Filmmaker Says Human Brain Not Suited for 3D

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Filmmaker Says Human Brain Not Suited for 3D

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A highly respected filmmaker with decades of experience isn't putting any faith in 3D movies, because they don't suit the human brain.

The 3D craze is already coming on strong in movie theaters, with many companies such as Sony and Nintendo trying to bring it to television and handheld gaming. According to film editor and sound designer Walter Murch, respected for his work on titles such as Apocalypse Now and The English Patient, those efforts are pointless.

Roger Ebert recently posted a letter on his blog that Murch sent him in response to the film critic's comments on 3D in a review of The Green Hornet. Murch's overall theme is that the human brain isn't meant to view 3D content as we know it.

Though he briefly talks about smaller conflicts with the human brain and 3D, Murch writes that the "convergence/focus issue" is the biggest problem. This issue has to do with the fact that when a person is watching a movie, his/her eyes are focused on a screen's plane which is always at the same distance. During a 3D film, a viewer's eyes must constantly re-converge at different distances depending on how the illusion of 3D is presenting itself.

"So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another," Murch said. "And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focused and converged at the same point."

Human beings might have the ability to focus and converge their vision at different distances, enabling 3D to work its magic, but Murch says this is like "tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time." It's unnatural, causing the brain to work overtime, resulting in a headache or eye strain. Murch doesn't believe there is a technical fix for this strain other than "true holographic images." He calls 3D "dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating, and expensive," and asks: "How long will it take people to realize and get fed up?"

Having played the 3DS I can say that I definitely felt like I was going through what Murch describes. I had an odd reaction when looking into the 3D game world because it was putting a strain on me to some extent. Murch's comments are obviously just one man's opinion, but he makes a lot of sense in my experience. Only when we have truly prolonged and widespread exposure to 3D will we know if there are inherent cerebral issues with it.

Source: Roger Ebert's Journal

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We should just skip right to that holographic images stuff. I want my holodeck damnit!

I know when I watched Avatar in 3D on the big screen, one of the first things that crossed my mind was how viewing it felt unnatural and awkward. However, after awhile I got mostly used to it and it is a rather long movie. Though a few times it did pull me out of the movie slightly as every now and then my eyes felt a little strained. I guess maybe they were the whole time but I just focused on the movie enough to forget about it most of the time.

That's exactly what was happening to me while watching Pirhana 3D. My friend got both headache and eyestrain. I only had a minor eyestrain.

Finally. This is why we get headaches. The Virtual Reality machines of the 80s did the same sort of thing; once you came off them, your eyes took a long time to cope back with reality.

I agree with what he said, and it's pretty annoying now that 3D movies are being spewed out right and left.

3D always feels unnatural. The guy is spot on with what he says about the image plane still being a set distance away. It creates a somewhat cool effect, but definitely is not going to be the end all of movies. I can't wait till the fad finally passes, then maybe we can start worrying about film content again versus how "neat" it looks on screen. I do kinda feel sorry for all the folks investing in a 3D television though, what a waste.

Walter Murch is the ultimate authority on the interaction between the human audience and the projected image. He literally wrote the book on film editing - a book that is basically standard issue for film students worldwide.

Not that I'm one to blindly follow, but if Walter Murch said it, you know that most self-respecting film editors will listen. His hypotheses on film, editing, and interaction have basically outlined the way films are constructed in the past few decades.

OT: Until 3-D movies are actually 3-D (holograms that you can walk around in your living room) I feel that this is likely to be a passing fad. Especially if our own brain wiring is against the idea.

I don't see the point of 3-D. No matter how much the objects "jup out at you", they're still constrained to a relatively small screen. It's like you're looking through a window, and although nothing on the other side of a window ever appears to be jumping out at us, we don't mind. Conventional cameras already have that one thing where they focus on what they want us to see, which is what our eyes do already. If we can only focus on one thing at a time anyway, then why do we need to worry about it being closer or further away from us, if it's already in focus?

I hate the way we seem to be losing the choice of what format we see it in i wanted to go see the green hornet but when the only cinema showing it in 2D is a two hour journey away by public transport i decided not to bother.

Interesting to see so many replies that agree. Usually you start seeing the "IF YOU DON'T LIKE 3D DON'T GO SEE IT AND THAT'S THAT CAUSE ITS THE FUTURE" by now.
The problem is, I don't like the 3d effect as described by Mr. Murch here, but I do love movies. Sure, the option to see it in 2d is there, but when movies are designed around 3d and you watch it in 2d, the integrity of the movie is compromised with scenes that are simply about things popping out at you, as if you were at a theme park instead of a cinema.

Everybody I know who gets a headache during 3D movies got a headache during 2D movies at cinemas anyway, usually put it down to the air-con.

The guy knows alot about film making, but not I bet a huge amount of medical knowledge or even 3D movie making experience.

Until some actual research is done this is all just conjecture.

TV an PC monitors also give eye strain to those unused to them, or use them to much.

TV and cinema are eye tricks on about the same level as this current 3D, and were both derided in similar fashion.

The human brain is capable of learning a hell of a lot visually, there are a number of professions that require advanced visual techniques.

Veloxe:
We should just skip right to that holographic images stuff. I want my holodeck damnit!

Look up vocaloid 3d concert...

We have the tech already...

Well, you CAN keep the strain at a minimum, by shooting and editing so that the subject is always at the same convergence distance, but that is horribly restrictive and results may depend on the viewer's position in the theatre.

I'm still getting steroscopic stuff, myself, when the wealthy, but disappointed pioneers begin to sell off their equipment cheaply. :9

Jabberwock xeno:

Veloxe:
We should just skip right to that holographic images stuff. I want my holodeck damnit!

Look up vocaloid 3d concert...

We have the tech already...

I repeat, I want my holodeck damnit. I know the tech is there, but actually getting it done is a different story. Just like we have the tech to send a man to mars, doesn't mean we are there yet.

Daaaah Whoosh:
I don't see the point of 3-D. No matter how much the objects "jup out at you", they're still constrained to a relatively small screen. It's like you're looking through a window, and although nothing on the other side of a window ever appears to be jumping out at us, we don't mind. Conventional cameras already have that one thing where they focus on what they want us to see, which is what our eyes do already. If we can only focus on one thing at a time anyway, then why do we need to worry about it being closer or further away from us, if it's already in focus?

Entirely missing the point of 3D, in fact almost entirely describing poor 3D film making techniques.

Jumping outs not it, it the added depth, and perspective that 3D adds thats the key, focus is also missing the point, the thing you are looking at is in focus, but if everything else is at the same depth but isn't in focus it makes things look, weird. This is got round by using camera perspective tricks and the brains amazing ability to allow itself into seeing what it should see.

The camera may not lie, but a 2D camera is an easy thing to fool.

Im starting to hope that 3D does cause some kind of eye problems with viewers. All it takes are a couple serious problems and people will start to dislike it, and filmmakers and developers will stay far away from it.

I always thought in movies that you didn't want any one element of the movie to jar you out of the experience, that it should be one seamless package that sucks you in until you forget that you are watching the movie and rather that you experience it. That's why movies go so detailed into their CG work, sound design, scripted lines, actors' inflection, etc. They don't want you to think "Well isn't that a fantastic special effect!" or "What a weird sound for a troll to make! I wonder if it was taken from a horse". They want you to think "Wasn't Gollumn cool?!" or "What a gripping battle!"

I feel like 3D is distracting because instead of focusing on making something seamless, movies like "Despicable Me" and "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and others have scenes in them that are just made to make you freak out that things are moving and coming at you. It just breaks your mental state with the movie.

How can people "realize" that they're actually having trouble enjoying a movie? If people are enjoying 3D movies, let them enjoy them, whether you can think of scientific reason to support their enjoyment or not.

Veloxe:

Jabberwock xeno:

Veloxe:
We should just skip right to that holographic images stuff. I want my holodeck damnit!

Look up vocaloid 3d concert...

We have the tech already...

I repeat, I want my holodeck damnit. I know the tech is there, but actually getting it done is a different story. Just like we have the tech to send a man to mars, doesn't mean we are there yet.

Right, but let's face it, we have the tech to raise our lifespans twofold, have flying cars, and make world peice.

The issue is that we get lazy, people start acting like dicks, or just act stupid and it hinders it.

As someone who gets chronic headaches, 3D movies don't bother me.
The problem with having this fad pass is that producers and some inventors would just take it as the public passing on 3D and not this version of 3D. However, if too many people keep this 3D going, then the innovation will be limited because the public is so enthralled with this idea. You can't win.

Well I know that those red and green/blue glasses are not used so much anymore, but that was my first experience...and booooy...after 10 minutes I got a massive headache.I can see how passing to one colour 3D galsses solved one of the problems, but I still feel like my eyes are in overdrive when watching a 3D movie nowdays :(
I for one support the man's idea.Holographic images should be the way to a true 3D experience.

I seem to remember that there IS a way to shoot films so that the ENTIRE screen is in focus. Not sure what it's called, but I do know they used it to shoot Citizen Kane. Strangle that they can't seem to adapt that for 3D. I know they don't use it on regular 2D films very often because they want to draw your attention to specific things on the screen.

Jabberwock xeno:

Veloxe:

Jabberwock xeno:

Look up vocaloid 3d concert...

We have the tech already...

I repeat, I want my holodeck damnit. I know the tech is there, but actually getting it done is a different story. Just like we have the tech to send a man to mars, doesn't mean we are there yet.

Right, but let's face it, we have the tech to raise our lifespans twofold, have flying cars, and make world peice.

The issue is that we get lazy, people start acting like dicks, or just act stupid and it hinders it.

I don't think technology will give us world peace.

Isn't Real Life 3-D?

Yeah I know, I'm being facetious. That hologram idea sounds cool though.

Danny Ocean:
Isn't Real Life 3-D?

Yeah I know, I'm being facetious. That hologram idea sounds cool though.

didn't read the article did you?

Also have experienced a similar issue watching a movie in 3d before. Had a really bad headache.

Numachuka:

Jabberwock xeno:

Veloxe:

I repeat, I want my holodeck damnit. I know the tech is there, but actually getting it done is a different story. Just like we have the tech to send a man to mars, doesn't mean we are there yet.

Right, but let's face it, we have the tech to raise our lifespans twofold, have flying cars, and make world peice.

The issue is that we get lazy, people start acting like dicks, or just act stupid and it hinders it.

I don't think technology will give us world peace.

he said world peice or actually piece which means technology will break world into pieces destroying us all.

I don't personally anyone who genuinely likes or prefers '3D' movies. Any time my friends and I go to see one, it's because the 2D version isn't being shown. Which is really just equivalent to bending over so the the movie studios can fuck the extra five bucks out of us, when you think about it. But what are ya gonna do?

Answer: complain to the internet!

"So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another,"

I'm no optometrist, but this quote strikes me as incorrect. The fact that all the images are actually on the same plane on a 3d display seems to be irrelevent since our brain interprets it in the same way it has for thousands of years....

It seems to me that these complaints can be applied to a theatre performance. Unless someone can explain how looking at a 3d display is any different than looking out a window for your eyes and brain, I'm all ears.

The only movie I saw in 3D was Jackass 3D, and it was extremely hard to focus on the screen.

It might have been because I was blazed, but the 3D didn't help.

blue spartan 11:
That's exactly what was happening to me while watching Pirhana 3D. My friend got both headache and eyestrain. I only had a minor eyestrain.

Yeah I have seen a few now (Pirhana was my first though) and I left with eyestrain every time. I will never invest in a 3D tv or anything like that. Thats for sure.

I've never had this problem. I've never gotten a headache from 3d, I've never gotten bad eyestrain from 3d (other than just from watching a screen, which happens anyway!)

I enjoy my 3d, and I hope Roger Ebert realizes this problem doesn't affect all of us.

Electrogecko:

...It seems to me that these complaints can be applied to a theatre performance. Unless someone can explain how looking at a 3d display is any different than looking out a window for your eyes and brain, I'm all ears.

The actual display is still 2D and its distance from you is fixed. Due to the stereoscopic offsets, however, an object may appear at another distance to you and if your attention goes to that object, your eyes (lenses) will try to refocus to that distance, to a spot at which there is, of course, nothing but thin air.

I agree with what this guy is saying, but a bigger issue I find is that 3d films just don't look better than 2d. Surely this is enough reason on its own not to invest in them.

They need to hurry up and figure out how to make virtual reality work, or how to beam images right into our heads, so all this 3D bullshit goes away. I've not liked it from the start, and I still don't like it.

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