Despite the positive conclusions coming out of this year’s 3D Entertainment Summit, and The Lion King 3D's continueing success, two surveys were released today that indicate things are less rosy when it comes to the public's perception of 3D.
A YouGov survey of 2796 people revealed some of the most depressing figures yet for the industry, with just 19% of people surveyed saying that 3D improved the quality of a film. When asked whether they would chose to watch a film in 2D or 3D if the price was the same for both versions, just 47% said they would chose to wear the specs to watch the 3D version.
Almost half of the YouGov respondents said that 3D either no difference to the quality of a film or even made it worse.
Overall, 49% agreed that the hype about 3D films was a phase that would be over soon.
Public opinion about 3D gaming seems to be waning too with market research firm Interpret LLC revealing its latest survey into 3D entertainment concluding that 28% of gamers believe that the 3D functionality of the Nintendo 3DS actually made things worse. The Interpret conducted its survey in mid-May with more than 1,600 adult respondents suggested that while 22% did feel the 3D feature improved gameplay, 13% always played with the feature turned off.
As if timed to counter act this, a new study suggests a rather different picture – that people are getting more excited by 3D TV, however, the survey was conducted by Frank N. Magid Associates on behalf of Panasonic, a company who has invested heavily in 3D.
500 people were questioned face to face at Disney’s D23 Expo in August. According to the results, 99% who had watched 3DTV said it was somewhat better than 2D television and 71% of the respondents said that 3DTV was either “much better” or “dramatically better”.
Speaking about the Panasonic survey Eisuke Tsuyuzaki, Panasonic Corporation of North America’s Chief Technology Officer said “We’ve always said that, just as with HDTV, once consumers experience 3D TV, they will want it“. He continued “This survey proves it. We couldn’t be happier with the results.”
There is no doubt that the quality of 3D programming is improving all the time but current 3D technology is still leaving some people cold. The flicker of the active system has been known to cause headaches; the dim screens in the theatres can actually make the viewer feel less involved with the feature and the unnatural experience of watching 3D volume on a 2D plane (and the resulting convergence/focus issue) demands the director/producer produces something so good that it over-rides all of the above – this takes serious talent and money. If, as a viewer, you are spending your time being aware that what you are watching or playing is in 3D, how are you going to lose yourself in the drama or the action?
It would be a mistake for the industry to blame post Avatar poor conversions and higher priced tickets. Of course there were always going to be millions of people who would have watched 3D films after Avatar out of further curiosity and there will also be those people who simply do not like 3D and never will. 3D for many is a backward step; with the darker lower resolution images (for example on the 3DS) and juddery motion artefacts. For now, only the best produced shows will prevail (there will be few to deny that the upcoming Cirque du Soleil film is not spectacular in 3D). The industry needs to seriously improve the quality of the technology for 3D to become more mainstream and even then, it can only bring a return on investment for special event style programming.
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