Avatars and Mad Hatters are already performing before American audiences in 3-D, and Shrek is coming soon. Now, a national Catholic television network is throwing priests into the mix.
CatholicTV debuted 3-D programs Tuesday in an effort to reach younger people and to make the faith message more vivid. The network posted several 3-D shows on the Internet, released its monthly magazine in 3-D — complete with glasses — and said it will eventually broadcast some programs in 3-D.
CatholicTV’s director, the Rev. Robert Reed, said he’d been planning to introduce 3-D well before the success of James Cameron’s movie “Avatar” or the 3-D “Alice in Wonderland.”
“It’s a way for us to show that we believe the message we have is relevant, and we’re going to use every possible avenue to bring that message to people,” said Reed, whose network reaches 5 million to 6 million homes nationwide through various cable providers.
Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University, applauded CatholicTV for taking a risk with technology to attract a broader, younger audience. Evangelical Christians are typically far more adept at that outreach, he said.
But if the 3-D shows aren’t compelling, he said, it could backfire by reinforcing the notion that the Catholic Church is out of touch.
“In some ways, it’s better to look like retro 2-D than bad 3-D,” he said. “Hip is a moving target. James Cameron is up more on that than Pope Benedict.”
CatholicTV, based in Watertown, Mass., is jumping into 3-D in a year when an unprecedented 19 3-D movies are scheduled for release, including the latest Shrek sequel. This month, 3-D went small screen when Samsung and Panasonic began selling their first 3-D television sets for about $3,000 each.
“It’s just a hot technology,” Reed said. “So I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t use it for the purpose of connecting with younger people.”
Most of the shows the network converted to 3-D had already aired, and its priority was to expose viewers to its range of offerings rather than to elicit any sort of “wow” factor.
“I just think that 3-D enhances and accentuates the good work here that is being done,” Reed said.
Check out the rest at the link. And you can visit Catholic TV’s 3-D link to sample the programming.