Thoughts on 3D Technology

I have now seen Avatar in 3D.  While my wife was deep in thought about the religious ideas portrayed in the film, I was lost in the technology of the third dimension, expertly created by the usually overrated director, James Cameron.  Check out my thoughts after the break.

3D is no longer the based on the gags of The Christmas Carol in 3D.  When Shrek Forever After comes out with the same stuff of old, flying brooms coming out of the screen and such, Avatar has decided to create a functional use for the technology.  I was taken aback at the depths I saw into every scene.  It is clear that the creators of Avatar took the nature of the technology to the next level. Heres how I know:

As an engineer, I took my glasses off at times to see what made me see the images on the screen.  Not every thing in every scene was blurred for the 3D effect.  In fact, at times, only one piece (a character, a tree, or otherwise) was given depth in order to portray, for lack of a better term, depth.  I was astounding to see the deep forest literally looked fifty feet behind the screen.  There was nothing gaudy about the experience, nothing that made me wonder why I spent the extra couple dollars to see it in 3D.

I suggest that everyone who sees the movie see it at least once in the third dimension.  For those who don’t know, 3D is an old technology.  It is based on manipulating the images that your eyes perceive.  There are two images superimposed and slightly offset.  The glasses, although there are 3D technologies that don’t use glasses (check out Wikipedia to learn more), help your eyes to focus correctly on the images to make them appear to extend into the screen.  The cool thing about Avatar was its use of offsets to create further depth.  The further offset the superimposed images were, the deeper they looked.  For the engineer in me, this meant there was an entire separate piece to the technology that was underrated and thereby underutilized; it meant that there were quite an infinite number depth levels that could be created with the normal number of limitations.  I’ll let you think on that while I move onto an interesting story arc…

SPOILER ALERT! DO NOT READ ON IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW THE ENDING!

I want to defer now to what I took away from the film, which includes the need to spoil it a bit… We lose!  I wondered how many people around me realized that though they were rooting for the underdog of the film, we (humans, americans, what-have-you) were the douchebags!  At first, I thought, Well, it is always about our capitalist tendancies, isn’t it?”  I quickly realized that whether or not Cameron was trying to make a point about military might not always being the answer, but understanding being the key, the fact is that Avatar was exactly that.  The military has their heads up their asses and it is time to change the way we go about getting our valuable resources… Cameron says.

Either way, I come to a crossroads in my judgement of 3D Technology.  I can’t say succinctly enough the hatred I had for 3D technology prior to seeing this movie.  I disliked the gags and saw no reason why I should be jealous of those who saw that version when I saw the 2D version.  I liked Christmas Carol in 2D why spend extra to see it in any other form.  Not so with Avatar, which would simply not be the same experience in any other form.  I will be a proponent of the technology from now on, as long as filmmakers take it as seriously as James Cameron has.

P.S. I will never be a proponent of James Cameron, though!


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The Challenges of 2020

TL;DR: Follow this link.

One of the craziest things about Christianity during the protests of the last few weeks is the fact that there are churches out there not discussing the issues honestly, not taking the time to have the hard conversations, not devoting their Sunday services to betterment of the world and people around them. If you’re church isn’t talking about racism right now, if they don’t mention that black lives matter, instead focusing on platitudes that equate to the all lives matter” sentiment, it is time to start looking for a new church.

My wife and I meet with my home” church virtually via Zoom since the pandemic is still a thing. Kimball Avenue United Church of Christ & La Iglesia Episcopal de Nuestra Señora de las Américas (KANSA, together) combined in a collaborative way to create a single denomination focused on the needs of their community. They follow Christ together toward the vision of love, reconciliation, peace and justice. The justice looks like the demolition and rehabilitation of an old church building and its grounds into a community garden and labyrinth open to all who seek peace through contemplation.

I give this elevator speech to mention that COVID has not been kind to faith communities in general. Budgets have been slashed, funding and grants have been cut, and congregations in need are also working to serve those in need, who are less likely to be able to financially support their church in these times. KANSA in one of the good ones. They speak truth, they have the difficult conversations, they preach in a loud voice every Sunday that black lives matter, that racism has no place in the church, that the LGBTQ community deserves respect and support, and that Jesus was a social justice warrior, who fought for the least of these no matter who they were, where they were from, what they looked like.

In fact, Jesus was most harsh to those who had the means to help and decided not to answer the call.

These systems of oppression we are protesting have been around a long time; they have screwed up a lot of lives, they have been the reason for revolution and the downfall of entire civilizations, they don’t work. We need to find a better way to live by supporting each other. And support has to come in systemic, social, financial, and political ways, both national and local.

I am not local to KANSA anymore, but I support their mission, the way that mission manifests in the world, and the simple fact that they follow Jesus no matter how ostracizing that position can be at times. Which brings me to the point:

Thanks to a $10,000 matching gift’ from an anonymous donor, the challenge has become an opportunity. Over the next two months, we plan to raise at least $10,000 to meet the challenge. Through August 31, 2020, every donation we receive toward our 2020 Challenge” no matter how small or how large will be doubled by the matching gift.

KANSA is hurting financially and needs support, they do good work and are unabashedly progressive in their approach to our world. Donate now and see your contribution matched to keep one of the good ones fighting the good fight.

Thank you for your consideration.