Monday, January 09, 2012

Is JJ Abrams Putting A Red Shirt On STAR TREK 2 By Not Sheparding The 3D Conversion?

JJ Abrams recently spoke to the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour and there are some surprises that have caught me a bit off guard.

Rather than spoil the content for you right off the bat, here is the conversation as provided by Collider:

Are you shooting Star Trek 2 in 3D, or will you be converting it later?

"We’re shooting on film, and the reason for that is I wanted to shoot with anamorphic, and you can’t shoot 3D in anamorphic."

Do you plan on using lens flares again, and have you thought about how the 3D will affect that, in converting it later?

"I’ve had some people make fun of me about that. Yeah, we’ve done some tests. Not only lens flare tests, but we’ve done 3D tests. We actually converted a bunch of the original movie, which looked really good. That was the thing that made me feel like, maybe that would be okay. But, I didn’t want to shoot the movie digitally."

But, it will be in 3D?

"It will be converted, for those who want to see it in 3D. But, I wanted to match the look of the first one and shoot it anamorphically."

Because the popularity of 3D has died down some, are you worried about the commercial viability of 3D?
"I did not fight for the 3D. It was something that the studio wanted to do, and I didn’t want to do it. And then, when I saw the first movie converted in sections, I thought that it actually looked really cool. So, I was okay with their doing it, as long as I could shoot the movie the way I wanted to, in anamorphic film, and then let them convert it. So, those who want to see it in 3D, which looked pretty cool, can do it, and those that want to see it in 2D can do that too."

Other than the naysayer and completely leading last question from the Collider Interviewer (sigh), what really bothers me about what Abrams has said here is that the decision to go with 3D seems to have forced down upon him, rather than him making a creative choice to do so. This is the exact OPPOSITE that everyone in the 3D creative field wants.

Further, he is speaking in the third person about the studio showing him clips of the first movie and allowing them to go ahead and convert the second. Does this mean he is not involved in the conversion? It sounds that way to me and man I hope I am wrong about that.

These two concerns of mine when added up spell trouble (was going to joke using tribble there, but I don't feel like humor right now). I am not convinced that the conversion of Abrams' STAR TREK 2 is going to be good. I need some sort of reassurance from him that he himself is overseeing the conversion project and that he is shooting the movie with 3D IN MIND. Simply selecting a proven conversion house isn't going to cut it and is a crap shoot without having the director on board. This isn't just another movie, it's STAR TREK.

If he is not doing any of those things, than please - DON'T CONVERT IT. This is coming from a 3D advocate and from a Trekkie who would sincerely love to see the effort on a stereoscopic 3D screen. But only if it is done right and not full of what seems to me to be animosity. I like that he thought the first STAR TREK clips looked "cool" and the prospect of using flares in 3D seem like a novel idea, but wow. I'm worried. So should you in my opinion.

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