Archives: July 2007

15/07 Red Bull get it wrong

If you go to a cinema in Greater London this fortnight you have a good chance of being subjected to "the world's first 3D cinema advert", advertising some event being run by a well-known brand of fizzy pop. I'm not sure if this was gimmickry for the sake of it, or if Red Bull want to be part of the current wave of 3D cinema, but I'm sorry to say that I wasn't impressed.

First of all, to avoid the need for digital projection equipment or dual-projector rigs for a 30 second advert, Red Bull chose to use the anaglyph method of generating a stereoscopic image, and corresponding red- and cyan-lensed "3D glasses" were handed out before the show. This technique is decidedly non-ideal for cinematic presentation - the fact that the colour information is split between the two eyes produces a highly unrealistic effect.

The inherent problems of the anaglyph were compounded by a botched process in the mastering and printing of the film - the red and blue/green light that was projected was a poor match for the filters in the 3D glasses, with the effect that there was considerable cross-talk between the two eyes, making it virtually impossible to converge the two images and experience a sensation of 3D viewing. To make things worse, the (mostly computer-generated) material made use of considerable parallax for effect, and consisted of a series of short, fast-moving scenes - a typical advert in that respect, but absolutely the wrong way to go about giving the audience a good experience.

If I was in the business of trying to promote three-dimensional cinema, I'd be quite annoyed, I suspect...