James Cameron and Michael Bay talk about the future of 3D

The pair speak out at a special event

James Cameron and Michael Bay have spoken out about the future of 3D at a special event in Hollywood.

The pair hosted '3D: A Transforming Visual Art' at the Paramount Theater, where they spoke about the future of multi-dimensional film-making (as well as presenting some clips from Bay's Transformers: Dark of the Moon).

Here's what they had to say:

Michael Bay

"I first met James Cameron on the set of Titanic, and he invited me on the set of Avatar. At first I thought 3D was harder than you could imagine, and really not me. Really not me. I'm old school, I like 35mm film where you can touch it, you can feel it. 3D is just all ones and zeros. When I got on set James said he wanted to show me some cool algorithms, and I was like 'What?'"

"James explained it to me like 3D is just a new toy to play with."

James Cameron

"All films benefit from 3D to varying degrees, but I thought Michael had to do 3D. The marriage of his very technical filmmaking and 3D was something I wanted to see."

Bay

"I like to shoot very fast and the 3D cameras can be really big and cumbersome. James, at that time, told me that they were all just handheld, but actually only a third of the cameras he used on Avatar were handheld."

"I took the Avatar crew on for Transformers as they're the best for 3D that there is."

Cameron

"The goal is to make a the 3D cameras light and easy to use. There is a 5 pound 3D camera coming out later this year, so that's happening already."

Bay

"The first day shooting Transformers in 3D was wonderful. It was like sculpting with space. But then we lost all the work we did on that first day, the hard drive crashed, so that was a disappointment. But I ended up loving it. I got really great big shots, and also a lot of great intimate shots."

Cameron

"3D is like music, it's like working with audio. You can dial it up, and then dial it down. If super-fast kinetic cutting is what you need (like Michael does) then you dial it down."

Bay

"We sent a guy with a camera spinning around the top of Chicago skyscrapers at 150 miles per hour. So you can do 3D fast, but it's hard, very hard."

Cameron

"I've seen the whole of Transformers, but not all in 3D. I like the depth the 3D brings to this movie. I like that Michael has used it aggressively (but when does he not do things aggressively?)."

Bay

"For the scene you saw of the guys jumping from Osprey aircraft, we used base jumpers wearing 3D helmets. I saw these French base jumpers and wanted them in my movie. The helmet makes the 3D so close, it kind of messes with your head. That's a technical 3D term there, 'messes with your head.'"

Cameron

"There's an art to messing with your head with 3D."

Bay

"3D is very expensive in comparison. The camera equipment, the labor, there's a third more work for visual effects artists to do on each shot. And it's not easy, it's not technically perfect. My style of shooting is fast, I like to leap frog shots, and with 3D I was slowed down a lot. Plus, I'm still not that into digital, I think there's nothing more beautiful than film. And bottom line, for 3D this movie took 30 million more dollars to make."

Cameron

"Every filmmaker is going to use 3D differently. Avatar was at the time just a science experiment."

Bay

"Shooting in 3D doesn't necessarily mean you'll make more money from the movie. 3D movies are doing badly too. The audience is being turned off by 3D because it's bullshit 3D."

Cameron

"We're all trying to get people back into cinemas for that cinema experience, but we're also abusing that experience. A lot of film makers are adding 3D by conversion in post-production like it's just a sound mix, and it's not a sound mix."

Bay

"Not everything is right for 3D but it works for this picture. It's a lot of work, but it's good when it's right for the experience."

Cameron

"3D now is where the automobile was in 1905. We need to make the cameras smaller and more user-friendly."

"The best thing right now about shooting in 3D is being able to take the audience someplace and blow their mind."

"Within the next two to five years we will have have tablets and laptops which can be viewed 3D without glasses. We will have televisions with multiple viewer angles so we don't need glasses there. And we will have 3D cameras for entry-level filmmaking. The issue is we can't make the 3D content fast enough."

"We also need to put pressure on theatres to show 3D movies in optimal conditions. To show them at the brightness they're supposed to be seen, and not try to save money by dimming projector bulbs. We need to have good standards there."

Have Cameron and Bay convinced you that 3D is the future of cinema? Or are you still a sucker for good old-fashioned 2D? Talk to us below...

Comments

    • thegreatiaino

      May 19th 2011, 9:43

      I'm really not a fan. Avatar in 3D was awesome, but that's the only 3D film I've seen where I thought it was worthwhile. I went to see Thor 3D recently and spent the whole time wishing I'd just gone to the 2D one. The technology still isn't good enough - you still get slight blurring around the edges of things, particularly those close to the camera, and the darkness of the glasses is a pain in the bum, particularly in a film like Thor where a lot of the scenes, like where they're in the land of the Frost Giants, are pretty dark anyway!

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    • RaveyDaveyGravy

      May 19th 2011, 11:03

      ** sigh ** This article makes me want to rant, and I don't think I have the energy. No, 3D is not the future of cinema, great stories are the future of cinema. I would much rather film makers put all their energies into bringing us new and exciting characters or narratives rather than giving me a head ache and charging me more for the 'pleasure'. 3D is a gimmick, the quicker it passes the better. I for 1 will not see a 3D film unless the is NO other option, Id rather wait for the DVD. Here's a question, does anybody else find the effects of 3D don't last? At the start of a movie the 3D seems really obvious, but after a while I'm not sure if its working, I have to raise the glasses to check if its supposed to be in 3D because I cant tell. Is it just me?

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    • RaveyDaveyGravy

      May 19th 2011, 11:05

      Oh, and 3D does not work in fast edits, slight problem for Michael Bay I might suggest

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    • bertbc

      May 19th 2011, 11:42

      RaveyDaveyGravy - 3D effects don't last? You notice them at the start of a film because you are not used to it, and as the film goes on your eyes adjust and are convinced this 3D experience is just the norm so you start to as you put it wonder if its still working. The point of a good 3D film should be that you don't realise it is in 3d. I know you say it is a gimmick, and a lot of the time it has become that, but its not supposed to be. Whether it works or not is a matter of opinion but it is supposed to enhance the viewing experience in a seamless way, like using digital projectors instead of noisy (visually) film projectors, or surround sounds rather than straight up stereo. The point of a good 3D film, like Avatar or Toy Story 3 is that you don't notice it but that it instead enhances the viewing experience in more of a subconscious. You may the then wonder, if you shouldnt notice it then what is the point, and thats another topic entirely and, as for the ludicrous pricing... £13 because its in 3D. It's actually unbelievable that a price watchdog body hasn't come told odeon they are taking the p**s yet!

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    • SuperAlexMan

      May 19th 2011, 11:42

      I agree that the effect of 3D does ware off during the film because you become too involved with the story. I find that if you look for the 3D you will see it but who goes to the cinema and looks for 3D instead of watching the film? I'm not a fan of 3D but I think if you can do it right like Avatar did then it will work. The only film i'm looking forward to in 3D is The Amazing Spider-Man because they are not taking the lazy route of conversion.

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    • Indianabones

      May 19th 2011, 11:43

      I agree with you completely, enjoyed Avatar in 3D, and maybe it was because it was brand new and different, but nothing else has stood out, completely over rated and I try hard not to see a film in 3D, but like Thor, I wanted to see that in a big screen so i had to go to see it in 3D Maybe Mr Bay could concentrate on getting some of his characters more than one dimensional........

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    • SuperAlexMan

      May 19th 2011, 11:44

      I also want to say that Toy Story 3 was NOT a good 3D film!

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    • SuperAlexMan

      May 19th 2011, 11:44

      I also want to say that Toy Story 3 was NOT a good 3D film!

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    • Hadouken76

      May 19th 2011, 12:15

      as said on the Big Brother show : "I wish life was in 3-D"

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    • RaveyDaveyGravy

      May 19th 2011, 12:59

      bertbc - good point and I wish I had seen a film that was enhanced by 3D, maybe as the technology gets better I will, but for now, for me the glasses are a barrier

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    • ChrisWootton

      May 19th 2011, 13:23

      No, 3D is not the future of cinema, great stories are the future of cinema In all honesty I think that is the concise argument I have heard against 3D. Completely agree with you, couldn't have put it better myself.

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    • SiMan

      May 19th 2011, 13:52

      So, as long as the stories and characters were good, we shouldn't really have bothered moving from Balck and White to colour then? I suppose we should have stuck with silent movies too. Surely the advancements in the way stories are told is as much the future of film-making as story-telling itself. I for one thought that when i watched Avatar i was watching the future of film presentation. It was like you were being immersed within that world more so than any other film had acheived. I agree that no other film since has had that same effect on me, but am i right in thinking that Avatar was the only one that was completley filmed in 3-D with special cameras? If so, is that why none of the other films looked as good? I for one would welcome more movies filmed in this way. Imagine seeing Inception and having that folding city coming right at you out of the screen, or the anti-gravity fight with you feeling like you were right in the hallway. Awesome!

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    • AGD2112

      May 20th 2011, 12:44

      I have got to admit to being, initially, very excited by the idea of new 3D, as much as anything because real life is 3D and so anything that makes the cinema experience more real is fine with me... right? well, not at the moment. I really don't think the 3D is good enough yet. too dark? too jerky? I agree but, for me, the worst part is that I find the 3D is too distracting and just gets used as a gimmick. Rather than, as I want it to, helping me emerse even more in the movie, I find it pulls me back and distracts me with all the "Oo look at what I can do! Aren't I clever?". No, current technology and current batch of directors, you are not. You are dragging me away from caring about the characters, engaging with the story and becoming emotionally emersed in the film. It needs to be a lot more subtle. (Unless, of course it is a Michael Bay movie who, as we all know, has had 'subtle' surgically removed from his vocabulary) And this is the point... 3D as a distraction and a gimmick turns any film into the same fodder as a typical summer blockbuster. Entertaining, drammatic, and (visually) loud but leaves no room for emotional engagement and nuanced, intricate storytelling. Not that I fundamentally have anything again popcorn movies... but sometimes it would be nice to consume something with a little more substance. For that, 3D currently just doesn't work.

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    • AGD2112

      May 20th 2011, 12:45

      I have got to admit to being, initially, very excited by the idea of new 3D, as much as anything because real life is 3D and so anything that makes the cinema experience more real is fine with me... right? well, not at the moment. I really don't think the 3D is good enough yet. too dark? too jerky? I agree but, for me, the worst part is that I find the 3D is too distracting and just gets used as a gimmick. Rather than, as I want it to, helping me emerse even more in the movie, I find it pulls me back and distracts me with all the "Oo look at what I can do! Aren't I clever?". No, current technology and current batch of directors, you are not. You are dragging me away from caring about the characters, engaging with the story and becoming emotionally emersed in the film. It needs to be a lot more subtle. (Unless, of course it is a Michael Bay movie who, as we all know, has had 'subtle' surgically removed from his vocabulary) And this is the point... 3D as a distraction and a gimmick turns any film into the same fodder as a typical summer blockbuster. Entertaining, drammatic, and (visually) loud but leaves no room for emotional engagement and nuanced, intricate storytelling. Not that I fundamentally have anything again popcorn movies... but sometimes it would be nice to consume something with a little more substance. For that, 3D currently just doesn't work.

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    • ChrisRyde

      May 20th 2011, 16:42

      The issue with most 3D films since Avatar is that a majority of them have used 3D as a gimmick to cash in on the hype - whereas Avatar used 3D as an immersion tool to bring the audience inside the world that Cameron has created. James Cameron understands how the technology should be used, unlike the last Saw movies (for example) where the 3D was used to 'make things pop out of the screen at you'. The Saw approach to 3D was old when they still made Cowboys and Indians films in the 60's (and the less said about Jaws 3D the better). I would love to have seen a version of The Matrix made using Cameron's immersive 3D technique. Perhaps The Matrix was made 10 years too soon!?

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