Ebert: “3D doesn’t work and never will”

By Patrick Garratt, Wednesday, 26 January 2011 11:38 GMT


American film critic Robert Ebert – famed for his since-revoked assertion that games can’t be art – has said that 3D for films cannot work based on a letter written by Apocalypse Now sound pioneer, Walter Murch.

The letter explains why, in Murch’s opinion, 3D will fail in the film format, thanks to the darkness of the image it created and the unnatural nature of the illusion overall.

“It’s like tapping your head and rubbing your stomach at the same time, difficult,” said Murch. “So the ‘CPU’ of our perceptual brain has to work extra hard, which is why after 20 minutes or so many people get headaches.

“They are doing something that 600 million years of evolution never prepared them for. This is a deep problem, which no amount of technical tweaking can fix. Nothing will fix it short of producing true ‘holographic’ images.”

The 3D effect used in films is the same as that used in games.

Ebert previously u-turned on his assertion that games can never be “art” – after 4,500 comments on his article claimed otherwise

Murch’s comments come at a time where 3D is being heavily betted on by games companies like Nintendo and Sony, with Nintendo readying a launch of 3DS this February and March.

Nintendo has said that Hollywood is “intensely interested” in 3DS due to its 3D video playback capabilities.

Nintendo UK has said that the launch of 3DS will be the company’s biggest yet.

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