A 3-D headache or family fun?

May 13, 2011
A 3-D headache or family fun?
Terrence Masson is the director of Northeastern's Creative Industries program. Credit: Lauren McFalls

With the recent release of Nintendo’s new 3DS, a handheld gaming system, and the popularity of movies like “Thor” and “Avatar,” the use of 3-D technology has increased over the past few years. Terrence Masson, director of Northeastern’s Creative Industries program, weighs in on 3-D’s revival and where the technology is headed.

Movies began using 3-D technology in the 1950s, so why the revival in the past few years?

I think it’s pretty simple: revenue. The studios have had to compete with the increased usage of high-end home theater, flat screens, plasma screens, DVDs, on- demand movies and Netflix, and it has been really challenging to get people back into the theaters. You really have to motivate a family of three or four to spend 50 or 60 bucks on a movie and popcorn these days, and 3-D technology might make it worthwhile for them. So it all comes down to the bottom line.

Today, 3-D technology is not only proliferating in movies, but in video games and in home televisions, too. Do you foresee it being integrated into other media?

That remains to be seen. Right now, the is, as far as I know, exclusive; there are no other portable platforms that do that. If it becomes popular and proves viable, I guess we’ll see. It would be interesting on a larger format screen such as tablets. 

The home 3-D stereo market is similarly profit-driven, and sports are leading the way. Companies are banking on the high-end sports enthusiasts to upgrade and spend a lot of money on a stereo and a 3-D set at home.

Nintendo issued a warning with the 3DS, and some 3-D television manufacturers have issued warnings, that extensive use of the devices can cause fatigue and even impair eye development in young children. What’s the extent of the problem, and are there other health hazards associated with 3-D?

There is definitely a health hazard in standard 3-D, in the sense that there is a known percentage of people who are randomly disturbed by watching 3-D. I’ve read some reports that one in 30 people can’t actually see in 3-D at all. So between those extremes and the average person, are people who may experience headaches or migraines. What minimizes that or exacerbates it is the quality of the 3-D experience, and that really depends on whether or not the content has been shot and recorded natively in 3-D to begin with, or if it’s converted after the fact. That can make a huge difference.

Explore further: Netflix sues Yahoo CIO for alleged kickbacks

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nintendo 3-D handheld goes on sale in Japan

Feb 26, 2011

(AP) -- Nintendo's latest game machine, offering glasses-free 3-D images, went on sale in Japan on Saturday ahead of a global rollout, and analysts say it promises to be the world's first 3-D mass-market ...

Nintendo ready to take 3-D gaming to mass market

Mar 28, 2011

(AP) -- With the Nintendo 3DS, the Japanese video game company is betting that it can once again nudge mass entertainment in a new direction, just as it did nearly five years ago when it launched the Wii ...

Recommended for you

Netflix sues Yahoo CIO for alleged kickbacks

29 minutes ago

Netflix is suing a former company vice president who is now chief information officer at Yahoo, accusing him of receiving money from vendors he hired to work with the video streaming company.

BlackBerry courts iPhone users with cash

20 hours ago

Canadian smartphone maker BlackBerry is wooing Apple customers with a cash offer for trade-ins of iPhones for its new square-screened, keyboard-equipped Passport.

HP earnings show continued struggle

21 hours ago

Venerable tech giant Hewlett-Packard has been struggling for three years to turn its business around. Its latest earnings show it still has more work ahead.

Apple market value hits $700 bn

Nov 25, 2014

A rise in Apple shares Tuesday pushed the market value of the trend-setting US tech icon above $700 billion, becoming the first company to hit that milestone.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.