New Media Scotland: 3D returns to Glasgow

3D returns to the big screen in Glasgow

Article by Mark Daniels | 27 Aug 2009
  • 3d_monster

At the end of the 20th century in the UK, every year was a year of something in the arts. Most famously in 1999, Glasgow was City of Architecture & Design, a remarkable catalyst. The year before it was the turn of photography, and Yorkshire gave us Photo ?98. I produced a body of work entitled ?Pleasure, Leisure & Distraction? for one of their exhibitions. For the shear hell of it I tried something new. My usual black & white portfolio became a riot of colour and eye popping 3D courtesy of a lenticular camera. Lenticular photographs are the kind that often wink at you from a cereal box or magazine cover. The plastic ridged pictures change dependent on your viewing angle, giving you the illusion of depth or movement. You gotta love ?em, they have a certain charm.

Our desire to capture our view of world in 3D has stretched back to the mid-19th century. As a technology, 3D has always moved around the burners, poking us in the eye before receding back into the shadows. It’s been over fifty years since the last golden era, when the ?Creature from the Black Lagoon? first emerged from the depths of the backlot. The survival of each competing system was dependent on the practicalities for both studios and cinemas. 3D had a tendency be hard on the audience, motion sickness being one unpleasant side effect. In the fifties the threat was from TV, today it?s illegal movie downloads.

So those smart cookies in Hollywood have ensured that the digital 3D techniques currently being deployed in cinemas cannot be duplicated at home. Throw in a large format IMAX presentation and it?s a real plasma screen killer. Those last twenty minutes of ?Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix? on IMAX were the most perfect 3D I ever did see. ?Up? wowed them at Cannes. ?Monsters v Aliens? took more money in 3D than in 2D. Trouble is I soon forgot I was watching a 3D movie, the effect became commonplace.

So what can we do? Let?s go back to Glasgow. The GFT is opening its doors for an experiment in 3D scratch cinema on Sunday 20th September from 11am to 2pm. The cinema is the set. Twitter will be the autocue. Tweet us favourite movie quotes using the hashtag #twitchy and stage direction (or distraction) using #scratchy. Get ready to stick your cosmic nose out.