When James Cameron first announced he’d be post converting Titanic for a 3D re-release in April 2012, I was a bit skeptical. After all, I think most of us can agree that post converted movies are usually substandard to ones being shot in 3D, and since the movie is 15 years old, I figured it would be an insane challenge to get it right. However, earlier today I visited Paramount in Hollywood and got to see about 18 minutes of the converted film on the big screen. So what did I learn?
Never. Ever. Bet against James Cameron.
The footage I saw this morning left me speechless. I’m not joking around when I say it’s the best post conversion I’ve ever seen and it looks like they originally shot it in 3D back in 1997. In addition, Cameron told us before they post converted they created a new 4K master and did a full color correction and cleaned the film. So even if you see the film in 2D or 3D in April, you will not believe how crystal clear the images are and how good the film looks. However, before you start to think Cameron made any changes to the actual film, he told us they are not editing a single scene. He’s not pulling a George Lucas. Hit the jump for more.
The simple answer is time and money.
When a movie is being filmed and the studio has already set a release date, you have very limited time to post convert. After all, if the film uses a lot of CGI, it takes time to get the effects delivered and it also takes time to edit the film, add a score, and make everything perfect. You can’t do a post conversion until the film is almost finished, so it’s hard to get it right with such a small window of time.
But for Titanic, Cameron has been working on the conversion for 60 weeks and he’s spent 18 million dollars. That’s more time than anyone has ever spent on post conversion but it absolutely shows. I think as more filmmakers and studios do 3D re-releases, they’re going to use the template set by Cameron to get it right. At least I hope they do…because what I saw today was stunning and I have no qualms recommending this post conversion to everyone.
During today’s presentation, they showed us 8 scenes. As you might imagine, Cameron and producer Jon Landau picked moments from the entire film and they, of course, showed the very famous scene of Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet standing on the front of the ship. As the camera panned around them, I felt like I could see actual depth.
However, my favorite scene was towards the end of the film when Winslet is running around the lower decks trying to find someone to help free DiCaprio from the handcuffs. As she frantically searches up and down the long white corridors, the 3D added a whole new layer because the tight corridors made me feel her claustrophobia and desperation. Trust me, you will be blown away when you finally see this again in 3D.
Anyway, shortly after watching the footage I recorded a video blog with Peter from Slashfilm and Alex from FirstShowing in the parking lot. We talked about our reaction to the footage and what we took away from the presentation. And unlike most of our video blogs, this one is relatively short.
With Paramount showing us the footage today, I’d imagine we’re very close to a trailer for the re-release. Titanic 3D set sails on April 6, 2012.