Daily question: Video or 3D?

From The future of the Web is 3D, not video:

Despite the rise of amateur video and the new modes of distribution and discussion, Internet technologies have not been able to change the fundamental character of video. Whether someone watches video on a television screen, or plays it on YouTube, video is a linear, passive experience, designed to be watched from beginning to end without alterations or input from the audience. In this sense, video is still following the model set by film in the late 19th century.

Today’s machinima, virtual reality tools, virtual worlds like Second Life, and massive multiplayer online games like Warhammer are harbingers of what’s to come. If Moore’s Law holds for the development of CPUs and GPUs, moving photorealistic graphics will be possible on home PCs and gaming systems in 2013, and will be commonplace by 2018. Advances in hardware technologies will be matched by new Internet-based software tools that will lead to 3D content types that go far beyond what’s currently possible with video. Audiences and content creators will discover that 3D environments will not only be able to duplicate many types of video programming, but will also be able to provide customization, interactivity, and social options that amplify the ability of moving images to entertain and inform.


Will James Cameron’s upcoming 3D film Avatar in movie theaters be able to resurrect the good old VRML on the Internet?

3 thoughts on “Daily question: Video or 3D?

  1. The problem is that “3D” (= “2D x 2” i.e. stereo) technologies add little advantage over 2D. The point of film and photography is that the photographer can give the audience her own precise perspective, framing a subject or scene in an interesting way. Moving shots in film provide even more additional artistic/expressive opportunities compared to 2D “static” photography, and that much more expression/information than just slapping two cameras together, spaced three inches apart. Stereo just doesn’t add that much.

    For “3D” to be truly 3D the viewers in the audience would all need head tracking or some way of allowing them to get additional information by moving their heads around (you know, like being there, like seeing the Grand Canyon in person versus a film… your eyes are focused miles in the distance… and you’re on the edge of it.. and there’s no end to it… and as you hike around you find ways of looking at it). Allow viewers to have different perspectives would negate the point of photography, where the photographer/artist is able to frame something with a specific perspective, leaving any type of 3D “film” (for target audiences of more than one) as some sort of philosophical contradiction.

    Stereo and head tracking are way cool, but it doesn’t scale up beyond the individual user with any substantial advantages or film.

  2. I’m with Jared, more or less. 3-D provides limited advantages over 2-D film, and with a lot more headache (pun intended. Those glasses are murder). If they could create convincing, mass-distributable 3-D movies that didn’t require any special equipment on the part of the viewer (ie glasses), it might actually work.

    Of course, by the time that comes about it’ll probably be easier to just jump into some sort of virtual reality all matrix-style and junk ;)

  3. +1 for 2D video.

    -1 for 3D video.

    The advantages of “providing more depth” on a stereo 3D film versus a “normal” 2D film are pretty small compared to the amount of information provided by parallax and moving shots and moving objects. Not to be a Luddite but folks tend to forget just how much spatial info a 2D image really contains, much less a moving 2D image, i.e. current “normal” 2D film.

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