Diary of a new at Home 3D Blu-Ray Fan or How to get Started with 3D at Home Part 1!

Okay, so my 3D projector, that I spent HOURS deciding on before making the purchase, arrived yesterday. I set it up, placed it appropriately. Now my 100″ screen had not arrived yet, but I decided to go ahead and test it against my walls. My walls are a subdued blue-grey and surprise/surprise, I don’t think I need a screen!

Now, Not to jump the gun, but the projection against  the wall—I’m overjoyed by the result.

I’ll make the final decision when the screen gets here, but I don’t think the screen is going to be needed. Let us put it this way, if the screen was not on its way, I probably would be in no rush to order one.

Ok, once the projector was in place and manual read and my 3D All-Region Blu-Ray player connected, I grabbed 4 films to try with the Native 1080p 3D projector. GUN FURY 3D, THOR RAGNAROK 3D, MAD MAGICIAN 3D and THE LIFE OF PI 3D.

All these films with the exception of THE LIFE OF PI, I had seen previously  in 2D, and liked them all. The Rock Hudson vehicle GUN FURY is a serviceable western, and MAD MAGICIAN starring Vincent Price is an enjoyable (if not one of Price’s better) films. THOR RAGNAROK I have seen both 2D, and in the movie theaters in 3D.

Ok,so putting in GUN FURY, I started it first in 2D, and quite liked the picture. Coming from a standard LCD TV, just the size and detail and color via the projector, everything looked surprisingly great. I started smiling, but hold on, now comes the real test, the reason i went the projector route, how would the 3D look?

So I put on the 3D glasses I selected (which I had charged the day before, and these glasses I had spent quite a bit of time selecting as well) switched the Blu-ray over to 3D, and…initially looked at the screen nonplussed. ‘I don’t see any 3D’, I murmured to myself, then it occurred to me, I had to turn the glasses on. I turned them on, and I smiled.

My jaw dropped.

I put this film on, because being a film from the 1950s I was not expecting much out of it. I had heard and read no reviews on this film, so figured the 3D would probably be mediocre.

I was incorrect.

The picture, the 3D depth on this is astonishing. You can look way into the screen, and the screen protrudes out toward you, but mostly it is the unbelievable depth that makes you feel you can toss something into the screen and it would bounce and roll into the background.

The distance between people, foreground to middle-ground to background is all starkly delineated, like you could walk between the characters. Just tremendous.  The effect of the 3D was to make me MORE engrossed in the moments of the film that I liked previously, but was not overly enamored with.

Now however, looking at the people in the background, the imagery of the foreground, the strengths of the middle ground. It all worked together not as a gimmick, but to grab your attention, and ground you in a film, that in 2D, I listened and looked at, but in 3D I still listened to, but rather than looking, I saw.

That’s the best way I can describe the … appeal of really great 3D. I was floored by this 3D film, GUN FURY. I had to force myself to stop watching so I could check out other 3D films. Based on the little bit I saw I give it an initial impression of A. Yes, that is a HIGH initial impression grade and may fluctuate when I watch the whole film in 3D, but yeah initial impression is a solid A, bordering on A+.

I next tried THOR RAGNAROK which is regarded as one of the best converted 3D films, and I can see why. It looks ASTOUNDING. However, it is a tad dark for some reason compared to the GUN FURY presentation, I remember it even being too dark in the theater when I watched it in 3D. However the 3D strikes me as more impressive here in my home than it did in the theater. Now of course I do not have a better system than you will find in a theater, however if they under-light the scene, which is common with 3D projection in theaters, you can have a worse experience in the theaters and their $100000 systems, than you have at home with a $1000+ system. That is all I am saying.

Darkness aside the picture looked less dark than I remember it being in the theater, and the 3D more apparent and effective, here with my cheap system, than the misaligned system of the theater I went to. Initial impressions on THOR RAGNAROK was a solid B+/A-. And I had to tear myself away from it to sample another film.

I then went to the black and white 3D film MAD MAGICIAN. It gave me a headache and the 3D had some depth to it, no projections, but I seriously could not watch it too long, it began to stab me in my left eye. It is not the hardware, or 3D exhaustion, as I immediately went to 3D film after it, which I am about to get to, and had no viewing issue.

All I can think is there is something about the mastering of this particular 3D release, seriously it became an ache in my left eye. Based on initial impressions I have to give it a solid F,  I’ll come back to it when I’m feeling braver and see if I have a better viewing experience with it, but for now, on the bottom of the pile it goes.

Next I put on THE LIFE OF PI, mentioned by a couple reviewers as their best, and not mentioned at all by other reviewers. Me and Ms HT watched the whole film. Ang Lee has been a hit and miss director for me so i went in with no particular expectation. And— the scales fell from my eyes. To be overly dramatic. 🙂

My favorite 3D experience in the theater was AVATAR back in 2009. It was everyone’s favorite 3D experience.  It became the golden standard by which all theatrical 3D would be judged. THE LIFE OF PI , with 4 films under my belt, is the gold standard of 3D for home viewing. It is sublime. Truly jaw-dropping. And what makes it one of the greatest 3D experiences is not only how expertly the 3D works, but how expertly it is applied, to further the story.

The 3D is not jus a superfluous gimmick, and after thought, as you can argue it is with most films. It is used, by the filmmaker, like the costumes, or the set design, or the actors, Ang Lee, uses the 3, to help tell the story. The 3D isn’t just a veneer painted over the film, he constructs the film, that the immersive nature of 3D actually is a framework of the film.

You can make the argument not even AVATAR made the 3D as necessary a component to the film. Scenes where the sea becomes the sky, and the sky becomes the sea, to highlight being lost and adrift, is something that cannot quite be conveyed in 2D. I said I had no expectations going in to this film, that’s not quite right; I expected for whatever reason to be underwhelmed, to find it over-hyped. I’m not sure why, just something did not fill me with confidence in the title or its whimsical artwork. I was wrong. 3D is a tool, it is an effect, and at its best, it is storytelling. THE LIFE OF PI is 3D at its best, not just in terms of mechanics, but in terms of a master storyteller, using 3D masterfully as part and parcel of a masterful story. For that reason it is the best implementation of 3D I have ever seen, and it is arguably the best implementation of 3d, I can imagine seeing.

You need a filmmaker of vast imagination, a story of crushing beauty, and performances ravishing, to be in the league of this film as a film. And because the 3D is not tacked on, but is indivisible from that storytelling, it elevates the 3D, just as the 3D elevates the storytelling. 3D is about immersion, and you would have to have all those things to create a film as immersive as THE LIFE OF PI. Grade: An unqualified A+. One of the gems of my collection.

 

So that has been my initial introduction to Home 3D. And the final verdict, by both me and the far more pragmatic and less easily impressed Ms HT … “What the heck took us so long to get a 3D projector???!!!” :).

Guys if you like 3D, and have been thinking about a home system, don’t wait. Jump in with both feet. Do your homework, get the right player, the right projector, the right glasses, and the right content, and get to watching!!! And now is the time to do it, because everything is starting to disappear and/or go up in price. Buy the stuff now, while you can.

If I get 7 likes on this post, I will do a follow-up post breaking down what I use for my system. I can tell you the system I have built, that works for me, and it should work for you as well!!!

If you found this post useful, definitely, share, like, comment, and click on the images above to purchase the reviewed films.