the full potential
Our focus at the Human Factory is on understanding the design and function of our perception and cognition. One of the books fueling our innovative approach is founder Mark Changizi's VISION rEVOLUTION, which covers a variety of his research discoveries in vision.
Below are two novel ideas for enhancing the viewer experience in movies, each emanating from our in house Human Factory insights.
3D movies are missing the point of feeding video to two eyes
In 2008 Human Factory scientists provided evidence that forward facing eyes evolved not for 3D stereoscopy (i.e., for seeing the 3D-ness of things), but instead to “see through” clutter in forest habitats, referred to metaphorically as "X-Ray Vision". (The paper, and see especially Chapter 2 of VISION rEVOLUTION.)
Even rabbits have good stereoscopy in their narrow binocular field, but were rabbits to be making movies, they’d probably not find stereo movies that interesting because the effect would only fill a narrow portion out in front of their (panoramic) visual field.
We humans like stereo movies because our binocular field is huge (because our eyes face forward), but not per se just because of the 3D stereoscopic effects that are possible. After all, even normal non-stereo movies are replete with cues to the 3D structure.
Stereo glasses should really be called “binocular glasses”, because by virtue of them the viewer gets all the benefits of having a large binocular field, and 3D stereoscopy is just one of those many “binocular benefits.”
But another big benefit is the “X-Ray Vision” effect mentioned above. We have mechanisms allowing us to both see an object, but to render it as semi-transparent through which we can see the world beyond. This is why we (or a lion) can be deep in brush and yet see beyond it (to our prey); whereas a sideways-facing animal like rabbit can barely see in such a situation.
There are hosts of visual movie experiences that can be motivated by these observations, involving embedding the viewer much more deeply in the environment, and thereby leveraging the full suite of powers stereo movies make possible.
Better first-person perspectives
A first person perspective -- whether in a movie or a video game -- is not simply a monocular view from an imaginary eye at the center of the character’s forehead.
Instead, a first person perspective comes with hosts of connected visual stimuli, both monocular and binocular.
Once one fully understands the principles underlying these stimuli (which are discussed in VISION rEVOLUTION), one can engineer them into the stereo experience, resulting in the viewer more truly feeling as if he or she is in someone else’s body.