Only one in 10 digital screens is adequate for 3D screenings, pioneering 3D film-maker Ben Stassen has claimed.

Stassen is CEO of Brussels-based nWave, which is behind a series of successful Imax projects and this year released 3D animation Fly Me To The Moon. But although he claimed 3D is the "second revolution in the history of the cinema after sound", he told delegates at the Screen International Digital Cinema conference in London the potential growth is now in danger.

He believes 3D only works when it is an immersive experience rather than simply a gimmick but that the screens being installed are not up to the task of showing the films.

"The screens must be floor to ceiling so audiences can be oblivious to their surroundings," he said. "But most are not and as soon as you have to look up to see the picture, the effect is lost."

Stassen also fears too many films now being shot in 3D are basically 2D films with "gimmicky effects".

"Like the 1950s, people will get tired of that very quickly." Instead, he said, it is important for film-makers to develop skills specific to this new medium.

Exhibitor Graham Spurling, principal director of Spurling Group Cinemas, said 3D was so far a hit with customers in his Irish chain. But he agreed there was a need for the right project for the medium and said audiences will soon be used to the format and will not be interested in gimmicks.

"What 3D can offer really is the depth of field, not things shooting out of the screen," he said.

But he was confident the final success of 3D would come down to straightforward economics. "We (as exhibitors) just want good movies that will make money. A dog is a dog is a dog."