3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay – Sarner’s Ross Magri

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Ross Magri 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross MagriSarner Managing Director Ross Magri tells 3dfocus.co.uk why he believes the current 3D movie wave in just a fad and that 4D attractions will always remain popular.

review dividing line 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross Magri

Pirates 4D Thorpe Park 300x224 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross MagriSarner are world leaders in designing attractions around the world including 4D and 5D cinemas. The company was responsible for Valhalla, the world’s largest and most expensive dark ride (£15 million) at Blackpool Pleasure Beach, the Doctor Who Experience and also provided the technical expertise to develop and install the specialist equipment for the Pirates 4D attraction at Thorpe Park complete with 'leg ticklers' and motion seats.

The company is currently working in Africa to create a £167 million tourism and leisure facility to be known as Delta Leisure Resorts, the first of its kind in West Africa.

We spoke to Sarner Managing Director Ross Magri who puts his case forward as to why the current wave of 3D films is just another fad whereas 4D cinemas will continue to exist.

thin dividing line 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross Magri

I did a degree in film and photography at Napier in Edinburgh. It was some years ago now but one of my dissertations was based on stereoscopy and 3D, so I went in great detail through the history trying to understand why 3D never caught on. It was very interesting to discover that the demise of 3D at every stage of its revival seems to have been for the same reasons; the fact that one has to wear 3D glasses and viewers complaining of eye strain and headaches. Some evidence exists of this in the fact that in the Soviet Union, glassless 3D cinemas were more successful than the ones in the West, although it is very difficult to conclude that this was the only reason.Doctor Who Experience 300x222 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross Magri

I have yet to see a good reason why the latest revival of 3D is any different than that in the 50s, 80s, 90s…. We are still using glasses and viewers still complain of eye strain and headaches. I don’t think much has changed since the first 3D film was released apart from the technology behind the lens, the rest remains the same.

I do believe that there is a future for 3D, but the technology is still the limiting factor. James Cameron went to great length to mimic the way we see in 3D but this is a very costly and expensive process, however, it partly explains why Avatar was so wellDelta Leisure Park 300x220 3D cinema will wane off, 4D will stay   Sarners Ross Magri received, others have not given the same attention to detail, which will not help the case for 3D. Statistics show that interest in 3D is fast waning. This year we have seen a drop in the sales of 3D TV screens and number of visits to 3D cinemas. The likelihood is that less and less movies will be produced in 3D until the next fad at some future date.

On the other hand, 4D in theme parks exists because of its novelty factor, and the films are short enough not to cause eye strain or headaches. The short 3D film we produced for the Doctor Who Experience in London, was extremely well received, but the 3D film is part of a dark walk and forms part of the overall visitor experience, so I strongly believe that 3D / 4D and 5D (whatever that may be), will continue to evolve in theme parks and other special events, insofar as the cinema is concerned, I have serious reservations and strongly suspect that interest will wane away over the next year or two.

It is my belief that 3D will take over 2D only when the cost difference for the playback and display hardware is almost identical to that of 2D; we have glassless 3D screens that are not limited by the angle of view and the ambient light level, and when film production companies invest in the necessary hardware and expertise to ensure 3D films mimic as close as possible the way we see in 3D.

So that is my overall opinion (and I might be proved wrong in this instance) but the signs are already there and 3D is currently being driven more by those who have a commercial vested interest in its success than popular demand, but only time will tell.

For more information about Sarner visit www.sarner.com

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  • Adam

    If 3D cinema had faded in the last couple of years I think we could think about describing it as a ‘fad’, but the fact that 3D box office is still accounting for a large portion of overall box office, and the fact there are more – bigger – movies this year than last year, means that talk of a ‘fad’ are now somewhat outdated.

    3D cinema is here, and has been here now for a many years. I agree that the amount of 3D movies will begin to shrink, but I believe the quality is, and will continue to, improve.

    The fact that many cinemas are now offering a more immersive experience with 3D sound and motion seating will only help the cinema industry continue to offer something different for patrons.

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  • arch

    haha! 3D fad is similar with the claim that we are only beings in the universe. 3D is here and will stay this time. Silly to compare with the 3d in early years. I’ve seen those films myself when i was teenager and they looked awful. Colors and resolution was just pain to watch. For me 3D is taking off big time but at my own home cinema. Awaiting every single 3D blu ray release with big anticipation. I can not comment on public cinemas as i do not visit them, mainly due to annoyance from people there (munching popcorn sounds, laughing where they shouldnt etc). 
    Having decent PJ and enjoying 3D films on 120in screen at home. Cost me cheaper than 3D telly.

  • Patrick

    Adam has made a very good point here. Quality – not quantity – is the key.

  • Shanewinterbourne

    Adam,
    A more immersive environment is what we class as 4D motion seats an extra dimension maybe?

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  • Michaelmakro

    As a consummer of 3d I would disagree with Mr Magri in that the major reason for the apparent failure of 3d is the lack of content. Before I would have watched and even marvelled at anything 3d but now with more content, I can pick and choose. However content is not prolific and so I also choose not to watch 3d as well as to watch 3d. If 3d was more widely available, I could watch the programming I like but unfortunately Sky (my provider) is killing 3d broadcasting by charging an extortionate price to view and so I choose Blu-Ray instead. What we need is a popular provider to the masses so that the 3d in the Tv set can be unleashed.

  • sg

    Viewers usually complain of eye strain and headaches now because some content creators do not have a proper QC process and fail to align and color-match native 3d content, or they create content with more depth than the medium can comfortably support, or they make other common mistakes.  This is a matter of poorly-done 3d and can be overcome with the proper tools, approach and projection.

    This was not true in the 50s era 3d — at that time misalignment was ubiquitous as were other problems.  Imagine trying to project with no alignment problems when you just have two projectors side by side!  Or ensuring the projection of the two eyes was synced!  Stereography was not a strong suit of these filmmakers, and the IA (volume) of a shot would have largely been determined by a combination of whim and by the limitations of how close together you could push those enormous cameras.

    So I think there are some assumptions here that gloss over how far we’ve come with the ability to show problem-free stereographic material.  This isn’t to say the prediction is wrong about it being a “fad”.  No one knows the answer here.

  • sg

    Viewers usually complain of eye strain and headaches now because some content creators do not have a proper QC process and fail to align and color-match native 3d content, or they create content with more depth than the medium can comfortably support, or they make other common mistakes.  This is a matter of poorly-done 3d and can be overcome with the proper tools, approach and projection.

    This was not true in the 50s era 3d — at that time misalignment was ubiquitous as were other problems.  Imagine trying to project with no alignment problems when you just have two projectors side by side!  Or ensuring the projection of the two eyes was synced!  Stereography was not a strong suit of these filmmakers, and the IA (volume) of a shot would have largely been determined by a combination of whim and by the limitations of how close together you could push those enormous cameras.

    So I think there are some assumptions here that gloss over how far we’ve come with the ability to show problem-free stereographic material.  This isn’t to say the prediction is wrong about it being a “fad”.  No one knows the answer here.

  • Tonhogg

    This 3d wave has far out lasted the waves of the 1950′s, 70′s, and 80′s.  So I’m not sure why he thinks this one is the same.  If it was to be like the past, it should have ended about 2009 at the latest.  I’m starting to think some people see what they want as far as 3d goes.  If their is not a line around the block to every 3d showing, then it is waining.  Well almost all 2d only films have no line around the block either.  Lorax just did really really well, but that is ignored.  John Carter does not so good, and it is like that is the only 3d film out now.  3d is preforming just as well as all the 2d showings.

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