This weekend London plays host to Empire BIG SCREEN, a movie-centric fan convention, and yet another event being described as "the UK's answer to Comic-Con." Apart from a distinct lack of comics, and very few cosplayers, BIG SCREEN does have a similar format to the SDCC, with almost continuous panels and presentations from the major studios detailing their forthcoming projects.
This morning 20th Century Fox showed the audience many of the clips that were previously screened at Comic-Con, followed by about ten minutes of footage from the 3D conversion of Titanic.
Opening on the crowd scene in the docks as the ship is boarding, the most noticeable thing about the footage is how much detail there is. When a film is converted to 3D, objects are rotoscoped and separated out onto layers. Ordinarily there are only a few layers in a shot, but with Titanic, it would seem that stereographers have put every single object onto a separate plane. The effect is astonishing – and completely justifies a 3D version of the film.
Several of the other scenes shown also looked stunning – the sumptuously decorated rooms and the chaotic engine room in particular. That said, the fact that stereography wasn't a consideration when the film was shot did cause a few issues in some of the scenes we were shown. In the sequence where Rose attends the raucous dance below decks, the frame is often filled with very close up shots of people as the camera tracks past. Every time this happens it seems to interrupt the effect of the 3D for the few moments afterwards.
The other major issue is the contrast between the rich, multi-planed scenes, and those in much less sumptuous locations. The sequences that took place inside the cabins look almost Spartan, and certainly much more flat, simply by virtue of there being fewer points of reference for us. Similarly, the Rose and Jack on the bow of the ship sequence seems to have received little to no conversion at all, again because of the lack of points of reference.
Titanic is planned to return to theaters in April of 2012, in time for the 100th anniversary of the ship's sinking.