If a picture’s worth a thousand words, then video is worth at least 24 pictures each second, based on the standard frame rate for moving images. Any video marketer worth their salt knows how to make every second of film count, but with audiences bombarded by more and more video content online, from website sidebars to in-app banner ads, tools that bring a new dimension to this increasingly ubiquitous medium are worthy of serious consideration.

One such tool is 3D.

It’s all in your Head

The most commonly-used method of making 2D images pop from the screen or page is called stereoscopic 3D, and the beauty of it is that the real magic happens inside our heads.

It takes advantage of the small distance between our eyes, which means that when we look at an object we are in reality viewing two slightly different images at the same time. (Observe something close-up and alternately close one eye, then the other to see this in action.) Our brains meld the two images, enabling us to perceive depth.

In stereoscopic 3D films, the illusion of depth is created by displaying two images – one for each eye – on a single screen. Special glasses filter one image into the left eye and the other into the right, and a neat bit of cerebral trickery means we interpret the two images as a single three-dimensional object.

No Longer a Fad

3D is almost as old as film-making itself – early stereoscopy pioneers were toying with it in the 1890s. Since then, the film, advertising and publishing industries have flirted with the medium over the years, but it was only in 2009 that a cinematic 3D resurgence was cemented with James Cameron’s ground-breaking feature Avatar.

Savvy video marketers were quick to realise the potential of stereoscopic 3D for enhanced audience engagement. No longer the prevail of big-budget studios and animation houses shooting summer blockbusters, 3D can be employed by businesses for a far more modest budget. The trick is in knowing when to deploy it.

3D or not 3D

Any video marketing campaign trading solely on gimmickry is bound to fall flat, no matter how far an image appears to leap from the screen. You can have all the latest advances in stereoscopic 3D filming at your disposal, but if your tech and toil fail to deliver your brand message and meet business objectives, your chosen medium will look out of place at best and a desperate attempt to impress potential customers at worst.

That’s not to say 3D techniques aren’t incredibly effective in the right hands.

Eye-popping campaigns for everything from cereal to diamonds have utilised 3D to draw in their audience. Huge, global brands with a reputation for bluster and spectacle use it to add a showmanship dimension to their marketing. Fashion giant Hugo Boss brought stereoscopic 3D to the luxury goods market with a massive, multi-platform digital campaign. Irish Whiskey maker Jameson used 3D video ads on Facebook and Instagram for the first time this year.

In the more technical B2B areas of the tech and engineering sectors there are clear applications as well, with 3D being used to help explain and bring to life complex systems or machinery. Bristol based video production company Hurricane Media employed stereo 3D in a promo film for global recycling technology company CPME, using display screens to cut through and connect with the audience in a crowded event and exhibition space.

Heightened Audience Interactivity

Regardless of whether you’re trying to inform or entertain, heightened audience interactivity is a key feature. The very nature of the 3D format means cuts are longer, with more on-screen interest to seduce the eye and pull in the viewer. Marketing campaigns can be supplemented with mail-outs of branded 3D glasses. Films themselves can even elicit a physical response as viewers reach out to ‘touch’ them – or recoil in shock at images bursting from the screen.

As Hurricane’s creative director, John Lanyon, explained: ‘3D is an effective way of attracting and maintaining customers at an exhibition stand. Once audiences are wearing 3D glasses they are more than likely to stay until the end of the film.’

With everything from TVs to laptops to smartphones capable of displaying stereoscopic 3D content, and forecasters predicting the global market in 3D displays to top £125 billion within the next five years, it’s safe to say the tech is here for good.

Whether it’s via cinema, televisions, smartphones or desktop monitors, the delivery vehicle for your 3D promo exists and is improving all the time. It’s up to you how you use it.


Thanks to Hurricane media for this great article