By Miriam Ross
3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile studies questions the typical frameworks used for discussing 3D cinema, realism and spectacle, to be able to totally comprehend the embodied and sensory dimensions of 3D cinema's precise visuality.
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Additional info for 3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences
The invitation to engage closely with the material qualities of the ﬁlm begins in one of Avatar’s opening sequences, when an extreme close-up on protagonist Jake Sully’s face occurs as he lies inside the claustrophobic cabin that takes him through space to Pandora. The cameras remain face-on and stationary, allowing our gaze to travel the surfaces of the projected object. Because Sully’s head takes up most of the vertical space in front of us, its contours are noticeably manifest. The extremities (cheeks, forehead and particularly the nose) protrude towards us and give a sense of volumetric depth that we could reach out to touch.
Rather, the claustrophobic awareness of the limitations of space is elicited by the positioning of the audience within depth ﬁelds that highlight the material conﬁgurations of the 3D ﬁeld screen. Similarly, the placement of objects in the stereoscopic foreground may situate characters at a distance from the viewer, but it also invests the object with greater meaning than might be found in the ﬂat version of the ﬁlm. Discussing the moment when Tony steals a key from Margot’s purse, which is directly in front of her, Michael Kerbel states that in 2-D the purse almost blends in with her similarly colored dress.
Philip Sandifer explains that in this context ‘the essential consequence of the frame and the creation of the implied viewer is that the actual viewer becomes decoupled from any necessary spatial relationship to the painting or its subject’ (2011: 65). It is this aspect that Marks references when she discusses the optical visuality found in more traditional cinema modes. Films do not necessarily utilise a coherent visual statement in every scene, and perspectival structures of organisation can be completely disregarded (Bordwell, 1997).