Walter Murch Addresses Why 3D Does Not Work

Film editor and sound designer Walter Murch wrote a letter to Roger Ebert in which he discusses the pitfalls of editing and viewing 3D movies.

Ebert notes that Murch is uniquely qualified to comment on 3D, considering he has received Academy Award nominations for films edited on four different systems, including: upright Moviola, KEM flatbed, Avid, and Final Cut Pro. He also edited the 3D “Captain Eo” in the 1980s and wrote “In the Blink of an Eye: A Perspective on Film Editing” in 1995.

In his letter, Murch addresses a number of compelling points such as the inherent darkness of the 3D image, the strobe effect of horizontal movement in 3D, and what he sees as problematic issues involving how our eyes and brain interpret convergence, focus, and immersion. Murch sums up his take on 3D as, “dark, small, stroby, headache inducing, alienating. And expensive. The question is: how long will it take people to realize and get fed up?”