IMAX 3D Movie A Christmas Carol


I saw it at IMAX (inside a major furniture entertainment complex in Framingham, MA).

1.) Left/right images were not aligned. There was a huge vertical displacement. I should think there is no excuse for this. They were using a dual lens projection system – The newer single lens shutter system now available eliminates this.

2.) Many scenes had parallax wider than Marty Feldman could see. (displacement of left/right images was wider than my eyes could spread apart)

3.) There were so many jump cuts and fast pans that my eyes had a hard time merging the left/right images (that combined with parallax issues made it difficult to merge the images into 3D – with my brain at least).

4.) Do we really need the gratituous stick (ruler in this case) sticking out of the screen for no real purpose? 3D effects for the purpose of 3D effects… Surely there are more creative possibilities than that?

5.) Do all the title sequences need to stick out of the screen and in your face?

6.) I had the weird and creepy sensation with the photo real rendering that I was watching dead people that were animated. Hard to explain – but very disturbing. For me, the characters were very near photo real but did not have the real qualities of real people. Amazing from a technical aspect, but not from a pure entertainment perspective. Creepy.

My eyes got a serious workout trying to watch this movie and I left with eye strain. I’d say there was about 15 minutes of quality 3D work out of a 90 minute feature. 90% of the ideas to take advantage of 3D in this movie were a rehash of things done in previous movies. As I said before, the stick in the face, the running through a tunnel, the flying through the air – been there seen that. There were a few scenes close up on Scrooge’s face and hands that were very compelling in 3D and created an amazing mood and sense of depth. Those were all too brief. There was a ghost shadow scene with subtlety that was very impressive in 3D. So, there was some very impressive content – and it is a shame it could not have been sustained throughout the motion picture.

Then I saw the trailer for Avatar. From the trailer, it appears that the movie was really designed from the ground up to be experienced in 3D. Perspective shots enhanced with motion parallax (camera dolly moves). Great depth of field focus. I’m looking forward to it but hope to see it in a theater where they bother to align the images.

3D is still very primitive and not well integrated as a technical and artistic discipline. There are audio specialists, lighting specialists, etc. Hopefully, training in 3D will grow and people will learn how to integrate dimensionality within a movie as a way to create a new art form. Right now, it is still viewed primarily as an effect or gimmick and forced to fit within a 2D designed movie. It is a seriously different tool pallet with amazing possibilities yet to be explored.

Possibilities like: full field of view 3D immersive content with scents, humidity, air control and even more precise sound placement within 3D space to match the visual that is positioned in 3D space. Autostereoscopic displays. Holographic displays. All are still in the infancy stage. What is so amazing is that the more we learn, the more we realize how little we know. This has been true forever and is a lesson in history. So, perhaps more emphasis needs to be placed on LEARNING. The more knowledge we gain, the more problems we can solve. Why don’t we put more emphasis on education? I suppose people are trying. Whoever they are, we should all support their efforts! However, we should all keep in mind that no matter how much knowledge we gain – we still won’t know very much.

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2 Comments

Filed under 3D Photography

2 responses to “IMAX 3D Movie A Christmas Carol

  1. My experience of A Christmas Carol was quite different – admittedly it was not in an IMAX Theatre, I have heard of problems with this in IMAX specifically.

    It’s a shame as for me the experience of the snow falling from inside the cinema right into the depth of the screen was quite magical, and some of the close ups as you mentioned were absolutely fantastic in terms of details and subtle 3d space. I do agree with the odd look of the characters – it’s definitely a better option to play to animations strengths of exageration (as per Ebenizer’s exagerated face) instead of trying to make this photoreal, but personality free.

  2. Barry

    I guess I got lucky. I saw it in Burbank, CA. AMC Imax theater and it was fantastic. It was a digital projection with the Real-D system.

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