If you’re a fan of TV spy comedy Chuck, you probably caught the special 3D episode that aired on Virgin1 on 25 August. And if you liked it, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s not over yet!
Channel 4 is planning a whole week of 3D programmes 14-20 November (and they’ve teamed up with a large supermarket chain, who will be giving away free 3D specs), which supports a growing belief in the TV industry that viewers are ready for 3D TV. Sky seems sure as it’s launching Europe’s first dedicated 3D channel next year.
Sure, they tried the 3D thing in the 80s and it flopped because the picture quality was so poor. But the technology has improved a lot since and some experts even believe that it’ll be the way we watch TV in less than a decade. Forget about HD TV sets. There are already 3D TV sets that don’t even need the glasses. Wow, I’ve barely got my head around that annoying extra remote control for the freeview box.
Chuck and the Channel 4 programmes are using a fairly basic technology called ColourCode 3D, which means you have to use a twinlens stereoscopic camera when filming and glasses with one blue and one red lens when watching. But there are other types of glasses out there… Just click here for the full on science bit before I turn into a nerd.
Obviously the film industry is leading this three-dimentional trend. You can’t have missed the fact that James Cameron has made a 3D movie called Avatar. Rumours were rife for a while that Guillermo del Toro‘s The Hobbit movies would be in 3D – later denied by the director himself. Rumours are also currently surrounding Iron Man 2. Ain’t It Cool is saying that Marvel Studios wants to convert the movie into 3D, something Tim Burton is allegedly considering too for Alice in Wonderland.
Meanwhile, Paul WS Anderson has signed on to direct a 3D remake of The Three Musketeers. He’s already finished the script with acclaimed screenwriter Andrew Davies and they start shooting in France/Germany next year. And Steven Soderbergh is making his Cleopatra musical Cleo, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, in 3D.
Today, at a Berlin trade show, Sony President Sir Howard Stringer will announce details of their plans to have 3D TV sets, computers, Blu-ray players and Playstation 3 consoles on the market by the end of next year. Last night, I went to Sony Pictures HQ in Soho to see their latest computer animated adventure – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – its trailer tickled my tastebuds (and my imagination) a few weeks ago.
The movie is in, you guessed it, 3D and I was given a pair of chunky glasses with polarising lenses to view with. I noticed that the technology they were using meant that, unlike the Chuck episode on telly, you couldn’t watch without the glasses as the image was blurred. This I found less than ideal because my eyes got very tired from the ‘depth’ of the experience – it would have been nice with a little break. I also got a headache from the heavy frame pressing down on the bridge of my nose. I’m hoping that once the movie hits the cinemas (18 September), they’ll be offering the paper-framed glasses instead.
My headache aside, the movie was a riot with an exciting plot, plenty of laugh out loud one-liners, razor-sharp digital imagery and enough food visuals to get you salivating long after the end credits – I just had to go outside and hug the giant ice cream afterwards.
What do you think of the new 3D wave? Is it a fad or here to stay?