StereoScopic 3D Doesn't Work!

StereoScopic 3D Doesn't Work!

So when an academy awarded influential film editor like Walter Murch makes very detrimental comments about 3D stereo some people should take a long hard look at it. What does 3D really add to the whole film experience except expense and a headache? You can find his comments here - all of which are very observant and true.

My own experiences tell me that, yes I can converge the image but I do suffer a headache after a long period of time. I'm sure that I could adapt and learn to deal with it. i suppose it could be like flexing a brain muscle, and with a bit of practice it would improve. But the real question is: should I need to?

My major gripe is the blurry focus in parts of the image where I want to look but am forced not too - especially in the converged camera pipeline. Yes the director wants you to focus on the part he wants, but often i want to look around the scene especially in a film like Avatar as it is so rich in content. The darkness issue I am sure can be resolved, but the strobing and slowing of the edit so the brain can compute the effect is something that will be hard to fix.

The 3D effect is not a natural one with the glasses cutting out your peripheral vision considerably. Your brain is receiving conflicting inputs which not natural. I think we definitely need to lose the glasses, but lets hope we can come up with a better solution than this.

2 Comments Lee Danskin

Posted by
Lee Danskin
Thu 27 Jan 2011: 12:32pm

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  • Nestor Prado:

    I think the main problem in today's use of stereoscopic 3D for storytelling is that it’s not used as a new mechanism to make the story better. It is still used like in 2D movies but only to enhance some parts of the storytelling. There hasn’t been a 3D movie yet that has been designed entirely for 3D with any 2D convention.

    For example one of the most painful things in watching a 3D movie is looking at out-of-focus bits of footage... Well, depth-of-field in a well thought-of and well designed 3D movie shouldn’t be used. Some new stylistic resources should be created to emphasise what normally is emphasised in a 2D image with the simple use of depth-of-field. A stereoscopic image should be clear so our brain can focus on any part of the image naturally and with out pain. There are a lot of things that make painful 3D so that has to be the primer goal to eliminate from today's 3D film making and focus on finding new solutions.

    In TRON: legacy, half of the movie is in 2D because 3D wouldn’t add anything to it and because it emphasises the 3D environment of the grid. So that is one way to go... I think... Use it when it is necessary. But as I said what is more important is to use things that work in stereoscopic imaging and discard thinks that don’t. A change of mentality from 2D movie-making has to be done if 3D is “the way to go” (which is hard to say now a days with all the debate going on). It has to be thought of as a new art to conquer and discover for great storytelling.

    The little knowledge I have about stereoscopic 3D is from “The VES Handbook of Visual Effects:
    Industry Standard VFX Practices and Procedures” from 2010 (which is a great Bible for anyone who loves VFX by the way). In Chapter 5 it explains everything about stereoscopic 3D and also talks about avoiding painful 3D and how to achieve this. From a technical point of view but what I think is more important, from an aesthetic point of view.

    As a side note: I have also seen the green hornet and I didn’t notice any problem or had any headache afterwards but maybe it’s just me. Having read Walter Murch’s letter I would have to see it again to pay more attention to this things and have a better opinion on this.

    So in conclusion I don’t know if 3D “will never work” I just think that it still needs to be thought of in a new way to enhance storytelling and use it correctly.

    Well I hope I made some sense even-though I know almost nothing about stereoscopic 3D...

    P.S: I also think that 3D glasses have to go!


    Nestor Prado

  • Mike Myers:

    I've created stereo video with left and right eye channel info placed into the interlacing of standard video. Using a pair of "i-glasses" (not apple) which had separate mini screens for each eye it would present it correctly albeit at half veritcal resolution. It was smooth playing and easy on the eyes.

    I believe Apple has registered "igames" back in Feb of last year. Consider now the iphone technology that exists currently: retina display technology for ultra, high-resolution screens, even potentially ones that wrap and encompass more of your peripheral vision, mini gyros to track head position, blue-tooth for wireless connection. I foresee a new version of 3D glasses in the near future capable of full 3D especially for gaming, 3D movies and standard 2D movies. Watching a typical high-def movie on these would give the viewer the same experience as sitting in front of an 80" TV from 8 feet away. Obviously, this wouldn't be for everyone but I think there will be some interesting things showing up. Incredible 3D content and talent will be needed to fill those mini-screens. :)

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