. Promise.

  1. That is, again.  ↩
  2. Say what you like, it was excellent use of 3D, right to Harold saying to his assistant, “who are you talking to?”  ↩
  3. I hate 3D conversion. If you’re not going to film it in 3D, don’t show it in 3D.  ↩
  4. I’ve seen it twice flat, finally in 3D, and I’m sure I’ll watch it again, though I do have that backlog of Doctor Who to get through.  ↩
  5. Because let’s be honest: that’s the important part. That’s why Hugo works so much better in 3D.  ↩

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