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“It was just literally like a whole new dimension of sight. Exciting,”
July 19, 2012 8:07 PM   Subscribe

Ever since seeing Scorsese's "Hugo" in 3D, formerly stereoblind Bruce Bridgeman can see in three dimensions.
posted by Pope Guilty (43 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite

 
This is fascinating.

I guess we've found the guy who does like 3D. Someone call Christopher Nolan.

I am curious why he went to see the 3D version of Hugo (or any movie) in the first place.
Without the glasses the projections look really blurry.
posted by Mezentian at 8:20 PM on July 19, 2012 [6 favorites]


So, he liked the movie, then?

Seriously, that's kind of incredible. I don't understand why paying attention to normal things for more than 2 hours (surely he must have, and most of the world is in 3D, no?) wouldn't have the same effect.
posted by axiom at 8:20 PM on July 19, 2012


Wow! I'm pretty sure I'm stereoblind, so am looking forward to seeing some 3-D movies in search of a cure.
posted by Wordwoman at 8:21 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


It mentions him going to the movie with his wife, so that may be why. God knows I drag my girlfriend to enough 3D movies. If he wore the glasses, I think the movie would look like everything else three-dimensional looks to a stereoblind person.

Meanwhile, this guy gained the subective equivalent of superpowers in a way you'd see in a 70s issue of Superman.
posted by griphus at 8:24 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


3d Hugo was really good, trust Scorsese to use it to add depth to the images rather than startle you with stuff popping out of the screen.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:24 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


griphus: "If he wore the glasses, I think the movie would look like everything else three-dimensional looks to a stereoblind person."

Except, you know, much darker and with more ghosting.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:37 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone better warn him that if he watches Clash of the Titans in 3D, he'll go stereoblind again.
posted by roger ackroyd at 8:38 PM on July 19, 2012 [17 favorites]


Irony:

We're sorry but this site is not accessible from the UK as it is part of our international service and is not funded by the licence fee. It is run commercially by BBC Worldwide, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the BBC, the profits made from it go back to BBC programme-makers to help fund great new BBC programmes. You can find out more about BBC Worldwide and its digital activities at www.bbcworldwide.com.

I can't believe I'm being denied access to a BBC article because I live in the UK!
posted by subdee at 8:48 PM on July 19, 2012 [20 favorites]


trust Scorsese to use it to add depth to the images rather than startle you with stuff popping out of the screen.

...and Cameron... and Pixar... and Wenders... and Herzog... and Catherine Owens (who did U23D)....

It's not like Scorsese invented that use of 3D. He did it well, but it was hardly pioneering in concept.
posted by hippybear at 8:49 PM on July 19, 2012


Scorsese is God.
posted by Ardiril at 8:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whoa. As a stereoblind person, I'm rather envious. At least Stereo Sue had to work for it!

He's right about trees: they're big, blurry messes. I literally can't see trees for the forest- the whole thing just blurs together confusingly. Falling snow is pretty but flat.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:02 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow! I'm pretty sure I'm stereoblind, so am looking forward to seeing some 3-D movies in search of a cure.

I am stereo-blind, and I saw Hugo in 3D, because I went with my daughter and it was the only convenient time and place. I am still stereo-blind. I also saw the allegedly stereo-enabling Avatar in 3D to no effect. So don't get your hopes up.

On the other hand, being stereo-blind has its advantages, the main one being that ordinary movies look just like real life.
posted by ubiquity at 9:04 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm not only stereoblind and colordeaf, but also flavournumb and aromadumb. At least I have beer.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:14 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I imagine his sensation must be something similar to what I experienced after I got my first prescription glasses. One second I was looking at a green mess outside my window, and the next it was a beautiful tree with so many individual leaves!

I only discovered that I had a problem when I went to a movie and kept criticizing the cinema for not even having a properly focused projector. My friend, who could see just fine with his glasses, got sick of my complaints and asked me to just try his glasses on for a second. It was, literally, eye opening and I got a check-up done the next day.
posted by vidur at 9:15 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Great, now go read the book, Bridgeman!
posted by nicebookrack at 9:15 PM on July 19, 2012


[which is not to make fun of people who legitimately suffer from the condition, which must legitimately be a pain in the ass, what with poking yourself with forks and stuff]
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 9:16 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another advantage is that perspective drawing is easier if you can't see in 3D. I've never had the impulse to draw impossibly-angled things, and a stereoblind artist friend of mine had the same experience.
posted by BungaDunga at 9:16 PM on July 19, 2012


I imagine his sensation must be something similar to what I experienced after I got my first prescription glasses.

Apparently when I was a little kid and got glasses for the first time, I was speechless with amazement that it was possible to see individual leaves on trees.
posted by Pope Guilty at 9:20 PM on July 19, 2012 [3 favorites]


BungaDunga, I would be fascinated by a depth-perceptionless account of Junji Ito's horrifically angled horror comic / movie Uzumaki.
posted by nicebookrack at 9:21 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


I imagine his sensation must be something similar to what I experienced after I got my first prescription glasses.

Apparently when I was a little kid and got glasses for the first time, I was speechless with amazement that it was possible to see individual leaves on trees.


I forgot to add that my moment of speechlessness and joy came when I was 20. Leaves! So many leaves!
posted by vidur at 9:32 PM on July 19, 2012 [4 favorites]


subdee, I'm getting the same message and I live in the US.
posted by Dr. Eigenvariable at 9:41 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I get that message about the site being blocked in the UK, and I'm in the US. So, guess you can add me to the list of the inexplicable BBC international site block.
posted by krinklyfig at 9:50 PM on July 19, 2012


CoralCache has the same problem, and Google hasn't cached the page, so it looks like most of us are stuck with this excerpt on democraticunderground, of all places.

At first I was blown away by the fact that he's 67. You don't expect neuroplasticity at that age. You don't expect it much after adolescence, really. So I think he's a pretty rare edge case in that he didn't need much of a nudge.

The second thing that surprised me is he's a neurosicentist. What are the odds, eh?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:08 PM on July 19, 2012


[Okay, the link is apparently available again; I deleted and have now undeleted the post, and deleted a bunch of the comments about blocked access. Carry on!]
posted by taz at 11:22 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Here's a blog post about this that includes the text of an email from Dr. Bruce Bridgeman to Oliver Sacks.
posted by taz at 11:25 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Another advantage is that perspective drawing is easier if you can't see in 3D. I've never had the impulse to draw impossibly-angled things, and a stereoblind artist friend of mine had the same experience.

So is it easier or harder to later draw the sleepers of R'lyeh?
posted by rough ashlar at 11:30 PM on July 19, 2012 [1 favorite]


Is the leaves-on-trees thing universal? Because I've had glasses since I was 7, and am now pretty dang blind, but just a couple months ago I got new lenses and my prescription had gone up a full diopter in both eyes, and the first thing I did after putting on the new glasses was look out the window and go "Oh my god! All the leaves on the trees!" And then took five minutes to acclimate to stuff like the texture of the skin on my glasses store sales associate's face. Now that I think about it, I probably do the tree leaves thing every time I get a new prescription.
posted by Mizu at 11:53 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


Related, has anyone had this happen to them:

A couple of months ago, I bought a new tv- 56" Sony, fully 3D capable, the FancyPants 3000 model- and it has some chip on it that does interpolation of frames between frames, something like a 4-to-1 ratio (so, I guess like 96 frames a second?). After I bought it, it was incredibly weird watching TV with the interpolation turned on... it's hard to describe until you see it, but if you've seen the more modern interpolation TVs, you know what I'm talking about.

But even weirder is that for a few days after I first got it, real life started acting like that too: it felt like my eyes were perceiving more "frames per second" when not watching TV, and everything began having that 'effect' to it. Seeing people walk down the street, they seemed smoother, more fluid in their motions, as if I was processing the images off my retina more frequently.

It stopped being so pronounced, and I also disabled that feature for all but certain types of content (Game of Thrones? stupendous with this enabled). But for a while it felt like the TV had trained my eyes to be better at seeing. Or perhaps more accurately- since we stare at 24fps TVs and 60hz laptop screens so much of our day- maybe my eyes were finally remembering what it's like to see the world in its near-infinite frames per second rate.
posted by hincandenza at 11:57 PM on July 19, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a lazy eye and I remember experiencing 3D at Captain EO as a kid.

I haven't gone to any 3D movies recently, assuming I wouldn't be able to see it, but maybe I should.
posted by twjordan at 12:33 AM on July 20, 2012


I haven't gone to any 3D movies recently, assuming I wouldn't be able to see it, but maybe I should.

If I were evil I'd suggest we cobble together some sort of contraption involving straps, a 3D TV with Wrath of The Titans, Clash of the Titans and Ghost Rider 2 on endless repeat.

For science!
posted by Mezentian at 1:02 AM on July 20, 2012


For me it was the stars. Oh, sure, leaves-on-the-trees was nice, but my prescription wasn't that strong (so I could already see most things -- menus at fast-food restaurants were the main problem, honestly) and I wasn't all that impressed. Also I hated the way I looked in glasses. So for years I wore them only when I really needed them (like the movies),

But then one night, in perhaps the 7th grade, I went outside on a dark night and happened to be wearing my glasses. (I grew up in a pretty small town with OK stars.) I looked up. I saw, revealed before me for the first time, the infinite jewelery of the cosmos. I experienced wonder.

From that day forth I have worn my glasses religiously. One day I will get my eyes fixed for good, but for now it's Glasses. All. The. Time. I don't le them get more than arm's reach away or else I get nervous. I can't stand not being able to see every possible detail.

Every detail could be an entire star. We are surrounded by minute acts of profound beauty, and I can't miss a moment.
posted by Scientist at 1:56 AM on July 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


As I live in the UK, I am not allowed to view this. I assume Jon Stewart is in it.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 3:16 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would be fascinated by a depth-perceptionless account...

Stereo-blind is not the same as having no depth perception. We get lots of other depth cues, including the way parallel lines seem to converge in the distance, the way items get bigger as you approach them, and motion parallax, where your brain infers depth from variations in the way something appears in your vision as you or it moves. Not to mention the way people scream out when you come to close to objects.
posted by ubiquity at 6:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Mezentian: " Without the glasses the projections look really blurry."

griphus: "If he wore the glasses, I think the movie would look like everything else three-dimensional looks to a stereoblind person."

The first page of the article says he DID wear the glasses, despite thinking they would be a waste of money.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:05 AM on July 20, 2012


If I were evil I'd suggest we cobble together some sort of contraption

Dude, I didn't need another reminder that Chuck is over, or that the last season was just plain depressing.
posted by Blue_Villain at 7:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If it's even possible, the only experience I can imagine that's remotely analogous would be the first time marijuana got me stoned. The world suddenly snapped to life . . .
posted by eggman at 7:15 AM on July 20, 2012


For centuries, scientists have known that two eyes are better than one.

Science!
posted by cjorgensen at 9:08 AM on July 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


What I want to know is if he can see the sailboat now.
posted by radwolf76 at 9:42 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


As someone who doesn't see stereo, stereovision seems to me little more than a neat trick. But it is suprising how little my ability to interact with the world is impaired by being "stereoblind" - or at least it seems to me. Outside "3D" movie theaters, the issue rarely comes up. What is it good for really? The ability of stereovision seems a gimmick of nature. My lack of it doesn't even seem to make me a worse driver. The other clues mentioned above are more than enough to assess the distance of obstacles. On the other hand, I like to blame driving errors on my lack of depth vision. Of course I never had stereovision so I wouldn't know what it would be like to have it. Seeing depth does sound great.
posted by faustdick at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


In Stereo Sue’s case, the 3D just popped. She was driving home from the clinic when she first felt it. Space yawned open and the steering wheel just started to hover out in front of her.

I'd imagine driving to be one of the least opportune moments for this to happen.
posted by tetsuo at 2:02 PM on July 20, 2012


“It turns out that the one-eyed view of the world is deceptive,” says McKee. If you ask people with normal stereovision to close one eye and judge the position of objects along the line of sight, they are terribly imprecise, even if they shake their heads to create motion parallax. “I compared their one-eyed judgments to their two-eyed judgments and found that their two-eyed judgments were five to 10 times better,” says McKee.

I'm (mostly) stereoblind. What strikes me here is that he didn't test the perception ability of stereoblind people. I would guess that we're significantly better at monocular depth perception than people who aren't stereoblind. We practice it all the time. As it stands, that statistic doesn't strike me as particularly useful for comparing stereoblind to non-stereoblind depth perception ability.


> As someone who doesn't see stereo, stereovision seems to me little more than a neat trick.

When I was a kid, I loved the silly 3D movies that they have in theme parks. The exaggerated 3D would pop in a way the real world never did for me. I always regarded it as kind of a cool optical illusion though - I never realized that that was how other people saw stuff all the time.
posted by Arturus at 2:10 PM on July 20, 2012


So, as someone who is completely stereoblind, I find this article a bit... condescending? I mean, I'm sure that stereoscopic vision is awesome and maybe Hugo is a great movie, but somehow I manage to live a full, content life, nonetheless. Seconding faustdick above, what's the big deal?

My "depth perception" is fine. I played baseball as a kid (reasonably well), drive a car with no problems, and I kick ass at ping pong. Stereo Sue and the like can gush about the orgasm-inducing magic of "true stereo," but when the premise of these articles is that stereoblind people live terrible, boring, flat lives whose only excitement is bumping into objects and inadvertently driving their cars into trees, it makes me think that the whole thing is based on a ludicrously false dichotomy.

Fun fact: one more advantage of being stereoblind is playing ping-pong with one eye closed. Challenge a "normal" friend to a one-eyed ping pong match and you can feel like you have momentarily left the morlock-esque existence that is the reality for us terribly challenged stereoblind outcasts.
posted by artichoke_enthusiast at 11:17 PM on July 20, 2012


tetsuo: "In Stereo Sue’s case, the 3D just popped. She was driving home from the clinic when she first felt it. Space yawned open and the steering wheel just started to hover out in front of her.

I'd imagine driving to be one of the least opportune moments for this to happen.
"

Actually, and I'm sure that this has been brought up somewhere before, if it was more prone to happen because of the concentration needed for driving, like if it was just going to "bang -- start", it would have to be at an inopportune time.

Likewise, not to re-argue the "3D movies suck, amrite?" argument again, but I can't help but wonder if it was the quality of 3D (good, I thought) that made this happen with Hugo.

griphus: " Meanwhile, this guy gained the subective equivalent of superpowers in a way you'd see in a 70s issue of Superman."

Doubly odd because Dr. Bruce Bridgeman sounds a lot like a comic book hero's name.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:36 AM on July 21, 2012


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