2D TO 3D: THE INCLUSION OF 3D FILM PRODUCTION WITHIN A TRADITIONAL 2D SCREEN EDUCATION ENVIRONMENT
Among the many new digital media formats and opportunities confronting film school educators and curriculum designers is stereoscopic 3D. Vastly different to other visual realms, production of 3D content requires a unique approach to screen practice and visual design. 3D presents production students with a new way of engaging with audiences, however due to the rapid advances in the available technology outpacing filmmakers' ability to experiment and analyze the medium it is still unclear the extent to which traditional 2D production practice is relevant when creating work in 3D. Not only are the production processes more complicated and workflows more difficult to navigate when creating 3D, the notion of using a ‘space’ to present an idea rather than a ‘screen’ requires an entirely different approach to visual construction and mise-en-scene, and a very different approach to the aesthetic of visual storytelling, yet it is arguably one of the most significant developments in the history of cinematic production in its ability to dimensionalise the storytelling plane. The great filmmaker Andrei Tarkovsky in his book Sculpting in Time (1987) explains one of cinema’s great virtues is that it is the most “realistic of the arts”, and it is the ability to capture time which makes it so. Depth and dimension within the cinematic image itself are aesthetic choices, visual devices used to create the illusion of depth in a two dimentional image. When creating film works in 3D one could be said to be sculpting in space as well as time, indeed adding to the unique value of cinema. If this is seen as an important direction for cinematic production, how then can 3D practice be included within a traditional 2D film production educational model? This paper will examine the key differences in production process and aesthetic design between 2D and 3D media and explore the issues, implications and benefits of introducing both models to students within an undergraduate film school program, both in terms of curriculum development and student outcomes. It will address the question of whether the two modes of production are even compatible within a learning environment, and look at ways the two often competing modes of aesthetic design could co-exist.
Film, Television and Digital Media