Is She Amused?

The CBC is repeating their special doc Queen Elizabeth in 3D this week on CBC Newsworld (Channel 26) this Saturday at 10pm, and Sunday at 1am.

3D glasses were available at select Canada Post outlets (as listed in the PDF file) but supplies may have run out by this point. The glasses were gone by Monday at my local outlet, so the initial review of the show will likely reflect the doc’s content rather than 3D effects.

First caveat: the Queen doc uses the ColorCode 3D system which isn’t compatible with the old red-blue glasses some of you may have lying around. ColorCode uses blue-amber filters, so you’ll need glasses that have blue for the right eyeball, and amber for the left; anything else will cause your brain to convulse, porridge to emerge from your nose, and strange blinky-blinky lights to glow from the tips of your pinkies.

Second caveat: the CBC doc is actually an edited-down version of the original 2-part (!) series that ran last November on England’s Channel 4, as part of their own 3D special series. Each part runs under 48 mins., whereas the CBC edit is far less, and includes the interpolation of news and thespian figures from the corp’s talent pool. I’ll have reviews of both the original 2-part and CBC versions early next week, since the handling of the content is a bit different.

Third Caveat: both docs apparently aren’t contrived reprocessed 3D footage from 2D sources. The docs contain a mix of newly shot 3D footage of the Queen’s recent trip to Canada, and (amazingly) newly discovered 3D film of her coronation back in 1953. The CBC’s efforts to air their doc began with on-air tests to see if the 3D system could be implemented nationally, and actually work, as this August 11th blurb briefly explains.

I’m indifferent to the Queen, the Monarchy is outdated, but hey, it’s a test to see how well the format on the Idiot Box performs as networks test 3D material while more 3D content is slooooowly making its way to 3D Blu-ray so your $4000 setup is put to actual three-dimensional use.

Future Shop is selling various combo packages with player + set + glasses + transmitter, and more 3D BR titles were announced last week that everyone can buy, as opposed to the exclusive one title-per specific manufacturer deal that may be the dumbest ploy to convince you and me to buy yet another new TV.

Avatar, for example, will be available as a 3D BR title Dec. 1st, but only if you buy the Panasonic gear. Other exclusive deals with no end-date for the rest of consumer society include Alice in Wonderland 3D exclusive to Sony 3D sets; and Monsters vs. Aliens 3D, all four Shrek films in 3D, and How to Train Your Dragon 3D exclusive to Samsung buyers.

If this scheme was initially applied to the first year of Blu-ray’s existence, the format would’ve died within a year. The industry’s short-term memory tends to forget historical boo-boos from which it could learn a great deal.

In any event, I’ll have more thoughts on the CBC and Channel 4 docs, and the fascinating backstory of how Queen Elizabeth II happened to be filmed in 3D. It’s pretty amazing this stuff sat forgotten for 50+ years, and I frankly hope the current 3D resurgence will cause other rarities to be dusted off, restored, properly preserved, and commercially released, because headaches and seeing misaligned colours are part of our collective anaglyph photograph and cinema history, right?

Seriously. Porridge from the nostrils like you wouldn’t believe.

Mark R. Hasan, Editor


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