3D or not 3D

Today Skype has revealed that it is developing 3D technology for use in its calling system. The company says that the aim is to allow video conferencing for people who work at home.

Anyone else horrified?

We here at Refined Practice often use video conferencing as we are spread across two cities (2 people in Zurich and 2 in different parts of London) and I must admit that I hate it – I find the little box depicting a very unflattering, shot from under the chin image of me to be very off-putting. I cannot imagine how much more distracting that little box will become when it’s 3D. But at the same time, I can see the uses of it – it is much easier to communicate with others when you can see their facial expressions so it leaves much less of the conversation down to interpretation.

Skype haven’t yet said what form the 3D will take (a big hologram of me appearing in someone’s living room? I hope for their sake that the technology is more subtle than that!), but my personal misgiving is that I find 3D gives me headaches. After watching my first 3D movie I swore blind that I would never go to another one, and it’s only the lure of seeing Benedict Cumberbatch up close and personal in Star Trek that has bought me back, albeit briefly, to the technique.  Whether I am at the cinema, or sitting in a meeting, I do not want to be inviting ill health upon myself, so if this technology becomes mainstream, I will wait for the upgraded version.

Having said that, I must put forward two final, positive points.  I resisted e-book readers for a long time due to the aforementioned headache problem, and after being persuaded to try reading someone else’s (apparently it is stupid to buy the same book in both e- and paper formats in order to please everyone in the house), I have to report that I am pleasantly surprised.  Not a single headache or migraine aura yet.  My second point is just how fabulous technology can be.  In theory, using multiple cameras to create a 3D image is simple, your eyes do it constantly, in practice, it’s hard to get everything exactly right and get a real-time image (with the associated challenges – no post production here!) that is functional. We here at Refined Practice love a bit of technology, so we’re always pleased to see a bit of innovation.

What do you all think of 3D onscreen? Many people think that it’s on the way out (on TV at least), but does it have its uses? Is it something that could maybe belong more in the gaming community than in cinema, TV and communications? Like me, do you only go and see a film when there’s the option to see it in 2D?

Despite my personal hesitations, I can see a future for some uses of 3D, but please please Skype, make sure you have some migraine sufferers in your focus groups!


Photo taken from freedigitalphotos.net