October 26, 2015

Rueing the Day

Here are some arguments against 3D conversions in education:

Why 2D-to-3D conversions of educational content will make all of us rue the day
  • There’s too much junk. I have been a large purchaser of traditional 2D digital content for many years. After our school district deployed a richly endowed digital content management system, we began the laborious process of acquiring digital content licenses en masse for our teachers. One thing I learned in the process was echoed by thousands of teachers: in a typical digital content collection, only 5% of the content is worth using. The rest is filler. It just makes the provider's collection look bigger. We were forced to cherry pick the best titles. “Why pay for the junk,” we thought? Some companies wouldn’t play ball on that iTunes-like playing field. So we skipped them. For that reason alone, 2D-3D conversions will ruin the promise and potential of 3D in the educational marketplace.
  • It’s too expensive. 2D educational content, converted to stereo 3D, will also require DeSouza’s “visual grammar change” and many publishing companies will simply not pay for z-depth enhancements, slowing, savoring, or other visual improvements. Yet DeSouza has other ideas about this limitation. "Another thing to keep in mind," he adds, "is that much educational content is produced in CG. (DirectX, OpenGl) etc. If this is true, by default they have a Z-buffer channel that can produce stereoscopic 3D. The nvidia stereo drivers operate this way for example." This could greatly lower costs. Still, I hold my ground for one big reason: most digital content companies in the education space license their products from smaller producers, as is. Any incentive to improve the product is mitigated, simply because it is decentralized.

I know the emotions and the players involved in the 3D conversion debate.  Let the debate now extend to education.

October 19, 2015

Saving the Day

Here are some arguments for 3D conversions in education:

Why 2D-to-3D conversions of educational content will save the day
  • It’s about critical mass. Once the big publishers enter the educational 3D market, it shouts that 3D has finally arrived. It’s like the Pope’s blessing, isn’t it?
  • Some conversions work. Although DeSouza worried that “straight over conversions will not work,” great conversions are adjusted—tweaked—so they can therefore be considered something more than a "straight over conversion.” I can therefore assume that some well-known and well-loved educational content can indeed be tweaked. Slowed down. Paused, allowing full savoring. Negative parallax added, so that depth can be advantaged at the right moments. It seems reasonable to me.

October 12, 2015

3D Conversions in Education

 “Will 3D conversions of legacy educational content be a godsend?

Fact One. Three of the largest educational content publishers in the world have educational 3D content ready to go—or should I say—ready to convert from 2D to 3D. Only if needed. Only if the market comes calling. For now, these publishing behemoths are content to sit tight, waiting on the sidelines. If, and when, the market picks up, they are certainly ready to flood the market with 3D conversion titles.

Fact Two. No matter whom I speak with in the educational content business or 3D hardware manufacturing business, mostly everyone thinks that 2D-3D conversions of educational content will somehow save the day. Nearly everyone.  

As for me, I’m not so sure. Maybe. Aw, probably not. I have good reasons for my troubled fudging.  Stay tuned for next week's post!

October 5, 2015

About 3D Conversions

In his book, Think in 3D, DeSouza worries about conversion of traditional 2D content into the 3D format.  He frets: “Straight over conversions will not work,” suggesting that this is merely wishful thinking--merely “thinking in 2D” about 3D. He explains the possible failure points for such a crossover in this way: “the brain takes a while to ‘take in’ a 3D scene, and although still an illusion, contain such rich visual information that if it were to be combined with 2D cinematographic technique such as fast cuts and pans, rack focus, or depth of field manipulation – it would lead to visual overload for the audiences, who may end up getting a headache as they struggle to make sense of all the visual stimuli being presented. “ Instead, DeSouza values an enveloping “visual narrative… presented…via subtle camera movement rather than a montage like style, frequently changing camera angles, or fast camera motion that is normally used to convey anticipation, excitement, or other emotions in 2D movies.”

DeSouza feels that straight-over conversions of 2D content into 3D format will not reach audiences as well, because “most directors, editors, and cinematographers have grown up with montage style filmmaking, and do not use ‘dwell time,’ which a 3D movie thrives on. Instead, DeSouza postulates that great 3D content requires a necessary “visual grammar change.”

Still, in a recent interview, DeSouza feels that in the education space, there might be room for some doable conversions. He states: "I believe that educational content might perhaps benefit from conversion, because they aren’t produced with camera work at the same tempo as Hollywood tentpole productions, which are notorious when it comes to converting." In our next week’s post, we will tackle the issue of 3D conversions in the educational space.