At a special lunch event on the third day of CinemaCon (25), master directors Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee gave an endorsement of the format that was as good as it gets.

Scorsese, who shot his multi-Oscar winner Hugo in 3D, said that if today’s technology had been available earlier in his career he would have filmed Raging Bull in black-and-white 3D.

“I would practically have done everything [in 3D] after Raging Bull, no doubt,” he added.

Earlier in the event Scorsese said 3D was “absolutely” the future of cinema and stressed the three filmmaking pillars of colour, sound and depth. “For me it’s a natural progression.” The moderator made the point that James Cameron had gone on record saying Hugo demonstrated the best use of 3D he had seen yet; better even than his own films.

Lee, who is editing his upcoming 3D adaptation of Yann Martel’s acclaimed adventure Life Of Pi, said the format would have suited Hulk. “That’s one movie where I wish I had that,” the Taiwanese filmmaker said.

The process of making a 3D film, he said, was “a huge learning curve” given that filmmakers and crews are trained to think in terms of making 2D films.

The filmmaker said that 3D enhanced performances. As a result, after watching playback on 2D monitors he would occasionally ask his young performers who play Pi at different stages of childhood to tone down their acting.

The bulk of the story takes place in a boat that the protagonist shares with a tiger – real or imagined – and Lee shot the ocean sequences in a special water tank developed with the support of the Taiwanese government.

He drew laughter from the audience at the Octavius Ballroom in Caesars Palace when he said he switched aspect ratios in the making of the film but had not yet told his studio partner Fox. Life Of Pi is due to open in the US on Dec 21 and stars Irrfan, Tobey Maguire, Gerard Depardieu, Tabu, Suraj Sharma and Ayush Tandon.

Both filmmakers also gave ringing endorsements of the theatre-going experience and said they needed to work hand-in-hand with exhibition to create the best experience for patrons.

Scorsese stressed the importance of appropriate screen lightning so audiences did not feel oppressed by darkness when they wore 3D glasses.