The perceived strength of an artistic medium is sometimes completely equal to the strength of the content that its artists contribute. 3D filmmaking is one such example. It’s a very new medium, and although very similar to 2D filmmaking, it has its own distinctions. Most filmmakers either haven’t figured out how to exploit those distinctions properly, or haven’t bothered to try.The function of 3D is to create a greater sense of immersion for the audience. When the viewer feels immersed in the film, it offers a unique experience, and results in enjoyment. This is best accomplished with 1. a large screen, 2. shots with lots of depth, 3. minimal edits., and 4. minimal movement, both by the camera and the objects in the shot. Firstly, a larger screen encompasses more of your vision, and therefore can trick your mind into thinking that you’re involved in the picture. In other words, seeing a 3D movie on the IMAX screen is a lot different from a TV in your living room. However, a skilled filmmaker can still create an immersive effect on a small screen using the right techniques. Constant use of depth shots (shots composed of objects close in the foreground, and far in the background) is essential. The 3D effect is virtually nonexistent if the shot is flat. When it comes to editing, the least amount of cuts, the better. It takes a few seconds for the audience to adapt to a new shot, and to develop the sense of immersion in the scene. Unnecessary cuts will reset the viewer’s focus.Possibly the biggest factor is the amount of movement in the frame. 3D technology works by splitting the image on the screen, and going back and forth between the two on every frame. The 3D glasses only allow the corresponding eye to see the frame that it’s supposed to. Being that there are typically 30 frames per second, it goes to fast for the human brain to perceive, and it creates the 3D effect. However, each eye only sees half the frames. The result is that the film can seem choppy sometimes. The most obvious example is when an object moves across the frame very fast. It appears choppy because the perceived frame rate can’t support the speed of its movement. These instances are not only aesthetically displeasing, but contribute to remove the audience from their sense of immersion.Another small problem with 3D is that the glasses make the screen seem dimmer, so filmmakers would be wise to turn up the brightness slightly on their 3D version.I believe that some filmmakers in Hollywood may understand how to properly film in 3D, but probably don’t bother applying their knowledge, for various reasons. The most obvious one is that they are still primarily focused on making films that are enjoyable in 2D. The majority of the viewings of a film are probably still in home media, which is mostly 2D. Also, most films are released in theatres in both 3D and 2D, because a lot of people prefer 2D, or they have some physical reason for avoiding 3D, such as a viewing impairment. If a filmmaker’s intention is to make a film enjoyable in 2D, then they’d want to use faster editing and movement in the the composition so that the film has a better pace. They might use a 3D camera so that the audience still has the choice of 3D or 2D, and it can be marketed to take advantage of the 3D technology hype.One filmmaker that I’ve come across that clearly understands how to make use of 3D, and actually puts it into practice, is Robert Zemeckis. I saw A Christmas Carol in 3D on the IMAX screen, and the feeling of immersion was overwhelming. I also saw The Walk, but on my own 3D TV at home, and was surprised to have the same feeling, even though it was on a small screen. Both films include content that is suited for the 3D medium as well, especially The Walk. I have no doubt that Zemeckis selected the subject of tight rope walking specifically because it would make excellent use of 3D.To conclude, I don’t believe that 3D itself is a failed medium, because I’ve witnessed it being effective. It’s a shame though that 3D has been tainted in the eyes of the public because of so many failed attempts at it. I saw the newest Star Wars movie in the theatre twice, both in 3D and in 2D. i found that I enjoyed the 2D version more, because the film was clearly intended to be viewed that way. I found that for most of the 3D viewing I had completely forgot that I was even watching 3D. I also found a lot of the movie to be visually dark in a lot of scenes, so 2D was more practical. Perhaps filmmakers should include in their marketing which medium the film was intended for.