Why 3-D Films Don’t Work

Oscar winning film editor Walter Murch wrote film critic Roger Ebert about the problems with 3D. Ebert, who isn’t fond of the recent 3D upsurge, posted the email on his blog for all to see.

Seattle Post Intelligencer quotes Murch:

“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.”

While I agree that not everything should be in 3D -especially for the films that are not intended for it- and Murch raises good bullet points, I don’t look down on it at all. As for those folks who will have disorientation, that’s understandable.

But each filmmaker-and editor- is different. Some use these tools, some won’t. Each has reasons. Nobody is twisting anyone’s arm to make everything 3D. WE hear about such suggestions, but we also hear a yes or a no. I wonder how many film editors who disagree with Murch and Ebert get thier emails mentioned on Ebert’s blog.

What say you?

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About Darren

"Revenge is sweet and not fattening." Alfred Hitchcock

9 thoughts on “Why 3-D Films Don’t Work

  1. Hmmm, much like everyone else I dont hate 3D but for most movies its useless and drives ticket costs up. Personally, I find the cheap/cheesy 3D glasses they hand out at the theater very uncomfortable and dont feel the need to purchase a high quality set to just watch a movie.

    The wearing of the 3D glasses is mostly the deal breaker for me. Find a way to rid the need of the glasses and I would be on board.

    I wore the glasses for Avatar and was happy about that. I watched How to Train your Dragon in 2D and was ok without them.

  2. I don’t hate 3D, but so many films don’t use it effectively. The only movies I’ve seen done right w/ 3D are HTTYD and Avatar. Of course my opinion may change when Drive Angry 3D comes out. LoL

  3. I do not dislike 3D on its face but I kind of disagree with your affirmation that “nobody is twisting anyone’s arm to make everything 3D”. I think that the economic pull of 3D coupled with the obvious economic drive of the studios (which I do not condemn, of course, after all this is business) is indeed twisting everybody’s arms to shoot in 3D or to post-convert to 3D.

    1. There are more films being shot without 3D than with. The big studios are hedging their bets by offering their tentpoles in 3D, but its hardly the majority of films out there.

      No one is forcing them to make Mean Girls 2 in 3D.

  4. I personally love 3D. Understanding of the parallax and convergence used in 3D content (gaming or movie) will make the difference between a crappy or an amazing experience. For instance, Avatar had the parallax set fairly moderate (about 3/10) for the most part. StepUp3D had the parallax set around 3/10 for the drama scenes and ramped it up for some of the unique dance moments. If you don’t know what parallax is, it is the level of effect used for 3D depth. 10/10 = gimmicky, 3/10 = subtle and effective for general viewing. The convergence is where the bi-focal point is focused – you know, the two eyes used on a camera like your own eyes. If you try to focus on anything not focussed on by the camera, thats when you’ll experience disorientation. Its like trying to focus on your peripheral vision (its a paradox and goes against reality). If you understand these principals your 3D experience can be amazing.
    Hope this helps.
    P.S. Do your research before going to a 3D movie. If its post convert (tack on 3D) don’t go and see it. The worst post convert 3D film to date in my opinion is Clash of the Titans. Just saying.

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