USA: 3D fails to transform the movie experience, study says

Although 3D movies such as Transformers: Dark of the Moon have helped boost films studios' revenues, new research in the States suggests that not only does the technology not enhance the movie-going experience, it also trebles the chance of eyestrain, headaches and other problems.

The research, by L Mark Carrier of California State University, involved 400 filmgoers, who watched one of three films – Alice in Wonderland, Clash of the Titans and How To Train Your Dragon – in either 3D or 3D, and were then asked to rate their movie experience.

Apparently there was very little difference between the response of those watching in 2D and 3D, which surprised the researchers: they'd expected 3D to have a greater impression on the viewers, but instead noted it doesn't create more intense emotional reactions, is no more immersive and doesn't make it any easier for viewers to remember details of the movie.

Presenting the results at the annual convention of the America Psychological Association in Washington, DC, last weekend, Carrier said consumers should be aware that 'they're aren’t going to be any benefits in terms of understanding the movie better or making the movie more meaningful, as far as we can tell.

'Many of us were like, 3D movies are so cool, it's gotta do something, but it didn’t seem to enhance your memory at all. That’s an unfortunate implication.'

However, Carrier did say that the studies showed 3D viewers were about three times more likely to have eyestrain, headache or trouble with vision: while they acknowledged people may still prefer to see 3D movies for their special effects, 'all other things being equal, I would say you're increasing your chances of having some discomfort.'

Carrier and his colleagues are continuing to analyse their data to further understand the impact of 3D on viewers' emotions.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.