The challenges of working in 3D and the future of the format have been put under the spotlight at Belgium’s 3D Film Mart.

Taking place as part of 3D Stereo MEDIA, the second edition of the 3D Film Mart started yesterday (Dec 4) with its first day culminating in a conference that discussed whether 3D was an artistic challenge or a technically and financial one.

Chairing the panel, journalist Adrian Pennington opened the discussion by describing how he had seen a pattern developing over recent years when it came to 3D.

“The focus to date has been on how 3D can be made to work technically with particular attention paid to avoiding bad 3D, as well as the high costs of 3D as opposed to 2D,” he said.

“I began to notice that certain filmmakers got really enthusiastic about the potential of 3D as a device for storytelling,” he continued. “[They] contend that 3D should not be isolated but should be fully integrated into production from the planning stage.”

On the panel were founder of nWave Ben Stassen (director of the likes of Sammy’s Adventures: The Secret Passage), founder of Binocle 3D Yves Pupulin and Sophokles Tasioulis, head of cinema & international theatrical sales at Red Bull Media House, with topics ranging from the differences between a stereographer and a DoP to the situation of 3D now.


“Good 3D should be transparent. You should be immersed in the film. As soon as you become aware of 3D, it takes you out of the film,” commented Stassen.

“The future depends on the technology. My DoP always says this is still a science project, the technology is not quite there yet to be able to make it transparent.

“To do a 3D film, you have to want people to walk out of the theatre, saying I’m glad I saw it in 3D and that’s the major issue right now: they see it as a gimmick. We don’t have 3D right now, we have 2½D.”

Current surge

Talk turned to the origin of steroscopic film and the current surge of titles in the format.

“3D has the potential to transform the language of cinema but it’s not because of that. It’s happening because Hollywood wanted exhibitors to go digital,” explained Stassen.

Discussion also turned to how the format should be approached. “Is it a technical issue? Is it a craft issue or is it a directorial issue? It’s all three,” stated Puplin, while Tasioulis argued that it’s more of a “cultural challenge” noting that in certain territories, such as China, 3D films work better.


The future of 3D was also touched upon, with the panelists stating that the format is at a stage where both the technology and the venues need to improve. Stassen argued that the “3D revolution has not happened yet”.

Speaking to Screen after the panel, Anthony Geffen, CEO and executive producer of Atlantic Productions, noted that 3D is at a “critical stage”.

“What we desperately need is a lot of very innovative films showing why 3D is unique,” said Geffen.

“We are at an absolutely critical juncture now where there needs to be support if the 3D medium is to be taken seriously as a mass medium.”

Geffen praised David Attenborough for his work with 3D, such as the upcoming Sky series Galapagos 3D with David Attenborough.

“Have a look at how seamless that [Galapagos] is and how it literally does transport you to a place that you probably will never go,” added Geffen.

“That’s what 3D has to do and that’s what Galapagos does and that’s why David is very clever at choosing subjects which will transport you.”