In the wake of the $2.7 billion success of “Avatar,” 3-D announcements have been flying out of Hollywood like arrows from a blue alien’s bow. Unlike James Cameron’s epic, though, the majority of these films are not shot using 3-D cameras but rather are (or will be) converted during post-production. A conversation among filmmakers and movie buffs has now cropped up: Is there a right and wrong way to make a 3-D film?
That’s just one of the questions MTV News will be exploring over the next few days as part of our 3-D week. And it’s a question of a great deal of importance to Warner Bros. and the minds behind “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.” In early February, the studio announced that the two parts of the series finale — the first to be released November 19 and the second coming July 15, 2011 — will receive a 3-D conversion.
We spoke with “Potter” executive producer David Heyman to get his take on the conversion process, the reasons behind the move and if we’ll ever see the past films in the series re-released as 3-D flicks.
MTV: When did you make the decision to do the two parts of “Deathly Hallows” in 3-D?
David Heyman: I think that it emerged organically. Clearly, the success of 3-D movies has had an impact on the economy and making of films. We saw an opportunity and grabbed it. Also, “Harry Potter” itself has so many exciting possibilities for 3-D, both in things coming at you and also just in making that world seem even more epic than it already is. “Harry Potter” is already an epic film, but having that added dimension will make it even more epic, and that seemed like an opportunity that was too hard to pass up. Though we didn’t shoot it in 3-D, the quality of post-3-D has improved remarkably in the last year or two, so we felt very comfortable with that process.
MTV: Was it something that you guys have been talking about for a while or was it a conversation that came up after the success of “Avatar”?
Heyman: Absolutely the success of “Up” and “Avatar” made the economics make sense, and also the quality of some of the work Warners was doing with post-3-D made it feel like something that would augment the film rather than diminish it.
MTV: Warner, of course, also converted “Clash of the Titans.” Did you guys talk to the “Clash” folks to see what the conversion would be like and if you’d be happy with the results?
Heyman: Frankly, we are still in the process of discussing methodology, but clearly one of the advantages we have is that we have quite a long time before the release of the film. So we have quite a lot of time to work and hone and hopefully perfect each and every sequence. We are not on a compressed schedule. This is something that was built in very early on, and we think we will achieve the very best quality we can.
MTV: Do you know how long the conversion process will actually take once you start doing it?
Heyman: What they generally talk about is 12 to 16 weeks, but we’re going to begin the process very, very soon.
MTV: Do you ever look back and wish you had shot “Deathly Hallows” with 3-D cameras to begin with?
Heyman: I think that there’s no question that shooting a film in 3-D is a great thing. I think it was just impractical. It would have taken much, much too long. Shooting in 3-D is slower. Some people say shooting in 3-D is the only way to go, and some people are more open to the other. It’ll be interesting as it develops to see whether shooting in 3-D becomes the norm or not, because clearly it’s more expensive, partly because shooting takes longer.
MTV: Is there one scene in particular that you think is going to be especially great in 3-D?
Heyman: One of the things I really loved about watching James Cameron’s approach to 3-D in “Avatar” was that it wasn’t about things coming out at you all the time. It was actually about adding great depth. You wouldn’t want to overuse stuff coming at you. We haven’t begun the process of converting it yet. We are doing some tests and looking at various things, but we aren’t done with any sequence yet. I am obviously looking forward to some of the battle sequences in the second part. I am also looking forward to seeing the dragon flying up. I think there’s a lot that will be great in 3-D, but to me, where it’s really most exciting is just making that world seem much deeper, richer and what that extra dimension gives you.
MTV: Everyone’s very excited about the epilogue . Presumably you’re going to use “Benjamin Button”-style effects for Daniel Radcliffe and the other actors, rather than use older actors. Would you also use 3-D effects in there?
Heyman: I don’t know. We haven’t had those discussions yet.
MTV: Now that you’re going to do “Deathly Hallows” in 3-D, have you given any thought to re-releasing some of the other “Potter” films in 3-D?
Heyman: Those discussions haven’t yet happened, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. You know what? I actually shouldn’t say that. Who knows? It would be great. You can never tell. I hope so.
MTV: Do you think 3-D is here to stay or is it something that we’ll look back and say was a fad five years from now?
Heyman: It’s funny. You say that, and I’ve been asking that question myself to people here. I’m in Los Angeles this week, and I think people think it is here to stay. Certainly as it becomes part of home entertainment, then I think that it becomes more and more feasible. Because without that, I think you’re getting a compromised experience at home and it further diminishes the value of DVD. But once they get that in the homes, which it looks like they’re doing, then I think if something that is well worth it is probably more viable and will be here for longer.
Do not adjust your glasses! It’s 3-D week at MTV News. All week long, we’re looking at the biggest and boldest upcoming movies set to reach out and grab you with the wonders of 3-D technology. We’ve got exclusive sneak peeks at “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows,” “Tron Legacy,” “Clash of the Titans” and many more.
Check out everything we’ve got on “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1.”
For breaking news, celebrity columns, humor and more — updated around the clock — visit MTVMoviesBlog.com.