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Rian Johnson predicts the future of 3D filmmaking in new essay


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When it comes to 3D, typically moviegoers fall on one of two sides of the debate: either you like it, or you don’t. Personally, I’ve fallen off the 3D bandwagon that I only really got on because of “Avatar.” A truly terrible 3D presentation of “The Avengers” that had me walking out of the theater with a splitting headache was the icing on my anti-3D cake, and I’ve deigned to avoid the film medium ever since.

But director Rian Johnson, whose forthcoming sci-fi film “Looper” is going to be released in 2D, has written an essay on his Tumblr account explaining why he thinks we’re looking at 3D all wrong, and it’s changed my perception a bit. In it, he argues that “3D is the future of cinema” and that “the introduction of stereoscopic photography is analogous to the introduction of color.” At the same time, he says he will “never shoot stereoscopic” and avoids watching 3D movies whenever he can. And no, he doesn’t think those sentiments are contradictory.

The essay is definitely worth a read if you’re interested in this debate, but ultimately Johnson said he doesn’t feel that we have yet developed the technology that will make 3D a truly immersive experience. Right now we’re at the hand-painting stage of the process, if we’re going to keep using the analogy to the introduction of color in film. We’re just waiting for 3D’s Technicolor to come along.

“To dig deeper into the analogy, the eventual development of realistic color in motion pictures was not the result of artists getting better at hand painting film strips. I don’t think the development of 3D will be significantly forwarded by artists ‘learning to use’ the current technical model of stereoscopic properly, or refining how they dial it in,” Johnson explains. “Technicolor was not a refinement of hand painting, it was a completely new technology. It was a different thing. I have no idea what it will be, what form it will take, where it will come from or when it will arrive, but I believe a similar quantum leap to a new technical way of capturing depth on recorded media will be what actually brings us into the 3D age. It’s going to happen.”

An interesting perspective to say the least, especially since I think most people can argue that 3D filmmaking as it is now is flawed. A large number of outside influences can affect the experience a viewer has watching a 3D movie — the theater is too dark, the glasses don’t work, the projector isn’t working correctly — and that has turned many people off to the style of filmmaking. It will be interesting to see if Johnson’s prediction is correct and if a new evolution in 3D shooting is in our near future. I know I’d definitely be open to it.

Thanks to /Film for the heads up about this essay.

Do you think an evolution of 3D filmmaking is coming? Tell us in the comments section below or on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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