COOL STUFF

How to Not Get a Headache Watching Avatar or Any 3D Movie

by
December 20, 2009
Source: Shadowlocked

Avatar

I was just sent an email the other day with a link to this guide on Shadowlocked (via Gizmodo) that explains "How to avoid getting a 3D headache while watching Avatar." It doesn't happen to me, but apparently some people get headaches from watching 3D, especially over two hours of it (since Avatar is 162 minutes long). They came up with a very simple "guide" and explanation behind why you might be getting headaches. While the focus is on Avatar, this tip can be used while watching almost any 3D movie to prevent headaches and other issues. It's a simple idea that makes a lot of sense. Check this out even if you don't get headaches.

Avatar 3D

They explain that Cameron's 3D in Avatar is not the gimmicky "jack-in-the-box" pop out 3D, instead it's just like normal cinematography with shallow depths-of-field meaning some of the frame is heavily out of focus. The problem is that some people want to look at this part of the frame, their eyes either wander there or are attracted there for some reason, but looking at that "out of focus" part is bad (see the photo above). You can read Shadowlocked for a much better explanation, but the tip is to keep your eyes focused on the important parts of the frame that Cameron has chosen. And if you do that, you won't get any 3D headaches (in theory).

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  • Keith
    l'll try it out on the second go-round
  • samuel j
    why didnt you write this a few days ago and save me a headache
  • TediusTed
    lol^
  • PinkSushi
    headache from reading u
  • Mike
    I noticed this myself about 30 minutes in to the film, but during Jack's first encounter with Neytiri in the bioluminescent undergrowth I couldn't help myself, I wanted to look everywhere.
  • Mike
    People got a headache? Alex, I don't think this applies for everyone. I was looking everywhere and I felt fine. But... Whenever I actually TURNED my head left-to right there would be multiple castings of the characters/environment. I was also wearing glasses under the 3d goggles. Weird.
  • darthwhitey
    what if you WANT to look at that blue dude in the water? You can't do that? To me, that totally blows and is the reason why this new 3D is crap and will wear out its welcome very soon...just like it did back in the day
  • Jason
    i looked every where and was fine. i think it has a lot to do with how close you were to the screen and maybe dont whip your head back and forth?
  • DarkDank
    I was looking at other parts of the frame too & I got a headache + runny eyes. I mean, its great knowing this but...should a director also be dictating where the audience should look? Isn't the beauty of cinema allowing us to examine a frame? Oh well, is this the future? Viva 3D...?!!
  • http://twitter.com/pannalogic Panna
    @9 "headache + runny eyes" = you enjoyed the emotion the movie conveyed? lolol jk
  • Fisherr
    Great advice.
  • Al
    the problem with that concept is then everything seems rack-focused (background blurry, foreground not/ vise versa) I knew there was a problem during the intro, when Sullys coming out of hibernation, and i was trying to take in the vast background but had lots of trouble. I think Cameron did this intentionally, to cut back on about 100 million of probably rendering costs. I think this is why I disliked the film, made it hard for me to get into, that and the pacing. I guess I'll have to try ignoring the backgrounds (which makes it worse) or just watching it in 2D.
  • DarkDank
    @10 gotchu, if only eh! In this case, headache + runny eyes = migraine But I'm willing to give Cameron another chance :)
  • leiner
    Hey! I woke up with a major headache the morning after seeing Avatar, I was all "mmm, it cannot be the movie, but I didn't do anything unusual besides putting those 3D glasses". Now I have an explanation, so, I'm not crazy!! Man, it sucks being a part of that statistic!! Every detail onscreen is so rich and interesting that I wanted to see the whole frame without losing anything. The price I paid was a $%& headache! I will send a letter to James Cameron. If he introduces me to the beatufil Zoe Saldana... well... we're even.
  • Evo
    I intentionally watched Avatar in 2D to avoid the headache inducing effects that UP! in 3D had on me. I'm definitely not sold on 3D yet but will give Cameron a chance on my second viewing. Thus far, 3D still feels like a gimmick and a way to ratchet up ticket prices (Don't tell me those cheap, made in China glasses constitute the price hike). For me, I've found that not only does 3D give me a headache, it doesn't add anything significant to the experience and actually degrades the the color and can be a distraction. It is the director and DoP's job to lead our eyes to specific areas of the frame but I agree w/ #9 in that examining the composition of a shot should be a joyful experience for the viewer, not a headache inducing one. If Cameron doesn't sell me on 3D this time around, I'll be sticking w/ 2D for the next 10 years until Avatar II.
  • http://comicsalltooreal.blogspot.com CATR's Chris
    Good to know. I'll go see it tomorrow and it's great to be aware of this, considering headaches is a recurring theme for me.
  • http://www.10tu.com/forums dRailer
    agreed with 7... You shouldn't have to make a judgment call on what the director wants you to look at, you should know because it is on the screen.
  • Madnezz344
    no duh lol the shades need to have depth in them so they can curve about the eyes not lie flat the way they are thats the reason people get head aches
  • Colt
    I shouldn't be dictated on where to watch, that's why 3d fucking blows
  • AB
    Saw it in 3D IMAX-- after the movie let out, we were walking in the stadium hallway to get into the theater lobby and a kid threw up right in front of us-- I wonder how many other people have puked because of the 3D?
  • http://img222.imageshack.us/img222/2408/blackbabyjesus.gif Crapola
    Haha puking kids, hopefully no-one's mind will explode
  • David Banner
    Beowulf 3D= bad headache MBV 3D= headache UP 3D= Perfect, no side effect other then paying 40% more for a movie ticket
  • James Cameron
    I don't think this is the reason at all. It probably has to do with people who have one eye slightly weaker than the other and this causes eye strain. I had lasik so my eyes are exactly the same and I looked all of the screen and didn't have a hint of an issue.
  • James Cameron
    either that or you all are a bunch of pusses.
  • Cineprog
    Real D 3D is circuler polorisation it not static like the old red and green 3D there is a modulator on front of the projector that mods 144 times per Sec between the right eye which turns clockwise and the left eye with turns anticlockwise, so you can move your head with out looseing the 3D effect. those not keeping your head in a fixed position which might give you a headaches.
  • Kelton
    LOL who would look at the blurry blue stuff? instead of the guy anyway? XD haha people...
  • Lindsay Mease
    I have gotten a terrible headache after watching after, I feel terrible T_T.....It hurts so bad... I like to look at all the details in a movie so I do not miss anything.
  • TylerM
    I wonder how many people with contacts are the ones with headaches. I hear that it may be the leading cause of headaches in 3D movies because the contacts create less blinking during sequences and strain the eyes more.
  • Marylynn
    No contacts or need for rx glasses here but I surely wanted to puke after the 3d version (only one avail in our area) and the post movie headache was killer. I will say most new rpg games get me queasy but I had hoped whatever that is would not rear up in a movie setting. I was so looking forward to the movie too, bummer my main memory of it is wanting it to end and be able to wuss out at home over the brain bombardment.
  • steve
    i too came down with a massive headache towards the end of the movie that lasted for several hours after the movie. i am done 3d.
  • Stringman
    I'm *so glad* that this was not just ME suffering during "Avatar". I tried closing my eyes and taking off my glasses when there was a lull in the action but I had mild nausea and a big headache for hours afterwards. I agree with 29, wanted to enjoy the awesome imagery but kept checking my watch for it to end at the same time.
  • Kohlsten
    I thought is was just me. I had never had a problem with a 3D movie in the past. This time I had a migraine the minute I got out of the theatre. I had to make my husband stop the car so I wouldn't throw up in it on the way home. Too bad. I wanted to enjoy the movie, but the rest of the day was spent eating aspirin, advil, and sleeping in bed!!!!
  • kabookie
    ive seen it twice and both times in 3D, i even looked around at all the scenes also. i never got a headache, i just got annoyed having to wear the huge ass glasses.
  • angelo
    So, It is just the same as 3D of 20 years ago. I watched a 3D movie and I was having eye strain, so that I removed the glasses now and then to rest my eyes.
  • bart
    The visuals were fine, but I got a headache from the story.
  • jennifer
    I saw the movie today and while it was great. I now have a terrible headache and feel sick. There is nothing wrong with my vision (20/20) but i did look around alot. The world and all the bright colors were beautiful and I looked all over. The little things that popped out distracted me and I keep looking at them. I wanted to see it again, but I dont want this headache again.
  • Todd
    We went and saw Avatar in 3d on Saturday out of 5 of us my Daughter & I are the only ones with glasses about 3/4 of the way into the movie we both had to take the glasses off and not watch any more due to the fear of throwing up in the theater. When we walked out I felt like I had spent 3 hours on a Tilt-A-Whirl. It was all I could do to drive home. Not enjoyable.
  • Susan
    I had a major migraine after viewing Avatar 3D last night. Was it worth it? I loved the movie but don't think the 3D aspect was necessary. I would much rather have seen it in 2D and been able to enjoy all of it without consequences. Why is this side effect not reported more widely in the news media.
  • mike
    I've finally watched Avatar last night. My kids were okay, but I and my wife were getting slight HA. Some people even threw up on the floor. With polarized glasses, you receive slightly different images from each eye, and the brain combine those two different images into one single 3-D image. In the process, eyes need to be slightly crossed or accomodated which results in mild HA and eye strain. People with lazy eye and crossed eye won't see the movie in 3-D because their two eyes are not working togother propery. People over 45 with weakening ability in focusing near may experience more eye strain and HA. What is the solution for HA? I am going to try some + lenses and prism to see if these can compensate those cross eye and eye strain. I'll let u know how it goes. :-)
  • blamara
    watched moview 3 times in 2D, excellent movie, story, animation, act, everything ... but was attracted with 3D, last time I saw 3D was fair in 1996 and was much impressionated with it (wearing helment on my head for 2h after that my neck was killing me). And as I wanted to see everything, and fast slide over screen and focus in ns what I want to see, and seeing only blury picture made me mad realising I'll have big one (headache) tried to stay focused on focused parts of picture but as someone said before you simply can't. So here I am checking if I am only one, and aparently I am not. knowing that almost whole movie was rendered, and that we today have very robust and fast dedicated renderer machines, quality of 3D in cinema could be much better from what I have seen in Avatar. I know I was annoyed in 1997 when I started making my 1st baby steps in making 3D animations that there was no focus depth in picture like in movies. Now when I think again I miss those days with clear picture when you were able to see everything in it. suggestion to ppl that are able to scan with their eyes whole in the split of second do not watch 3D movies, you simply can't help you will be going with your eyes everywhere on screen and end up with headache drinking painkillers after it ;)
  • masterchiva
    So what is the point on seeing the movie on a huge wide screen if you can only see the focus point without getting headaches? I get headaches on 3D movies because I like to look at the whole screen, many interesting things happen in the background. We are paying a premium for 3D movies, yet we are restricted in our field of vision? No thanks, I'll take HD Imax over gimmicky 3D with crappy glasses any time! The day they come out with a true 3D system (not simulated with glasses) that will be the day I can say this technology has arrived. Right now is just a quick upgrade from the old system to squeeze more dollars out of our pockets.
  • Blake
    Those 3d glasses for Avatar from Mann theaters are to tight for me and squeeze the sides of my head oversized melon. :0 I used creative ways of adapting to this however during the movie. Until about 1 hour into the movie when the (temple arms) finally stretched out a bit, I was changing the position of the temple arms from either A.) over my upper ears putting my ear between the temple arms and my glasses thus cushioning my head from the temple arms B.) normal wearing position, and C.) well.... you get the point. Anyways I tried researching how to get some inexpensive proper 3d glasses and there was A LOT of info out there. I need a Best Buy representative for Gods sake. Does any 3D specialist here know where I can buy some proper fitting inexpensive normal quality 3D glasses for viewing movies in Movie Theaters? Will they work for my home viewing experience, or is that a whole other beast. Maybe there is a store I can call for help or a store I can actually go to in person that sells a variety of 3d glasses? I live in the Los Angeles/ Ventura County California area so if there is a solution it probably exists in my performing arts mecca. Thanks!!
  • Blake
    Those 3d glasses for Avatar from Mann theaters are to tight for me and squeeze the sides of my head oversized melon. :0 I used creative ways of adapting to this however during the movie. Until about 1 hour into the movie when the (temple arms) finally stretched out a bit, I was changing the position of the temple arms from either A.) over my upper ears putting my ear between the temple arms and my glasses thus cushioning my head from the temple arms B.) normal wearing position, and C.) well.... you get the point. Anyways I tried researching how to get some inexpensive proper 3d glasses and there was A LOT of info out there. I need a Best Buy representative for Gods sake. Does any 3D specialist here know where I can buy some proper fitting inexpensive normal quality 3D glasses for viewing movies in Movie Theaters? Will they work for my home viewing experience, or is that a whole other beast. Maybe there is a store I can call for help or a store I can actually go to in person that sells a variety of 3d glasses? I live in the Los Angeles/ Ventura County California area so if there is a solution it probably exists in my performing arts mecca. Thanks!!
  • Chris
    Watching movies in 3D gives me head aches like no tomorrow although my fiance has no trouble watch them and feels fine even after a whole movie. Don't get me wrong I think the whole aspect of 3D is really neat but to me the head ache is not worth it. She loves the heck out of 3D movies and I hate it that I'm unable to watch the entirety of a 3D movie with her. Although I am thinking about trying other remedies to bare with it unless some others with the common problem already have. Maybe pop an aspirin or Tylenol before watching a 3D movie will help to relax your eyes a little? Has anyone try this?
  • CJ
    terrible headache and nausea after watching avatar but went away within an hour or so. I live in New Zealand, if that makes a difference but the 3d was terrible-black spots on the screen (everyone saw it) and image had slight blurs all the way through. No more 3d for me. I don't wear glasses and have fine vision -i think, but it was such a bad experience.
  • CJ
    terrible headache and nausea after watching avatar but went away within an hour or so. I live in New Zealand, if that makes a difference but the 3d was terrible-black spots on the screen (everyone saw it) and image had slight blurs all the way through. No more 3d for me. I don't wear glasses and have fine vision -i think, but it was such a bad experience.
  • YOU'RE WRONG!!!
    It has to be with the glasses themselves because I get a headache if I wear the glasses around outside.
  • Bovie-Wan
    Get 2d-glasses, they make the movie 2d for you while keeping it 3d for everyone else, thus, everyone is happy, and before you yell at me for this, yes they have been tested, and yes they do stop the negative 3d side effects. Also, never wear 3d glases outside, that's a pretty simple one.

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