‘Shazam!’ Director David F. Sandberg Explains How 3D Conversion Works in Must-Read Thread

     February 25, 2020

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If you’ve ever wondered what goes into converting a 2D-shot film into 3D, and what changes have to be made to the film to make it work in 3D, then you must read this recent Twitter thread from filmmaker David F. Sandberg. The director behind Lights Out and Annabelle: Creation took the helm of the DC movie Shazam! most recently, and in tackling a major blockbuster Sandberg was also presented with the need to convert his movie into 3D. As it turns out, the process requires more changes than you might think.

3D was all the rage after the successful box office debuts of Avatar at the tail end of 2009 and Alice in Wonderland at the beginning of 2010, and that led to a boon in studios thinking 3D was what was going to save the film industry. Almost every major blockbuster was post-converted, sometimes incredibly poorly (see: Clash of the Titans) and sometimes adequately (see: every Marvel movie). A few were actually shot in 3D as filmmakers ranging from Martin Scorsese to Ang Lee toyed with the new technology, but Hollywood soon discovered that Avatar and Alice in Wonderland were outliers and audiences would no longer be fooled by crappy, rushed 3D post-conversions with upcharged tickets.

And yet, studios still create 3D versions of most blockbusters, as was the case with Shazam!. Sandberg took to Twitter to visualize the difficulty in converting an image shot in 2D into 3D, especially with elements like snow and Christmas lights. Ultimately Sandberg comes to the same conclusion most filmmakers have: 3D is really only worth doing if the film is shot with a 3D presentation in mind. And beyond the upcoming Avatar sequels, not many films are created specifically for 3D anymore.

Regardless, this is a fascinating and insightful thread, especially for those interested in the filmmaking process. Check it out below.

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