Step Up 3D - Great Stereoscopic Cinema

By Damien Stolarz
August 9, 2010 | Comments: 1

I just took my kids (4 & 8) to see Step Up 3D, a movie about a Hip-Hop dance competition in New York City.

If you haven't yet joined the 3D bandwagon, or if you like dance, and even if you're just a techie interested in state-of-the-art cinema, I highly recommend this movie.

Ignore any negative reviews you might read about it and go for fun. It's distributed by Disney, and I looked it up on a "for the family" review site - despite it's PG-13 rating the only bad word my 4-year-old was able to find was the word "shut up" so clearly this movie is about DANCE.

I've had a 3D television for about 3 years (i.e. before they were commercially available) and I've demo'ed them at Foo Camp... I have been an avid fan of 3D cinema and I found this incredibly enjoyable and quite different, because it was all natural scenes really shot in 3D.

Most of the current crop of '3D Cinema' falls into the following 3 categories:

1) Content shot in 2D with 3D added later through painstaking rotoscoping
2) Content created in 3D (such as animation) and exported in 3D
3) CG special effects that are created for action movies, combined with #1 above

This film, however, is an example of a fourth category:
4) Natural, real-world content shot with dual-camera rigs, in 3D

It's actually quite difficult both technically and artistically to suddenly "shoot in 3D" (i've tried) and this movie makes this challenging feat look easy.

Some of the great features in this movie are:

1) Shots of Times Square, Grand Central Station, and other NYC sites
2) Fantastic, engrossing footage, of current Hip-Hop, pop and breakdance styles
3) A number of 3D effects (titles, dance moves) that "pop out" in a very smoothly executed and novel way

For some context, I just spent the last week in New York City at a Hyatt on top of Grand Central Station which is featured in the film, and incidentally visited the same areas they shot. Later in the week I also travelled to the Edison Museum in Orange, NJ where I saw the first movies ever created, and I thought about how wonderful it was to have video from the late 1800s, and how wonderful it is now to have stereoscopic footage preserving the beautiful cityscape of NYC for posterity.

I know full well that I'm gushing over what could be perceived as a throwaway dance movie with a 3D gimmick, but I also just pored over gimmicky inventions such as the phonograph and movie projector, which delivered mere sideshow amusement until they found their role in delivering music and cinema to the masses.

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1 Comment

I recently watched some part of it in 720p 2D and I wonder if you can tell me why there are some parts that looks like it is an animation, for example the bystanders around dancers? they move odd.
And in some scenes the plastic look on face of the actor and actress.
Did they make some part of the film just like the Final Fantacy animation movies?

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