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Roger Ebert: 3D movies suck


Roger Ebert hates 3D movies as much as I do. For me, 3D causes a headache, always means that part of the screen is blurred, makes movies too dark, and the magic of 3D quickly fades away as the brain becomes accustomed to it. Ebert received a letter from Oscar-winning editor/sound designer Walter Murch, who worked on Apocalypse Now and Captain EO, which describes in technical terms why 3D movies are such a pain in the eyes (and the ass) to watch…3d movie

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.

If we look at the salt shaker on the table, close to us, we focus at six feet and our eyeballs converge (tilt in) at six feet. Imagine the base of a triangle between your eyes and the apex of the triangle resting on the thing you are looking at. But then look out the window and you focus at sixty feet and converge also at sixty feet. That imaginary triangle has now “opened up” so that your lines of sight are almost — almost — parallel to each other.


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