Nick Nolte Wants To Warn You Against 3D TV But I’m Not Having It

Posted by January 16, 2012 Comment

I’ve heard a lot of misinformed claptrap spouted about 3D films, but this takes the biscuit. Nick Nolte has, for no good reason I can discern, been asked about 3D, and has shared his belief that it is dangerous, both physically and psychologically.

Yes, Nick Nolte. The actor.

Here are the quotes from WENN, as syndicated:

3D actually disconnects the eyeball from the lens from the brain, so that whole system doesn’t function. They’re finding out it causes psychotic states. It’s, like, the brain, itself, is creating a hallucinative (sic) agent of 3D. But when something is close, the lens doesn’t change. If something is far, it doesn’t change because you’re looking at a two dimensional plane. They’re going to find out six hours of 3D TV will cause a psychotic affect. Australia is doing the research. I can just tell you that.

The basis for Nolte’s confusion is multi-part, but here’s the bit that makes any kind of sense at all.

There’s a possibility, in viewing a 3D film, that you will suffer from undue acommodation-vergence mismatch. This means that your eyes will turn in to look at something at one distance while your lenses will have to focus at another, different distance. This does not happen in every day life – you focus on what you’re looking at.

In the case of a 3D film, you always need to be focused on the screen, even if objects seem to be moving in front of it or behind it, causing you to converge your eyes’ line of sight at a different distance.

It’s this issue that Nolte is trying to explain, but it really has nothing to do with psychosis or hallucination – or, indeed, physiological damage.

3D filmmakers have found that there’s a comfortable range to which you can make items appear in negative or positive space, and this is related to the amount of mismatch that is acceptable for a viewer before they lose their ability to “fuse” the images easily. It changes from viewer to viewer, but there’s a reasonable spread that can be worked with.

If you only watch films that remain within this set of parameters, there’s not even any real chance of harmless discomfort from a mismatch.

Of course, because there’s a possibility that bad choices could be made and a film could be riddled with acommodation-vergence mismatch problems, then the whole medium of stereography is often seen as faulty.

I could cut a film in such a way that the editing would make you feel nauseous, or abuse the soundtrack in a way that would leave the majority of a films’ audience in discomfort, but there’s nobody – not even Nick Nolte – scarpering around saying that editing or the talkies are going to damage you and need to be banned.

Yes, 3D can be done wrong in a way that just makes the audience feel a bit “off” – but so can any other component of the camerawork or post production.

Now, apologies to Mr. Nolte for dragging him into this, but I saw the quote spreading, and I wanted to kick back a little.

(Last Updated January 16, 2012 5:32 pm )