Why 3D Won't Work, by Walter MurchComplications Ensue
Complications Ensue:
The Crafty Screenwriting, TV and Game Writing Blog


April 2004

May 2004

June 2004

July 2004

August 2004

September 2004

October 2004

November 2004

December 2004

January 2005

February 2005

March 2005

April 2005

May 2005

June 2005

July 2005

August 2005

September 2005

October 2005

November 2005

December 2005

January 2006

February 2006

March 2006

April 2006

May 2006

June 2006

July 2006

August 2006

September 2006

October 2006

November 2006

December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2007

December 2007

January 2008

February 2008

March 2008

April 2008

May 2008

June 2008

July 2008

August 2008

September 2008

October 2008

November 2008

December 2008

January 2009

February 2009

March 2009

April 2009

May 2009

June 2009

July 2009

August 2009

September 2009

October 2009

November 2009

December 2009

January 2010

February 2010

March 2010

April 2010

May 2010

June 2010

July 2010

August 2010

September 2010

October 2010

November 2010

December 2010

January 2011

February 2011

March 2011

April 2011

May 2011

June 2011

July 2011

August 2011

September 2011

October 2011

November 2011

December 2011

January 2012

February 2012

March 2012

April 2012

May 2012

June 2012

July 2012

August 2012

September 2012

October 2012

November 2012

December 2012

January 2013

February 2013

March 2013

April 2013

May 2013

June 2013

July 2013

August 2013

September 2013

October 2013

November 2013

December 2013

January 2014

February 2014

March 2014

April 2014

May 2014

June 2014

July 2014

August 2014

September 2014

October 2014

November 2014

December 2014

January 2015

February 2015

March 2015

April 2015

May 2015

June 2015

August 2015

September 2015

October 2015

November 2015

December 2015

January 2016

February 2016

March 2016

April 2016

May 2016

June 2016

July 2016

August 2016

September 2016

October 2016

November 2016

December 2016

January 2017

February 2017

March 2017

May 2017

June 2017

July 2017

August 2017

September 2017

October 2017

November 2017

December 2017

January 2018

March 2018

April 2018

June 2018

July 2018

October 2018

November 2018

December 2018

January 2019

February 2019

November 2019

February 2020

March 2020

April 2020

May 2020

August 2020

September 2020

October 2020

December 2020

January 2021

February 2021

March 2021

May 2021

June 2021

November 2021

December 2021

January 2022

February 2022


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Roger Ebert explains why top editor Walter Murch thinks 3D will never work -- will always be a big headache.
The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the "convergence/focus" issue. A couple of the other issues -- darkness and "smallness" -- are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen -- say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what.

But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point....

We can do this. 3D films would not work if we couldn't. But it is like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time: difficult. So the "CPU" of our perceptual brain has to work extra hard, which is why after 20 minutes or so many people get headaches. They are doing something that 600 million years of evolution never prepared them for. This is a deep problem, which no amount of technical tweaking can fix. Nothing will fix it short of producing true "holographic" images.
Now you know. Studios, just cut it out, okay?



Just don't do it for longform entertainment - anything over 20 minutes...

Which leads to an opportunity for theaters to screen shorts again and give the consumer more value for their money. It would be fun to see cartoons and serials at the theater again, and I'm sure would attract a broad audience.

$12 is a LOT to pay for tickets (not to mention Concession stand prices) so theaters should be pulling out all the stops to create 'events' at their locations. 3D is one way to do it - but yes, don't give the consumer a headache, give them more value for their money.

By Blogger Cunningham, at 2:41 PM  

I've never gotten a headache from watching 3D, but my wife doesn't really like watching 3D for that reason. Of course, I also don't really care about watching something 3D if I've got a choice. I'd rather watch something good, quite frankly, whether it's 3D or not. The fact that a movie is 3D will not make me watch it over if it was not.

By Blogger Tim W., at 5:45 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

By Blogger geoff, at 2:01 AM  

While I'm not a huge fan of 3-D and Walter Murch is a GOD!

3D convergence is something that can be taken into account during filming.

Murch is talking about traditional 3D practices where the angle between the cameras never change. In this case, Murch is dead on.

A lot of the technique James Cameron developed for shooting 3D was actually attempting to change the angle of the cameras in relation to one another and the depth of the shot.

It's a technique that actually compensates for convergence by working more like the eye.

It also applies more to objects in the foreground and closeups. Things at a great distance tend to look flat to the human eye anyway. There isn't much strain on the brain's part to put those two images together. However, objects in the foreground have a greater problem with convergence.

That said -- 3D really is a gimmick. And one I don't particularly enjoy.

I watched AVATAR the other day on HBO and was blown away by the detail. A lot of that detail I missed watching it in the theater in 3D.

By Blogger James, at 2:36 PM  

I am an SF fan and sometime video game widow. I've been worried that, due to my spouse's tastes, I'd be sitting through a lot of 3D in the future.

After Tron, I was so relieved to hear he is done with it.

By Blogger tnt, at 7:12 PM  

The brain is amazingly adaptable. In 1896 (and again recently, although I can't find it) an experiment was conducted where lenses inverted the image. After a couple of days the subject was able to interact with the world like normal and the brain adapted to the inverted state. http://www.cns.nyu.edu/~nava/courses/psych_and_brain/pdfs/Stratton_1896.pdf

Whether it's worth undergoing that adaptation just for 3D movies is a completely different issue. Watching 3D golf tends to hurt my eyes and/or brain because the focal distances are so great. 3D is a neat effect but I know I'm watching it and don't feel as immersed as 2D.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:49 AM  

I forgot to finish my thought; Golf is sometimes hard to watch in 3D, but I have a better sense of where the ball is in relation to the cup, which is quite handy. The same goes for hockey, it's easier to tell where the puck is (on the ice or flying? In front of or behind people?)

By Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:04 AM  

I get motion sickness all the time but 3D doesn't seem to bother me! Avatar in 3D was the most amazing experience I have to say... http://awritersconnection.blogspot.com/

By Blogger Zak, at 12:28 PM  

I usually just skip the 3D and see it in 2D. I find the 3D effects are a distraction and pull me out of the story (if there is one).

I think 3D has more potential in gaming than it does for film because depth perception will actually help gameplay because you'll be more immersed in the environment, so my hunch is that's where it will thrive. But when it comes to film and television, I'll just skip it.

By Blogger Kody¬†Chamberlain, at 8:54 AM  

Post a Comment

Back to Complications Ensue main blog page.

This page is powered by Blogger.