I first saw a 3D TV about a decade ago, when spending some time in the house of a friend. I had never before seen such convincing 3D technology. Neither was this the red-cyan anaglyph 3D nor was this the parallax-barrier display used in the 3DS. Rather, this TV came with a collection of swanky shades that turned the flat screen from a dark mess to a veritable portal.
While my friend played the shooter game on that TV, I was immediately convinced I was looking at the future. My eyes panned not over a flat pane of glass, but rather scanned a battlefield, focusing on forms in the distance, trying to differentiate between vegetation or enemy.
This was the future, baby. This was 3D.
It was about ten years later that I went to the theaters to watch Avatar 2: They Made a Second One. I remember thinking to myself,
I can't wait for all the cinema snobs to die off so high-framerate movies can start being accepted, why do we still accept a 12Hz Nyquist anyways? I should write a post about this.
Wait, forget high framerate, what ever happened to 3D?
The Avatar movies may famously be devoid of meaningful plot or and impactful dialogue, but when treated as a tech demo, they're fantastic experiences. And damn it, 3D is good! 3D is fantastic!
I want to see how 3D is used when real cinematographers compose for it, not in spite of it. Textures become so much more legible, distances across the depth axis become apparent. It's a shame that 3D movies as a medium have had zero investment as a form of Art. The most creative uses of 3D seem to bottom-out at "hey! things in your face! isn't this 3D gimmick neat?"
I don't expect the shoddy 2D-to-3D Marvel movies to explore the potential of the medium, but I've heard good things about how Up and other Disney/Pixar movies released around this time do. But I don't want to buy a 3D TV just to watch a few movies from ~2010. And what's more, 3D TVs do not exist anymore. The only alternative which exists today are VR helmets, and these are unappealing for a form factor alone, not to say anything of the pricetag and the producers.
(If you want a decent Linux-compatible headset, you're looking at $1000 for the Valve Index, few choices for pirating 3D movies, and even fewer choices for streaming them.)
I look back at so many fads which took off. Some beyond their welcome, like touchscreens, social-media, and Mii derivatives. Some have receded to comfortable niches, like motion controls.
But 3D came and went and disappeared like it was nothing. Look at how many "real 3D" movies came out 2010-2014, during the height of the fad, when the vfx tooling was immature and expensive. Even Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return, a 2013 box-office failure, was filmed with two cameras and edited entirely 3D.
Surely I'm not the only one who saw something in it :(