Originally Posted by Flaneur
Whose eye's physiology? Mine works just fine.
Directors who don't think 3D is a gimmick so far: Martin Scorcese, Ang Lee, Wim Wenders, Werner Herzog.
I don't see how any company could offer a 4K television today that wasn't 3D capable. The glasses-free part is questionable, though.
If you have trouble watching 3D movies, there are two possibilities: 1) you are going to bad movies, and there are plenty out there, or 2) you have some imbalance in the vision of your two eyes, a fairly common condition.
There are optometrists who specialize in stereo vision problems. You can search the COVD list to see if any are around you:
By "physiology" I think he's alluding to the fact that while we can simulate three dimensions by delivering a different image to each eye, what we can't "fix" is the fact that the eye handles depth by focusing and refocusing. Regardless of how good the illusion is, it is still being shown on a flat surface, which means the eye will always be in some manner of conflict with the image ("conflict" might be too strong a word...just couldn't think of something more appropriate...maybe "slight tussle"?). When my eye perceives something in the foreground and then shifts focus to the foreground, the shape of my lens changes to bring that into focus. On a TV, no matter how good the technology is, you're still tricking the eye...the eye wants to change the shape of the lens but then discovers it doesn't need to. Yet this happens constantly. As long as "3D" technology isn't a hologram with real depth, there will always be this issue that causes some manner of eye strain.
I owned a Samnsung 3D TV for about a week and never completely got used to it. I thought playing 3D games was really cool...but I'd come away from it after an hour or so feeling worn...not relaxed.
I agree with him in the sense that I "think" 3D is a gimmick and will never be fully embraced, but I could very well be wrong. There is a second reason I think this, though...it's food for thought, and not necessarily "right," but when I combine it with my experience with 3D thus far, it's compelling enough to swing me to that opinion....
The purpose of 3D is to enhance the physiological experience of "being there." There's a problem with this, in terms of telling a story...or perhaps the types of stories we're used to telling. If I tell somebody about my day, I can summarize the conceptual details for maximum dramatic content. I can even show you a movie I made of my day, edited to show you the VITAL information (the relevant dramatic conflict in a movie that makes each scene relevant). But if I start distracting you with frivolous details, your attention is drawn AWAY from the story and towards those frivolous details. It's similar to watching an extremely high definition movie after you've seen the same movie in in standard or just a 720p TV - the video is so clear that your brain becomes distracted by visual detail...and you can't focus as much on the story. An extreme example would be if I said, "and then he shook her...like THIS!"...and then I shook the hell out of you. Are you immersed in the story, or did I just rattle the hell out of you? The example is extreme to make the point more obvious...for many people (a majority, I'd argue), 3D does exactly this. If I'm "there," I'm focused less on the story and more on the physiological experience of the movie. It's the same reason why it's easier to get a handle on what happened during a busy day once we're at the end of it and looking at it in retrospect. While 3d might be great for making us "feel we're there," the goal of a movie is to "tell a story." It's one thing if the story you want to tell is, "what it's actually like in this one spot," but you run into the same story telling problems using 3D as you'd run into if you're trying to tell somebody about your favorite vacation at an amusement park WHILE they're standing next to an incredibly loud roller coaster ride. They can't focus on what you're saying because "oh, I smell cotton candy! oh! what's that? oh! that guy almost ran into me!" Are these valid experiences to have? Of course. But the story you want to tell will be drowned out by it.
I think 3D is fantastic when the story IS the experience of being there...Wildlife shows, video games (I'd love an fully immersive fallout sequel), but I don't think a 2 hour story can be efficiently told when the senses are being bombarded. I think this is similar to why reading a thirty page short story in less than an hour will deliver more story, and a better one, than attempting to tell the same story on location in the same amount of time. There's too much information that is not pertinent to the story. For me, the most quick and dirty summation is this: when I watch Hulk smash Loki, I don't care about "being there," but rather "THAT" he smashed him and I saw what that looked like. A story is about dramatic conflict. In 3D, just as in real life, "being there" does more to obscure the story than it does illuminate it. I think "being there" is more conducive to analysis of particulars in science or when you actually want to simulate a specific experience.
I know that was a mouthful. I think that is generally why many people have a hard time with 3D. I'll fully admit that there might be developments that overcome these perceived limitations, but to the best of my knowledge and ability, I still DO perceive these limitations. I love 3D...but I don't think Scoresese's "Hugo" is an example of a story that was told "better" because it had 3D. In fact, I think it would have benefitted from more dramatic conflict and less swirling camera chases. The same is true of Avatar. Well told stories make me feel more "there" than 3D. The 3D simply reminds me that I'm watching a movie and NOT actually there. It's the conceptual content, the dramatic conflict, that occupies the brain and allows you to forget where you "are".
Story is dramatic conflict...not arbitrary physiological details. Should we make movies like Schindlers List into 3D? Why is it that many people feel that would cheapen the story? Because the story is already told...showing us 3D images doesn't increase empathy or understanding of the conflict involved. It IS just a gimmick unless the point of the effect IS the effect. I'd love to see nature shows in 3D, or play video games...but neither of these is about telling a story. What makes me feel the story is the emotional content...ask yourself this: does a person with one eye experience a Scorsese movie, or Schindler's List, or Batman Begins, an an *emotionally* different way? Is he immersed...less? I don't need physiological experiences to understand a story. In fact, they distract. I already know what being punched feels like, what being passed by a car very closely feels like, what falling feels like...I don't need it simulated with 3D....what I need are good writers and good actors.
I want to see where the tech goes, but I have yet to see anyone objectively explain to me how a story was better told by using 3D.
Edit: Also, I wouldn't assume that greater directors have the final word on whether 3D is a good medium...Directors are craftsmen...they don't necessarily have degrees in Psychology, Biology, or anything that would make them an expert on how the human brain conceptually deals with stories. I'm not saying they don't know anything...but I'm not going to assume that just because I can't direct a movie and Scorsese can, that means he knows more than me about the philosophy and psychology of why story telling works and how it does.
Edited by Sol77 - 3/27/13 at 5:06am