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3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences by Miriam Ross

By Miriam Ross

3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile stories questions the typical frameworks used for discussing 3D cinema, realism and spectacle, that allows you to totally comprehend the embodied and sensory dimensions of 3D cinema's targeted visuality.

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Extra resources for 3D Cinema: Optical Illusions and Tactile Experiences

Sample text

1 (2009) Sully and Neytiri stand on the branch of the sacred tree in Avatar 28 3D Cinema particularly suitable objects to appear in negative parallax space and seem to swarm towards the viewer before they eventually descend. In this way, they make a gentle, physical connection between audiences and characters in the film that allows them to operate as entities which Carter Moulton terms ‘transdiegetic objects’ (2013: 8). We become aware of a thick, inhabited space that, even though only in front of us, produces the sensation that it could stretch around the whole viewing body.

Similar shots occur throughout the film, either of Sam Worthington, who plays Sully, or of the blue face of his character’s avatar when he inhabits the alien Na’vi body. The head’s curves and contours in each instance are enhanced by its three-dimensional grandeur, and the absence of a determined spatial plane on which it rests lends it an alluring quality that suggests the feeling, if not the physical action, of touch. The ability to use negative parallax space in order to present objects within the auditorium is most forcibly seen in a sequence which occurs when Sully (in his avatar body) and Neytiri (one of Pandora’s tribal princesses) come across one of the planet’s sacred sites.

Our relationship with him is constructed through a sense of where our physical bodies are placed within the screen space, near and far from him, near and far from the other workers. Editing within this scene, and throughout Hyper-Haptic Visuality 29 the film, means that this placement is constantly shifting and changing but, rather than unhinging our bodily experience, this experience facilitates a commitment from the viewer to reground the body and remain attuned to how spatial placement can be felt and experienced in relation to the film’s action.

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