Why Stereoscopic 3D Fails


Why doesn’t the world embrace the illusion of S3D?

It is perhaps the most compelling visual effect that exists for cinema. We have many examples of illusions that become giant successful adaptations. What is it about S3D that keeps holding it back and generates considerable negative press and reviews?

In my opinion there isn’t a singular simple explanation. That is probably the reason for varying degrees of failure in a world of elevator pitches and split second decision making.

Two views, while sufficient to create a compelling illusion, do not fully satisfy the confusing foray S3D makes into the blurring of referential imagery and what I call experiential imagery. We are used to seeing multiple perspectives and on being able to converge our eyes and focus on a specific point in space (unless, like this fellow you are crossing your eyes).

We are used to having multiple confirming points of reference substantiating what we are looking at to be what we think we are looking at.

Some of the many simple explanations are:

–when the reason for looking at something isn’t compelling enough to look at it, then it is going to fail to get attention

–many people do not have normal stereovision

–the ability to suppress perception conflicts is not uniform across the population

A more complex explanation:

–requires education in the field of neuroscience.  The following questions must be addressed:
–How does the brain fuse the input from two eyes into a singular image that depicts space?
–Do we perceive the space between things or do we truly experience it with our vision system?

Many scientists argue that our entire visual system is an illusion that the brain creates, and doesn’t represent reality in the way we think that it does.

The mistake of picking a single simple explanation in terms of success or failure is perhaps the reason S3D comes and goes. The saying: “if you build it they will come” does not always hold true.

So, why choose a career in 3D?

Given the above, why would I choose a career creating imagery that depicts the space between things? Because it is possible to create compelling images to view. It is possible to suppress perception conflicts. Many people DO have normal stereovision. Using science and knowledge of neuroscience it is possible to take advantage of the illusions of the brain.

But the main reason I go forward: art.

As a friend of mine is fond of saying: The Earth without art is simply “Eh”.

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3 Comments

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3 responses to “Why Stereoscopic 3D Fails

  1. guillaume d'Hubert

    well, on a certain point of view, S3D has never had so much success, three years ago almost no one was doing multicamera rig images, I know or have heard about several (about 10) all around the world. None of them is in the way of making a living with it for now BUT they improve their art and gain in inspiration, some are involved in real projects … we are at the start of a new era , not only on the technical side also on the emotional and and artistic point of view, which is effectively the most important aspect.

    cheers,

    Guillaume

    • S3D was extremely popular in the late 1800’s – more so than today by percentage of population I would guess. It continues a cycle of peaks and valleys. It has failed to reach and maintain mainstream popularity in the same manner that color television, multi-channel sound and other innovations have. That doesn’t mean I’m not giving up. Quite the opposite – it is a mission now more than ever to understand what is require to move it into the mainstream as happened with color television.

  2. We are on the same boat ….

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