Well, I did the research. . . sort of. I went to Wikipedia and read for five minutes, which was long enough to have my suspicions confirmed and to get thoroughly confused. I wanted to know the scoop on 3-D. And I’m here to tell you that. . .well. . . it ain’t simple.
You see, the other day, I was offered the chance to participate in a drawing– a contest– where the prize was a humongous flat screen 3-D television. Hmm. I had to think about it and finally passed. Even if I won the thing, (the chances of which were pretty darned slim) I’m not sure I’d want to use it. The technology has finally come to maturity and actually works for a vast majority of people. . . enough so that manufacturers see it as the next BIG THING.
I, however, am skeptical. To be a believer, I’d have to overcome years of experience attending movies that gave me a headache and looked weirdly blurry unless I closed one eye. which inevitably led to eyelid cramps. And there isn’t any way to “walk off” an eyelid cramp, believe me. It just keeps on cramping and twitching–
I digress. Let me enlighten you. Wikipedia says that the 3-D effect is produced by filming something from two different perspectives and then layering the images over top of each other to produce an illusion of additional depth. And in order to participate in the illusion, one must wear a special set of glasses. (See below). The glasses allow you to view a different perspective with each eye and your brain then melds the two images into one that seems to have more depth and literally pops off the screen at times. So, in effect, 3-D is all in your head. Literally.
Remember these? Well, they mostly don’t look like this at movie theaters these days. Instead they’re big black nerd-frames with darkened lenses. But basically one lens is still red and the other is still blue. The process has been refined, but the basis is still the same. They trick your brain into seeing things three dimensionally that are actually flat. And blurry. (See the photo above) And heaven help you if you remove your glasses and look at the screen. Headache City.
So would you want that in your house, on your television screen 24/7? Manufacturers are betting bundles of cash that you do, or at least will.
But can you imagine staggering out of the family room in your special glasses and groping around for the bathroom doorknob? What if you just want a snack and head for the fridge? Imagine the chaos when you keep reaching for stuff that isn’t quite “there”? Or those quick trips through the family room on the way somewhere else. . . where you glance at the screen and see all kinds of blurry red on what appears to be a weather map. . . you go into full tornado alert mode when it was really just a golf tournament? And how many pairs of glasses come with a 3-D television? You probably have to buy extras for guests. Do you really want to see those River Monsters or CSI autopsy results popping out at you?
A two hour movie on the 3-D big screen gives some people a major headache. Imagine what watching 3-D at home, constantly would be like. Early reports say a number of people report headaches from wearing those glasses for long periods. And then, not everything on television is photographed in those two different perspectives. So does the TV know which is which and switch into a different mode? More research required.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved AVATAR. And the one before it that really introduced me to the new, functioning 3-D was a great little movie called Journey to the Center of the Earth with Brandon Frazier. That was the first time they got it right for my eyes. And since then, I’ve caught a couple of other flicks in 3-D. It works and is often vivid enough to make me jump in my seat. But every time I come out of the theater, I feel disoriented for a bit afterward. Is that just me? Do you feel that “3-D lag” too? My brain needs “re-entry to reality time.”
And what’s with the steep ticket prices? And yes, you have to buy the glasses now; you can’t bring your own from the last time you were there. And they so helpfully have boxes outside the theater so you can “recycle” your glasses afterward. I understand they “clean” them and repackage the ones that are suitably pristine for use by another
sucker movie patron.
I don’t want to be a Luddite or “hater” but I don’t think 3-D would improve my TV watching experience. I can’t help thinking it could give me a brain cramp that could prevent my eyes working and playing well together ever again. For now, I’m glad I saved my precious Coke Rewards points for something more enjoyable and useful. . . like those cool CocaCola oven mitts. . .
What about you? Seen anything in 3-D that took your breath away? Are you hankering to own your own 3-D theater at home? Got popcorn? Got glasses? Got headaches?