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Filmmaker Says Human Brain Not Suited for 3D

| 24 Jan 2011 19:01
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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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