3-D? Want some?

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?

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32 Responses to 3-D? Want some?

  1. Denise says:

    I haven’t seen any movie in 3-D. I went to the Omnitheater in the Twin Cities back in high school and saw the Grand Canyon, which was great, but not sure I would want to see a movie in that. I really don’t think I would like a TV in 3-D. I’m old fashioned I think. I still don’t have a flat screen, but that’s purely for financial reasons other than not wanting one. Occasionally I think it would be neat to have an in-home theater, but then I wonder if I would use it enough. Although if 3-D causes headaches, with my migraines, not sure I would even want to attempt it, but I might have to just try it one day I guess.

    • Betina says:

      Denise, I LOVE the Imax or Omnitheater. But it gives me the willies when it zooms over mountain tops and I feel the ground fall away beneath me. It’s not really like the 3-D thing, though.

      I don’t have a flat screen either. But I’ve been eyeing them lately because the tube on our old Sony is starting to have trouble with some of the colors. I’m afraid I may have to take the plunge sooner rather than later. That was why I started looking into 3D televisions. Don’t think I’m part of their market for the things.

  2. kylie brant says:

    I’m with you, Betina. I could care less about 3D. I can’t see a difference in the TV even with HD. I just want a TV that I can figure out how to run a movie on. And I spend way more time than I want to just watching TV on my computer because my husband refuses to get a DVR. I sort of long for the times I could just turn the TV on and have it work!

    • Betina says:

      Kylie, I can see the difference in HD. . . especially on people and on football fields. On my son’s 46 inch screen, you can actually see the grass blades on the field. And you can see the sweat and open pores of the athletes on the field. It’s amazing the stuff you can see on one of those things. But then, who wants to pay 2000 bucks to see big muscular guys sweat and grunt? Apparently a lot of other guys!

      And oh, baby, I’d get a DVR or bust! I love movies and they’re often a family affair with popcorn. You know, a big flat screen sounds better and better!

  3. leannebanks says:

    Betina, I’m probably one of the few people who did not see Avatar and I’m not suffering from the loss. I enjoy 3D in short spurts, such as at Disney World. It was precious seeing my young daughter reach out for the cute fuzzy animal flying so close to us. And at Busch Gardens, they have a cute pirate show. The theatre for that was set up so that some people got wet and when there were bees you got a vibrating sensation on the back of your chair. Scary for me!:) So I’ll take a 20 minute 3D every now and then and I’m happy with that. Great post!!!:) xo, Leanne

    • Leanne, I’m in your camp. Didn’t see “Avatar.” Got my fill from the trailers.

    • Betina says:

      Leanne, I’m with you– it’s such fun to watch the kids reach for the things. Hey, I get the urge too– and have been seen to duck at things seeming to fly off the screen. Maybe my brain is just too gullible.

      Avatar was amazing and had quite a story line. I loved the imagination that went in to the world-building. All the plants and animals. . . and the way the blue people (Natari?) were connected to their world. . . it had me from the opening credits. I recommend it. But honestly, I don’t think the 3D did much for it. It would probably be much the same experience in 2D.

  4. cindy gerard says:

    Same goes, Betina. I’d want to see the technology perfected before I’d take that plunge. But I’m certain there will be plenty of people who will take the plunge!

    • Betina says:

      Yes, Cindy, I guess there will be a market out there for it. I still think the glasses thing is a major limitation. And there isn’t much programming that truly takes advantage of the technology. HD seems to be a whole other story. I think it’s caught on big-time, and I can see why.

  5. DebraDixon says:

    I’m not taking the plunge. I went to a 3D movie recently and while it’s an interesting diversion, I can see the “trick of it.” The 3D just clutters up the movie as far as I’m concerned. I don’t know if it’s my eyes or that I’m just looking too hard for the man behind the curtain. It feels like a gimmick and ruins my enjoyment of the movie. I watched Avatar in 2D and never missed the 3D.

    OMG! Apparently, I’m cranky with 3D. LOL!

    • Betina says:

      Deb it sometimes feels gimmicky to me, too. My thought is that if the storyline and characters were good enough, they wouldn’t need to pump it full of visual steriods to get people interested. But that’s probably just the writer in me. If the story were good enough, we probably wouldn’t even notice the gimmicks!

  6. Kathleen says:

    I don’t even have any Big Screen Tv’s yet, never mind going to 3D. I have enough trouble just seeing with the eyes and glasses I have. I am already seeing things that are really were I think they are… My first 3D movie was when I took some of younger neices and nephews to see Spy Kids 3.. Then I saw Avitar and thought it was amazing, but whole diet of it.. No thanks.. I have my 29″ RCA Tv and it does me just fine. If someday my money tree in the backyard starts to sprout, I will see what I can purchase, but for now my money is better spent on things like food and rent…oh and books.. They are my necessity of life…

    • Betina says:

      Kathleen, God bless you! You, me, and Thomas Jefferson– we “cannot live without books.”

      I think I saw that Spy Kids movie– the 3D was awful! I took off my glasses and watched most of it in blurry outlines of red and blue. I got a little nauseous by the end. It took a lot to get me to try 3D again.

  7. MIchele says:

    I’m with you, Betina! Headache city!

    And is it just me, or do some movies get held back a few months so producers can rush in and make it 3D after the fact, and then you can tell when it hits the screen that it wasn’t actually written as a 3D movie. Tim Burton’s Nightmare Before Christmas being the one that cured me of ever seeing a 3D movie again.

    • Betina says:

      Michele, the shaky-camera style and now the 3D conversions for movies that weren’t actually shot that way. . . can they make movies any more disagreeable? Oh, and the over-priced, over-salted popcorn.

      Remind me again. . . why is it I love movies so much?

  8. Chris Bails says:

    I have seen a few things 3D. I have seen a couple of movies in 3D like Shrek with the kids. waste of money because my little boy did not want to wear the glasses. i also saw Jackass 3D on that was all right. it was headached city. I did see one show at the coca-cola museum in atlanta ga and it was awesome. the seats moved in the theatre and they had water that would spray at you. i did not get a headache from that, it was pretty cool.

    • Betina says:

      Why is it some things work well in 3D and others just, well, suck? It may be what Michele said– that movies that weren’t written for 3D are being converted after-the-fact and they don’t fare well in the process. Or maybe it’s the fact that a shorter 20 or 30 minute presentation is not so hard on the eyes and brain. If it’s done well, it can be wonderful.

  9. I’ve peeked through the glasses at the display 3D TV at Costco. It holds no appeal for me. The grandkids don’t even like going to 3D movies. They say it makes them feel sick. I do see the difference between HD and not-HD, so we did get that, but only because the old TV died and we were in the market anyway. I’m not going for “the next big thing” unless it’s a major improvement. Major.

    • Betina says:

      Kathy, I think a lot of people are in that boat– waiting until their current machine dies before jumping into the new technology. And so far, the 3D television doesn’t look like the “major” thing we’re looking for.

  10. Deb says:

    My 11-year-old daughter and I went to RIO on Friday night. You’re right, the 3-D glasses are nerdy and a had a bit of a headache from wearing them. I did slip the glasses down my nose a few times and I felt that the color of the movie was better without the glasses, but, of course, the characters were out of focus.

    One note—Geesh! Going to a 3D movie with one large popcorn and one large drink is EXPENSIVE! It cost me $34.50 for the evening. Yikes!

    • Betina says:

      Rio is in 3D? I haven’t seen it yet, but I can’t wait. I’m not sure I’ll try the 3D, though.

      And the money factor is huge. 9.00 to 10.50 per person, along with drinks and popcorn. . . $34.00. . . wow. Was it worth it?

      • Betina says:

        Oh, and about the color– the dark glasses do make the entire screen seem darker, even in the lighter, brighter scenes. Taking off the glasses isn’t really an option, but when they’re showing the same movie in 2D, I’m sure there is a great difference between the light and colors in the two showings!

        I wonder if that happens on the 3D television models, too?

  11. I’m not one who goes to the movies a lot (I’m a reader not a watcher) and when I do, I usually see one that has a lot of pop! So I think I’ll save my 3D visualization for those few visits. Plus for that $34 trip, I could have purchased not 2 90 minutes escapes but 4 half day escapes in print that I could then pass on to others to enjoy.

    • Betina says:

      Lisa, that makes all kinds of sense. Books still give you more entertainment for your dollar than almost anything else! Keep on readin’, girl!

  12. Helen Brenna says:

    You can put me in the not-a-fan-of-3D camp. Interesting, though!

    Personally, I think it’s just an excuse to get us all- our should I say, the men in our lives? – to a buy new TVs. lol

    • Betina says:

      Helen, you are a sage amongst us! Our society is consumption-driven and we always have to have a “NEXT BIG THING” to yearn for. And guys (sorry, not really pickig on you!) seem to be more susceptible than most to the allure of big and flashy and loud.

  13. catslady says:

    It reminds me of my contacts. Every time you get a new prescription it takes a while to get use to. Apparently one eye is doing the close seeing and the other the distance and your brain figures it all out. Unfortunately I got to the point where it was too much of a difference and my brain said enough!! I’m thinking the younger you are, the easier it may be to go back and forth. I did love Avatar! And I agree about being charged for those glasses every single time – definite rip off.

  14. MaryC says:

    Not a big fan of 3D. They had a 3D TV set up near the entrance of my local Costco’s –
    the adults walked by it for the most part, while some of the children would slip the goggles on. Interest died rapidly and Costco went back to featuriung a large screen HDTV instead.

    • Betina says:

      Oooooh, interesting. Not much of a draw, eh? Well, that says something.

      Either that or the cost-conscious Costco customer isn’t the right target for big expense, gimmicky televisions.

  15. I saw Tangled in 3-D and thought it was good…but I think I would have been fine without. No way do I want one in my house. My guys loooove our huge-screen TV, but I’m really meh about it cuz most shows I like to watch (not sports, not action-oriented) are mostly characters talking to each other (very much like my books, I realize). I can watch that on a small screen and enjoy just as much!

    • Betina says:

      Tangled was in 3D? I didn’t know that! I kindof wish I could have seen I both ways. I really liked that movie. The horse and the gecko were just too good.

      You know, Christie, I hadn’t thought about that. The big spectacles of sports and action adventure shoot-em-ups are probably better for the huge screen than character intensive dramas. But then. . . some of the shows I like have shots of wonderfully toned bodies in them. . . a-hem. You should see the movie “300” on a big screen HD television. It makes you appreciate the technology on a whole new level!

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