Could 3D lose its glasses? - A word from James Cameron
James Cameron is a name that should ring bells immediately. From his fans to film enthusiasts to fellow filmmakers - everyone has a favorite James Cameron film. Even if you don't recognize his name immediately (for whatever reason), chances are you've seen at least one of his movies.
He's responsible for one of the biggest debuts from a major Hollywood studio with 1984's The Terminator. He's also responsible for arguably two of the best sequels of all-time with 1986's Aliens and 1991's Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Not to mention, the #1 and #2 Highest Grossing Films of All Time, 2009's Avatar and 1997's Titanic, were both directed by him.
Needless to say, he knows his way around a camera.
Cameron's latest idea however, is something audiences may or may not be ready for. "HDR, 4K for native stereo reduction", he says.
Of course, he is talking about filming faster, with higher quality images and the possible elimination of 3D glasses...but how does this all work?
Well, without getting too technical, I'll do my best to explain. Film cameras use strips of film to capture images (typically 16mm film.) On a strip of film, there are small squares called "cells" or "frames." A Hollywood film typically films at 24 fps (frames per second.) This means each second, there is 24 of those small squares going through the camera and capturing the image. TV show's and Sports games film a bit higher (around 30 fps or more) but this has been the Hollywood standard film speed for many, many years.
In recent years, directors have explored the options of shooting at a faster frame rate as it "closer to the speed of everyday life." Also, the blurriness that audiences see when the cameras pan left/right or zoom in/out quickly can be eliminated (or made smoother) if A) the image was clearer - higher resolution and B) it was filmed using a higher frame rate. Notable recent films using higher frame rates include Peter Jackson's The Hobbit (2012) and Ang Lee's Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk (2016).
The Hobbit doubled it's frame rate to 48 fps and received many mixed reactions about the "crispness of the images" but how it felt "hyper real" and "almost too fast to get used to." Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk took it several steps further (as James Cameron plans to) and filmed at 120 fps. Without going into it, you can imagine what people had to say once they saw that film in theaters late last year.
While all of this film talk may seem a bit technical, just know that James Cameron is working to make it simpler. Though he admits "...we're not quite there yet but we'll get there." With the tentatively titled Avatar 2 and its sequels set to begin in 2018, Cameron aims to continue to push the limits of filmmaking with new techniques, frame rates and technology for years to come. Perhaps, one day in the near future, audiences will accept the higher frame rate and be able to see 3D for the first time without the need of any glasses.
And... That's it!