Sarner 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.
Sarner 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.
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.
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 well 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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