Study claims viewing 3D video can cause discomfort in some people

We have been told over and over again by technology companies, movie directors and others that 3D is the wave of the future when it comes to viewing content. More and more 3D televisions are being sold. More movies are being released with 3D support and a number of PC and console games keep promoting their 3D effects. Despite this, a new study is suggesting that actually viewing 3D content can cause physical discomfort among some people.

According to a story in TechCrunch, a study of 24 people conducted by the University of California at Berkeley states that viewing stereoscopic 3D content on a screen can cause what is known as "vergence-accomodation". That basically means that the human eye "must constantly adjust to both the distance of the physical screen and that of the 3D content." The end result of such a situation is that some people who view 3D content can be affected in a number of ways including, "visual discomfort, fatigue, and headaches."

With more and more movies, TV shows and games adding 3D support with viewing by glasses and with 3D visuals without glasses support on a couple of smartphones and the Nintendo 3DS portable game console, its clear that the 3D trend isn't stopping anytime soon. However, if this study is truly an example of what the general public feels when they watch 3D content it may be a long, long time before watching 3D movies in the home along with and playing 3D games moves into the mainstream.

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I don't eye ball left to right to find someat 3dish on the 3d tv it's when stuff flies towards ya face you look at it by reaction so ya focus on that then refocus to the normal bit that's what gives me the headaches I think. Stuff that flies to ya on cinema doesn't have any effect probably cus the screen is so massive and ya quite far away your still focused on the majority of the normal picture and are only aware that someats flying towards ya face. That might be the difference not sure

I used to love the thought of occasionally seing an IMAX 3D movie. Now EVERYTHING is in 3D. It makes me nauseous just thinking about it. I can watch it fine though my wife can not due to her slightly lazy eye (which you would never even know she has) so it throws going to see an IMAX movie right out the door for us. We both wanted to see HP DH pt2 in IMAX but it only came out in 3D....aaauuughghghghghhg Hell - they even did Yogi Bear in 3D? really? who gives a SH#$$@@#$

All glasses based technologies are doomed to fail.
Once a device is produced that will allow for independent images for each eye at a decent refresh, fewer people will experience issue.

I have a rare case where I can't see 3D pop out of the TV. Instead, I see depth in the TV (like a diorama box) they call it inverted 3D.

People don't want to be feeling ill while watching a movie or playing a game, and it adds no great value. 3D is a phase which comes and goes every few years. Why? Because ultimately it's a gimmick.

Cinema 3d is fine for me however wearing stereoscopic glasses to watch with a tv gives me a headache as I seem to be to visually aware of the depths of things so my eyes constantly adjust as things come towards me and move causing lots of strain after only a few minutes.

Cinema 3D is a load crap anyway cus there just making it 3d just to jump on the bandwagon. I went watch transformers in 3d and thought seeing as all the bots are computer generated I thought it would be brilliant yet there was virtually no 3d in it. Then you got the problem with some films focusing on making the 3d look good at the cost of the film being generally crap.

Holographic 3d is the only true form of 3d anyway so thatll win when I comes out

psionicinversion said,
Cinema 3d is fine for me however wearing stereoscopic glasses to watch with a tv gives me a headache as I seem to be to visually aware of the depths of things so my eyes constantly adjust as things come towards me and move causing lots of strain after only a few minutes.

Cinema 3D is a load crap anyway cus there just making it 3d just to jump on the bandwagon. I went watch transformers in 3d and thought seeing as all the bots are computer generated I thought it would be brilliant yet there was virtually no 3d in it. Then you got the problem with some films focusing on making the 3d look good at the cost of the film being generally crap.

Holographic 3d is the only true form of 3d anyway so thatll win when I comes out

Cinema 3D is the best I've tried so far. Try focusing on the middle of the screen and than relax. Don't eyeball from left to right just to find something 3D'ish.

the only thing I enjoyed in 3D was minecraft, for just a couple of minutes...that's all I could stand. headache is putting what I experienced nicely...more like a skull-imploder...well, that's what it felt like, anyway. I don't imagine I will put much into those "3D TV's that do not require glasses" nor the ones that do require glasses...until holographic 3D comes into play, like Meph above stated.

I saw Avatar in 3D and it was ok, but 3D won't really hold much interest for me until they make it so you don't have to wear those glasses. Wearing glasses over glasses sucks.

I am getting so bored of this 3D technology rubbish, the technology isn't new its just a very slight evolution from technology that has been used for more than 10 years. Its just now making it small enough to get in to your home, so the marketing departments love it.
The 3D without glasses is at least something a bit different however it is still isn't great

I've been lucky that 3D films don't really bother me. The cheap glasses sitting on the bridge of my nose bothers me more than the 3D effect does.

SPEhosting said,
i cant see 3D

Likewise. I have amplyopia and cannot see anamorphic 3D at all. Nothing ****es me off more than wanting to see a movie and not being able to because they're not showing the 2D version. TRON Legacy did that to me, and I'd been gagging to see a sequel to the original for 19 years!

3D is nothing more than a fad. It was big in the movies back in the 1950's, but fizzled out after a few years, the same will happen again.

FloatingFatMan said,

Likewise. I have amplyopia and cannot see anamorphic 3D at all. Nothing ****es me off more than wanting to see a movie and not being able to because they're not showing the 2D version. TRON Legacy did that to me, and I'd been gagging to see a sequel to the original for 19 years!

3D is nothing more than a fad. It was big in the movies back in the 1950's, but fizzled out after a few years, the same will happen again.

I used to be able to see it when i was younger...now no 3D works... 3DS = fail.... imax = fail anything 3D in media/technology is a fail for me

SPEhosting said,

I used to be able to see it when i was younger...now no 3D works... 3DS = fail.... imax = fail anything 3D in media/technology is a fail for me


You do know that imax isn't just 3D. Its just an enourmous screen with large format film reels and a digital sound system. All of which looks amazing, it just happens that it can do 3D very well because of its format.

I love 3D! I go out of my way to see movies in 3D, I own a 3D TV, have a Nintendo 3DS, the Evo 3D (and an iPhone 4), and my Eyefinity display on my computer is in 3D (although, good luck trying to find support for it in games).

3D use to make my eyes feel weird, but I got use to it. Now I can't stand to watch something not in 3D.

haha lately there have been really stupid studies... i dont know how these people can study something so obvious like this. these super universities should study something important, serioulsy spending time and some money in these studies its stupid. but oh well, stereoscopic its not my thing.

I hate watching movies in 3D. The glasses are annoying (especially if I am not wearing my contacts), the picture gets dark or just looks weird, and the effects really add nothing to the movie.

Not to mention the headaches I get.

mrp04 said,
I hate watching movies in 3D. [...] the picture gets dark or just looks weird....

YES! the darker image is what bothers me the most!! and the colors i believe are less saturated when i have the glasses on. maybe the glasses are wrong, i dont know (dolby 3D - in cinemas).. :-(

mrp04 said,
I hate watching movies in 3D. [...] the picture gets dark or just looks weird....

YES! the darker image is what bothers me the most!! and the colors i believe are less saturated when i have the glasses on. maybe the glasses are wrong, i dont know (dolby 3D - in cinemas).. :-(

I've watched a number of 3D movies at the cinemas now and I've found that I tend to try and focus on something that isn't what is the correct depth of the actual screen. If the director and editors do a good job, then your main attention should and will be kept on the screen and the rest of the 3D effect is just enhanced.

Unfortunatly for me, I tend to let my eyes wonder around looking at props, backgrounds etc and have to force myself to dumb down my watching of the movies to get the 3D effect to work properly without cusing discomfort.

I really do like a good 3D movie when done right and I'm relaxed enough that I can go with what ever the movie wants me to, but if I'm picky and want to check out the finer detail ... like in a SAW movie for example, then I'd really want to watch it in 2D JUST because what my eyes focus on will be what I see rather then an out of focus 3D effect.

sagum said,
I've watched a number of 3D movies at the cinemas now and I've found that I tend to try and focus on something that isn't what is the correct depth of the actual screen. If the director and editors do a good job, then your main attention should and will be kept on the screen and the rest of the 3D effect is just enhanced.

Unfortunatly for me, I tend to let my eyes wonder around looking at props, backgrounds etc and have to force myself to dumb down my watching of the movies to get the 3D effect to work properly without cusing discomfort.

I really do like a good 3D movie when done right and I'm relaxed enough that I can go with what ever the movie wants me to, but if I'm picky and want to check out the finer detail ... like in a SAW movie for example, then I'd really want to watch it in 2D JUST because what my eyes focus on will be what I see rather then an out of focus 3D effect.

My eyes wonder too, but I never have any issues that you're having.

arewhyfour said,
My eyes wonder too, but I never have any issues that you're having.
Even a movie like Avatar has foreground items that are out of focus, which I found very distracting. Until they're able to produce a 3D experience that allows freedom to focus on any item I don't believe the technology will become truly dominant. In theory animated / CGI movies will be able to achieve this, so we'll have to see how the technology matures.

I really can't stand 3D... horrible to watch anything and the costs of a theater ticket over the regular just isn't worth it. 3D will blow over just as it did 20 years ago. I will NOT watch another 3D movie so long as 2D is available in the theater..and if not then I'll wait for it on Blu-ray.

This will end up just like high-def gaming did. People complained that prolonged use of high-def games and the like caused headaches, fatigue. It's from the sensory overdose you are receiving. However how many people complain now? We get used to it, we adapt and we are no longer affected.

Actually, I don't remember anyone every claiming that HDTV caused headaches; in fact it was quite the opposite. It was a LOT better than the CRT displays that came before it, as the low refresh rates (anything less 60Hz or less) on those certainly caused headaches among many people including myself - the high pitched whining also gave me headaches.

Your statement completely contradicts common sense.

I think discomfort is temporary. People soon will adapt with 3D. Just like using glasses the first time, some people will get a headache

IMcloud said,
I think discomfort is temporary. People soon will adapt with 3D. Just like using glasses the first time, some people will get a headache

but there's a difference between SOME and MOST

IMcloud said,
I think discomfort is temporary. People soon will adapt with 3D. Just like using glasses the first time, some people will get a headache

I still get nauseous when I have to wear my glasses, which is exactly why I rarely use them .

Sounds like some people don't know how to look at a screen properly.
I have never experienced any problems when watching 3D movies.

Shiranui said,
Sounds like some people don't know how to look at a screen properly.
I have never experienced any problems when watching 3D movies.

Exactly. This was the ********* study ever. 24 people? I actually considered going to UC Berkeley, but I'm glad I didn't, this university is sad.

How old are you btw? I'm 18 and don't wear glasses. Age could definitely be part of it.

Bloggers don't read very well: http://www.engadget.com/2011/0...rt-finds-out-bloggers-dont/

The study is NOT about the fact that we are discomforted by 3D, but WHY we are discomforted.

"Judging by the headlines today, Samsung's 3D R&D department made a huge mistake, just check them out: "Who Could Have Guessed: 3D Hurts Your Eyes", "Samsung-funded study finds 3D video causes extra eye strain, fatigue", "Samsung study finds that 3D video causes eye strain, fatigue". It seems obvious that Samsung's research grant financing a UC Berkeley study published in the Journal of Vision was wasted, except for one minor issue -- all of those headlines are wrong. "The zone of comfort: Predicting visual discomfort with stereo displays" is actually trying to find out why 3D-related eyestrain happens. That it can and does happen with poorly formatted video, whether 2D, 3D or otherwise, is already known.

Scrolling down beyond the abstract reveals the prof's data actually indicated a wider comfort zone than 3D video producers commonly assumed with their percentage rule of thumb. It's a Friday night and you don't have to pick thumbing through dry descriptions of experiments over whatever your plans are, but that's why you have us. Shockingly, companies desperately hawking 3D tech are busy making it better instead of undermining their own products, but you'd have to actually read the study to find out for sure."

Source: Engadget

Hakaslak said,
Bloggers don't read very well: http://www.engadget.com/2011/0...rt-finds-out-bloggers-dont/

The study is NOT about the fact that we are discomforted by 3D, but WHY we are discomforted.

"Judging by the headlines today, Samsung's 3D R&D department made a huge mistake, just check them out: "Who Could Have Guessed: 3D Hurts Your Eyes", "Samsung-funded study finds 3D video causes extra eye strain, fatigue", "Samsung study finds that 3D video causes eye strain, fatigue". It seems obvious that Samsung's research grant financing a UC Berkeley study published in the Journal of Vision was wasted, except for one minor issue -- all of those headlines are wrong. "The zone of comfort: Predicting visual discomfort with stereo displays" is actually trying to find out why 3D-related eyestrain happens. That it can and does happen with poorly formatted video, whether 2D, 3D or otherwise, is already known.

Scrolling down beyond the abstract reveals the prof's data actually indicated a wider comfort zone than 3D video producers commonly assumed with their percentage rule of thumb. It's a Friday night and you don't have to pick thumbing through dry descriptions of experiments over whatever your plans are, but that's why you have us. Shockingly, companies desperately hawking 3D tech are busy making it better instead of undermining their own products, but you'd have to actually read the study to find out for sure."

Source: Engadget

TOUCHÉ.

Or, like the say, 0WN3D

So far I've only been impressed with the 3d in two movies: the last Harry Potter and Avatar. But they gave me somewhat of a mild headache. Some people may really like 3d... i think just about everyone i've ever asked say they prefer movies in 2d.

Shadrack said,
So far I've only been impressed with the 3d in two movies: the last Harry Potter and Avatar. But they gave me somewhat of a mild headache. Some people may really like 3d... i think just about everyone i've ever asked say they prefer movies in 2d.

+1 I prefer 2D as well.

Shadrack said,
So far I've only been impressed with the 3d in two movies: the last Harry Potter and Avatar. But they gave me somewhat of a mild headache. Some people may really like 3d... i think just about everyone i've ever asked say they prefer movies in 2d.

only 3d that would work is cgi animated. that and one would get a headache thinking they need a a new bd player and tv. which is stupid marketing crap.

zikalify said,
They had to do a study to find out this?

Indeed a study was not necessary at all, many people I know, including me, have this problem with 3D content...

edit: nice, reply to zikalify appearing as a reply to Hakaslak...

zikalify said,
They had to do a study to find out this?

A study of 24 adults and everybody believes it??? There are a few things I miss:

- How old where the 24 adults?
- Which 3D tech did they use? (Active, Passive, Red/Cyan)
- How long was the movie?
- Did they like the movie? (Harry Potter discomforts me in 1D, 2D and 3D)
- What type of movie was it? (Action, Horror, Thriller, Comedy ....)
- Was it 3D3D or 2D>3D?

~D~ said,

A study of 24 adults and everybody believes it??? There are a few things I miss:

- How old where the 24 adults?
- Which 3D tech did they use? (Active, Passive, Red/Cyan)
- How long was the movie?
- Did they like the movie? (Harry Potter discomforts me in 1D, 2D and 3D)
- What type of movie was it? (Action, Horror, Thriller, Comedy ....)
- Was it 3D3D or 2D>3D?

Everyone believes it because it is a very common problem, there doesn't need to be a study to prove it. A lot of people have experienced the side effects first hand since every movie now forces 3D onto you.

I find it hilarious when adverts say you can see the film in 2D in 'selected cinema's'.

Minimoose said,

Everyone believes it because it is a very common problem, there doesn't need to be a study to prove it. A lot of people have experienced the side effects first hand since every movie now forces 3D onto you.

I find it hilarious when adverts say you can see the film in 2D in 'selected cinema's'.

I don't have any problems with 3D. I'm 18 years old, don't wear glasses. I think the movies are awesome. I don't get any headaches when watching them, but I also basically never get headaches no matter what.

The Dark Knight said,
I never watch anything in 3D for this very reason. Start getting headaches.

or migraines and nobody wants one. hey where'd my hand go? can't feel it.

xbamaris said,
Really.... who woulda thought....

+1 In my opinion it adds almost nothing to the viewing experience, except of course, headaches.

De.Bug said,

+1 In my opinion it adds almost nothing to the viewing experience, except of course, headaches.

Yeah, and I don't know about other people, but it kind of makes me nauseous...

De.Bug said,

+1 In my opinion it adds almost nothing to the viewing experience, except of course, headaches.

and if you rely on the colored glasses a messed up view of the world. oh sure 3d porn. great... been around for ages and PowerDVD can tweak that. whats worse is I have what they used to call lazy eye. double vision. rarely can see 3d. although the Monsters VS Aliens glasses for the demo, worked better than any had before.

PatrynXX said,

and if you rely on the colored glasses a messed up view of the world. oh sure 3d porn. great... been around for ages and PowerDVD can tweak that. whats worse is I have what they used to call lazy eye. double vision. rarely can see 3d. although the Monsters VS Aliens glasses for the demo, worked better than any had before.

I have astigmatism and I'm far sighted. The only version of the 3d technology that ever worked was the newer clear glasses. The red/blue variety never worked. I either saw the red side or the blue side.