Ebert: Thumbs Down on 3D, Up on Maxivison48

Posted on January 30, 2011 at 4:21 pm

Roger Ebert says the case is closed on 3D — it can never work. He has some powerful support for his position, a letter from Walter Murch, “the most respected film editor and sound designer in the modern cinema.” Murch says that “horizontal movement will strobe much sooner in 3D than it does in 2D. This was true then, and it is still true now. It has something to do with the amount of brain power dedicated to studying the edges of things. The more conscious we are of edges, the earlier strobing kicks in.” He says our brains are not capable of processing 3D movie technology, because “the glasses “gather in” the image — even on a huge Imax screen — and make it seem half the scope of the same image when looked at without the glasses.”
I’m not sure I agree; I expect a glasses-free 3D technology is possible, for one thing. But I do agree with Ebert that there is a much less gimmicky and much more powerful enhancement — Ebert’s counter-recommendation — called Maxivision48.
Movies “move” because we see a series of still pictures so quickly that it fools our eye through something called “persistence of vision.” It’s the same technology as a flip-book, and it hasn’t changed much since it shifted from 16 frames per second to 24 when movies added sound (this is why silent films often seem jerky). Unlike current digital equipment, which replicates the 24 frames per second standard, Maxivision combines digital and film to eliminate wasted space and project at 48 frames per second to give the audience a fresher, clearer, more distinct image.
I love their tagline: “See What You’ve Been Missing.”

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