Sky 'sceptical about 3D conversion'

This photo doesn't get any less painful the more you look at it
This photo doesn't get any less painful the more you look at it

Brian Lenz, director of product design and TV production development at Sky, has spoken candidly about 2D to 3D conversion technology, explaining that the results can be poor.

Speaking at the 3DTV World Forum in London, Lenz said about the tech: "I am sceptical when it comes to 2D to 3D conversion – any attempts to do it quickly and cheaply will make it bad 3D."

3D conversion appears in the new Samsung 3D TVs and will also be integrated into Toshiba's Cell TV.

The technology has been put into the television sets, mainly due to the lack of 3D content available. As its name suggests 2D to 3D conversion creates a 3D image in real time out of 2D images, processing the footage within the television.

Editing 3D

There are problems with this, though, as Lenz explains: "Creatively, 3D is different to 2D. You want slower cuts, your editing style needs to reflect the 3D image.

"Because of this, 2D cuts don't work in 3D, so 3D conversion will never rise to the level of native 3D content."

When asked if Sky would use conversion technology in its 3D channel, Lenz was quick to note: "Sky is focused on native 3D. That's not to say that there will be advancements over time with 2D conversion, I don't doubt that that will be the case. But we are looking at native 3D."

3D moviemaking

Neil Dodgson, from the University of Cambridge and an expert in 3D agrees about converting 3D, saying: "Automatic 2D to 3D conversion is a poor substitute for real 3D. Coverting 2D to 3D manually is adequate, but very expensive, costing 2,000 Euros a minute to convert.

"It also puts people off. Clash of the Titans was recently converted into 3D and got poor reviews. Bad 3D can put off moviemakers and that is not good for promoting the technology."

Dodgson believes that the best way for 3D to work is to make it a key part of filmmaking process.

"If 3D is to survive it must not be a gimmick but actually part of the moviemaking tool set", he notes. "Up and Avatar hold up well in 2D – they do look better in 3D – but this is because they are good movies without the 3D."

Marc Chacksfield

Marc Chacksfield is the Editor In Chief, at DC Thomson. He started out life as a movie writer for numerous (now defunct) magazines and soon found himself online - editing a gaggle of gadget sites, including TechRadar, Digital Camera World and Tom's Guide UK. At Shortlist you'll find him mostly writing about movies and tech, so no change there then.