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Secret immunity to 3D movies


Having two eyes won't necessarily lead to dropped jaws when watching the new wave of 3D movies...

Don't necessarily blame yourself if you're not impressed with the 3D...

“Please put your 3D glasses on now” appears on the screen; I wonder if one day seeing these words will be as commonplace as the film piracy or mobile phone notices. Perhaps in the not too-distant future ordering 3D prescription glasses will be commonplace as the world specs up for a relaxing night at home in front of the box. After years of trying to see magic eye or autostereograms, I finally gave up, but I am still not quite ready to call it quits on 3D films.

I remember the first wave of 3D – all those fold-out cardboard 3D glasses that came free in cereal packets. I can envisage wearing the glasses, folding the flaps around my ears and looking through the green and red plastic but somehow can’t actually remember watching anything.

"I was left wondering if watching your first 3D film is like losing your virginity – somehow less painful or pleasurable than you’d ever imagined"

Being pretty skeptical about the whole film and not particularly convinced by the trailers, I confess I didn’t bother watching Avatar in 3D – after all, I was only really seeing it to know what the hype was about and to avoid feeling left-out of conversations. Alice in Wonderland was a whole different matter and although I enjoyed the film, I wasn’t wowed by the 3D and, having heard the opinions of friends, I was left wondering if watching your first 3D film is like losing your virginity – somehow less painful or pleasurable than you’d ever imagined.

Over the last month, in various conversations, I have heard a whole array of theories about 3D – some using the Emperor’s Clothes story analogy and others believing certain cinemas might show a different quality of 3D. As it’s the thing of the future, becoming more and more widespread and I loved the original Clash of the Titans, I decided to give it another go.

Desperate to be a part of this 3D world, I feel like there’s a breakthrough during the Panasonic advert and after a painful sit through the Legend of the Guardians trailer, listening once again to the irritating heroic voice-over accompanied by feel good metal, announcing “You too could be a great guardian one day” followed by a choir of children singing, I’m ready to vomit or witness some butt-kicking.

Clash of the Titans 3D was more of an after-thought, jumping on the Avatar band-wagon in an attempt to replicate its success. Although Clash of the Titans didn’t cut it by equalling my nostalgic love of the original, its nonsense cliché-ridden script, ceaseless bombardment of macho-drenched action fight sequences and occasional successful use of special effects, make it a flawed but entertaining one hour forty-six.

"At least 12% of people have some type of problem with their binocular vision but less than five percent have severe visual disabilities, making appreciation of 3D tricky or impossible"

As for the 3D…what 3D? I tried to kid myself into believing it all looked so much crisper than any other film but in reality with my miserable aptly-named lazy eye and other overused, now short-sighted “good” eye, without further advances in medicine or a new brain, nothing will ever appear focused, with or without glasses. I may as well ditch the discomfort of wearing over-sized plastic 3D specs over the top of my second eyes and avoid the extra cost of going 3D.

To get the benefit of 3D and have normal depth perception, stereovision (otherwise known as binocular vision) is needed with two eyes that work together simultaneously as a coordinated team. At least 12% of people have some type of problem with their binocular vision but less than five percent have severe visual disabilities, making appreciation of 3D tricky or impossible.

I am part of this privileged five percent - this group of unfortunates who aren’t blind but have lost an eye or are medically diagnosed with amblyopia (“lazy eye”) or strabismus ("crossed eyes" or "wandering eyes"). As a child I was forced to wear a flesh coloured patch over my then “good” eye in order to try and force the lazy one to get on with it but being more of a fan of witches than pirates, the patch didn’t cut it and regularly “went missing”. Children with poor or dysfunctional eyesight during this critical period in childhood may grow up 'stereo blind' with permanent damage if their brains are not stimulated by stereo images during this crucial time – I am a living example of one such child.

"If anyone else out there, like I did, suspects 3D is a giant con then perhaps a trip to the optometrist is due"

For the 12%, two-eyed vision can be improved with supervised vision therapy. If anyone else out there, like I did, suspects 3D is a giant con then perhaps a trip to the optometrist is due. Developmental or behavioral optometrists can test and treat stereo vision. Age is no deterrent in treating the problem as the eye is made of neural tissue growing from the brain and thankfully the brain's amazing ability to change at any age enables vision to also change. That is if you are one of the semi-lucky 12%... As far as I’m concerned, from now on at least, I have the peace of mind to stop torturing myself over my inability to appreciate 3D, and will no longer experience the discomfort of being doubly specy six eyes.


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#1 Guest 2010-04-12 16:14
Alice was a post-processed 3D movie, as was Clash of the Titans. Alice was a weak demonstration of 3D movie making, since the scenes were not filmed with 3D in mind (and the post processing is weak in general).

Avatar was well thought out, and the shots were tested and planned in 3D, which means the 3D space was used to much greater affect.

The best 3D movie I've scene yet though has to be How to Train Your Dragon. The 3D composition in that movie is nothing short of breathtaking - the story was good too, even if it is a kids movie.
#2 Guest 2010-04-12 19:08
Severe disability? Like missing an eye?
#3 Guest 2010-04-12 19:12
Unless the Movie makers and HDTV manufacturers come up with better technology this dog wouldn't hunt. Nice gimmick though, but at a considerable price.
#4 Guest 2010-04-13 06:48
I also fall in the 5% category - I'm blind in one eye. Movies in 3D are actually a degraded experience for me - If you don't wear the glasses, parts of the film will be blurry and give you a headache. If you do wear the glasses, those parts of the film are less blurry, but still give you a headache. For me, at least.

And I can also attest to the torture of being forced to wear an eye patch. For several years when I was young, I had to wear an eye patch for an hour a day because the doctors believed I just had a lazy eye, never mind my explanations that I couldn't see with it on!
#5 Guest 2010-04-13 07:23
I also have problem seeing 3D but I think it has nothing to do with my eyes. This is of course just a theory from my highly subjective observations on me, but is it possible that people with perception "problems" have difficulties seeing 3D? My problem is that I watch everything and I get very distracted by everything thus I cannot see the 3D. Well, sometimes for a few minutes in the film I can see 3D but generally i just see lots of drawings and images, as if I am focused on everything. Does this make sense?
#6 Guest 2010-04-13 11:32
As Andrea said, it is not just vision issues that can cause someone to not see the 3D. Current 3D systems just try to trick your brain using only 1 binocular cue (stereopsis), which is not the only method the brain uses to actually obtain depth perception (the number of which is in the teens)
#7 Guest 2010-04-13 12:18
I'm one of the 5% as well, and it sucks really. The worst part is if 3D becomes the norm, then we'll be stuck with the extra charges and reduced resolution/brightness the 3D system/glasses bring, for no benefit.

From what I remember of all the doctor visits, if you grow up not seeing out of an eye, the brain will never learn to process its input later, even if one day your eye can be magically fixed :(

'Real life' is no problem however, and no depth perception doesn't stop my brain using the many other cues for me to know what's going on. I've had my problem for as long as I can remember, so who knows what adjustments my brain has made to cope. My point being, once we get past the fake 3D and on to more realistic 3D display systems, us 5%ers should hopefully not be left behind.
#8 Guest 2010-04-14 01:17
I am too part of the 5%. I was born with a lazy eye and i remember back in the early 80's, i was just a kid, when Jaws (I think it was the 3rd one) came out in 3D, I had such difficulties watching it with those red and blue glasses. I did not see what other kids saw. As i got older my eye became much more noticeable (wandering) i did what the docs said, doing eye exercises, wearing the patch and using a prism to try to get my eyes to work together. It did not help, all I got were headaches and everything i saw was doubled .
However i did have 3 eye surgeries to correct it cosmetically but still to this day my eyes do not work together and unable to see 3D like the average person can which i was kinda pissed off when the Xmas Carol & Avatar came out in 3D. I wanted to see those movies! No can do....oh well....
#9 RE: Secret immunity to 3D movies Matthew 2010-11-03 03:46
Does it seem to everyone else out there that the number of reviewers of 3D movies with a 'lazy eye' is disproportionat ely higher than 5% (or 12%)
#10 Ms Mia 2010-11-03 22:57
I too have a lazy eye & cant see 3d, Im gutted coz I feel like Im really missing out, I hope that this fad ends quick, whats going to happen to us that cant see 3d?, will we still have 2d tv.
#11 RE: Secret immunity to 3D movies l spooner 2011-02-13 04:41
why do you care if you miss out on a fad?

its not like you are missing the second coming or Dennis Hopper.
#12 3-D is useless Alex 2011-03-18 22:08
I hated Avatar in 3-D. The 3-D was fine though the novelty wore off after 5 minutes. What didn't wear off was my eyes watering every few minutes, requiring me to take the glasses off and, therefore, take me out of the movie. And I began thinking about its storyline critically because my mind was distracted. So I ended up hating the film. I saw it in 2-D later and was able to enjoy the experience. There is NO storytelling benefit to 3-D. I've challenged people for years to prove a benefit, and no one has. This isn't the same as color or sound, which do benefit storytelling. Or even the advent of HD. I have no problem seeing the 3-D effects (even with my coke bottle glasses) but I don't really want to. I've already decided to skip Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 in the theatres if no screens show it in 2-D in my city, just as I skipped Alice, Resident Evil 4, Toy Story and several other films last year. They're great on Blu-ray, but I'm left completely disenfranchised in terms of going to the theatres. Hopefully a few more megabombs like Mars Needs Moms will help 3-D peter out. I mean, a 3-D Great Gatsby? What are they smoking?
#13 Same same Larry Dall 2011-04-09 12:12
I have no stereoscopic vision either. The most annoying part of the 3D wave for me is films not being released in 2D (I refuse to pay a premium price for something I cannot see) and digital cinemas being blocked by 3D films so that other non-3D films are only shown in scratchy analogue versions.
#14 a Question .... Sepehr Salehi 2012-05-26 08:38
I wanna start a project in 3D ... and I want to ask you that what references are suitable for this work ?? such as software , cameras , Training Videos and other things needed for this work ...... or Is there any Training Videos available ???????
Thank you for your help ..... Sepehr Salehi .

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