Martin Scorsese, Ang Lee champion 3D at CinemaCon

Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee have both made 3D movies, but the esteemed directors offered different perspectives on the burgeoning film technology at a panel discussion in Las Vegas.

Hugo director wants all future films to be 3D, Ang Lee more cautious about technology

Directors Martin Scorsese, left, and Ang Lee speak about 3D technology on Wednesday at a filmmakers forum in Las Vegas during CinemaCon, the official convention of the National Association of Theatre Owners. (Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Martin Scorsese and Ang Lee have both made 3D movies, but the esteemed directors offered different perspectives on the burgeoning film technology at a panel discussion this week in Las Vegas.

Scorsese has fallen in love with 3D, telling an audience at the CinemaCon theatre owners convention on Wednesday that he expects to use the technology in all his future projects and wishes some of his classics — like Raging Bull and Taxi Driver —could have been filmed using the technology.

The U.S. director raved about his experiences filming the Oscar-winning Hugothe 3D adventure tale based on the children's novel The Invention of Hugo Cabret and a loving homage to the early days of cinema.

"I would have practically done all my films in 3D," Scorsese declared.

"It's like seeing a moving sculpture of the actor and it's almost like a combination of theatre and film ... it immerses you in the story more," Scorsese said.

Lee, whose wide-ranging oeuvre includes Brokeback Mountain, Sense and Sensibility, Hulk, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and The Ice Storm, was more reserved and cautious, saying he found the new technology daunting. Lee's upcoming 3D film Life of Pi is based on Canadian Yann Martel's acclaimed novel and is slated for release in December.

"I had the opposite experience. I was very intimidated," Lee told the audience. "We're still novices at this. It's hard to shoot in 3D, but it makes it more interesting. The experience is more intense."

The Taiwanese filmmaker described working with the imposing 3D cameras to "operating in a refrigerator," but acknowledged that he found it "new and exciting."

He also cautioned that using 3D requires everyone on set — even entry-level crew members — to reimagine their notion of filmmaking. "The technology improves so fast — like every three months you are behind," Lee said.

"The learning curve is really humongous."

Both film auteurs acknowledged and lamented that the cost of 3D filmmaking makes it inaccessible to low-budget and independent filmmakers so far.

Still, Scorsese — known for his devotion to film restoration and preservation — likened the rise of 3D to the switch from black-and-white to colour films. He also urged theatre owners to continue investing in digital projectors to showcase the new technology.

"This is a new era coming. We have to keep up with it."

With files from The Associated Press