But first, let's step back a little.
One thing Chinnock made clear, and it did make sense to me, was that "in almost all cases, factors that influence eye strain, nausea or headache in 3-D viewing are neither 3-D displays nor 3-D glasses. But they are [related to] content creation, post-production and mastering processes used in 3-D video production."
In other words, anyone serious about promoting 3-D has to take some precautions —especially on the front-end of 3-D content creation.
Obviously, individuals have different tolerances for the varying degrees of 3-Dness in video. When human frailties and the expansions of artistic creativity are both taken into consideration, making hard and fast rules about 3-D movie production specs won't be easy.
However, Chinnock insisted, "I have a few good ideas that I think we can move things forward." Calling it a three-step plan, Chinnock laid out the following:
Step 1: Identify all the factors that influence eye strain, nausea and other discomforts. Such factors include: alignment of imaging, vertical and horizontal misalignment, color differences, luminance differences, the amount of parallax, fast scene cuts, etc.
Chinnock said, "Cutting from scene to scene, quickly moving from front to back and back to front in 3-D, for example, can only slam your eye balls back and forth."
Step 2: Identify safe parameters and safe ranges. Keep color mismatches or image misalignments to a tolerable level; set parameters and ranges to create "safe zones."
Step 3: Write guidelines and best practices for content creation and post-processing. Then, set up a rating system that can automatically record various factors in a 3-D movie — such as a depth transition and its duration — and note how often such factors venture beyond the so-called "safe zones." Because everyone has a different personal taste and tolerance for different levels of 3-D video, it's only natural to expect a number of commercial enterprises to pop up and offer different 3-D ratings in the future, predicted Chinnock.
This is not a bad plan, but how close are we to actually setting up any rating system?
Unfortunately, not very. Those in different 3-D industry consortiums appear to support the idea, said Chinnock, but "it takes the industry's leadership to unify these concepts and codify the system."
Chinnock said, "There will be bad 3-D movies. It's going to happen."
The way to prevent a potential 3-D disaster is not just stamping a list of 3-D health hazards on a carton. The industry needs to give content producers tools, while offering consumers rating systems to recognize the intensity of the 3-D experience they are about to watch.