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Capitalizing on Perception

One thing we’ve learned from the recession is that movies are now considered “recession proof”.  People need the escape.  This can easily be seen from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, which had a $160 million 5-day opening.  It was also the fastest movie to ever reach $350 million world-wide. I was somewhat surprised to find out that this movie would be offering an IMAX 3D experience as well.  Typically I think of the animated movies which can fairly easily crank out a 3D version of themselves.  However, digitally adding 3D scenes to a filmed movie requires a great amount of work from the production companies.  Why do it? Money of course.

© Dreamworks Animation

Monsters vs. Aliens © Dreamworks Animation

I’m an avid NPR listener and I was intrigued by a segment a few weeks back that discussed the resurgence of 3D in the movie theater. The Dreamworks film, Monsters vs. Aliens, saw a $58 million opening weekend of which $24 million was from 3D screens (ref). Over 40% of the film’s revenue came from less than 10% of the screens. When 3D glasses first hit the big screen it was a less than desirable experience.  The alignment was less than par and many movie goers would leave feeling queasy. This is a far cry from the experience of today. People are more than willing to pay extra for the immersion and they will have many more chances in the near future.

“….G-Force on July 24, Final Destination: Death Trip 3-D on August 14, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on September 18, the reworking of Toy Story in the 3-D format October 2, Astro Boy on October 23, Disney’s A Christmas Carol on November 6, Planet 51 for Thanksgiving and, finally, James Cameron’s long-awaited Avatar.” — from Slashfilm

Another 3D project caught my eye yesterday as well. A Google employee has leveraged his 20% time by creating a 3D video viewer for YouTube. You can see one view in the video below. Click the video and visit it on YouTube to see a dropdown of many different 3D option (e.g. anaglyph red/blue).

Artists have been capitalizing on perception for thousands of years, so I set out to find examples in our collection.  My esteemed colleague, Ed, pointed me to a technique called Trompe-l’œil (French for “trick the eye”). A quick search of the collections yielded some interesting results.

Still Life by Edwaert Colyer

Still Life by Edwaert Colyer demonstrating Trompe-l'œil

Still Life demonstrates a perceived 3D scene from a 2D work and conversely we have 3D works that appear flat from the initial vantage point. Most notable is Robert Irwin’s, Untitled, which is anything but flat.

Untitled by Robert Irwin

Untitled by Robert Irwin

Finally, a shout out to the sidewalk chalk artists.

World by Julian Beever

World by Julian Beever

Do you have any favorites that “trick the eye”?

(On a tangent, NPR had a similar segment discussing the upcoming series of movies based on board games. Greatly looking forward to Candyland.)

Filed under: Musings, Technology

4 Responses to “Capitalizing on Perception”

  • avatar
    Kate Says:

    Love the images!

    I remember reading that the same thing happened during the Great Depression…

    “During the Depression, when the spirit of the people is lower than at any other time, it is a splendid thing that for just 15 cents an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”

    -President Franklin Roosevelt

  • avatar
    Charlie Says:

    Cool. Thanks for the quote, Kate.

  • avatar
    Chad Says:

    Every seasons technology changes and new techonology is growing, and you will say ” Your such a Beautiful Discovery ” and the excitement flows back again and keep you fighting. Smiles is a great tool to change the sad feeling, for entertainment you need to constantly change your smiling forms every time. why? to make the viewers habit not to change.

  • avatar
    alex Says:

    hey man can i use this picture?

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