Category Archives: Research

Viewers’ perception of Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) cinema

 

 

S3D has been around for many years since 1890 when the first stereoscopic production was patented involving two films projected side-by-side and viewed on a stereoscope, since then, there has been a slow growth in terms of technology, better understanding among viewers, complexity in production and delivery of S3D films. For this reason it may be argued that the end product tends to be pricey compared to 2D films. A lot of independent filmmakers are involved in producing award winning 2D films and their numbers are increasing at a rate not comparable to S3D films created by big production houses, which may possess all the resources needed to produce a S3D film. Because of the complexity of the process involved in S3D film production, and time and costs involved in delivery of such films to the cinemas, it is interesting to find out what the audience thinks about the S3D experience as opposed to the traditional 2D.

An online survey was carried out to gather viewers’ opinions about S3D cinema experience and 214 people participated of which 84% of them had watched a S3D film. The participants’ backgrounds and professions ranged from finance professionals, acousticians, civil engineers and filmmakers amongst others, 78% of them were males and the majority was between 21-29 years of age. Europe had the highest number of participants (65%). When participants were asked about how often they are going to the cinema, 54% of the participants responded “once a month” with only 2% “more than once a week”.

From the S3D films that have been milestones (Fig 1) in the last 10 years, Avatar has been the most watched by 34% of the participants; Hugo comes second at 16%. Although other S3D films and conversions from 2D to S3D were released between the three years period between Avatar and Hugo, these two remain the major milestones in S3D filmmaking. Some critiques have admitted that Hugo has finally made 3D worth it, rather than another S3D film to make more money.

Figure 1: The number of 3D movies watched in 5 years

The cost of watching a film in 3D at the cinema was mentioned by a number of participants. More than 10 participants expressed concerns with regards to the price of these films.

“The cost, when 3D films first came to the cinema you paid an extra 3-4 pounds and got the glasses for free. As time went on, you pay more to watch the film and then they sting you on the glasses as well. I am against profiteering in any form.”

“I don’t feel it adds that much in the experience to justify the increased price.”

Whereas some participants do not consider price an issue:

“It’s the best format (so far) for films, and I’ll always choose it if given the choice, even when it costs a little more.”

Nevertheless, the majority of participants in this survey spoke favourably about their S3D experiences. Over 50% of the responses indicate that S3D gave people a better visual experience, while 50% of them felt that 3D offered them a more immersive experience and 40% thought that it was more engaging and enhanced the viewing experience especially when the S3D film included action scenes (Fig. 2):

“Given the choice, I only tend to choose 3D when there is something about the film that can really be enhanced by 3D i.e. action, explosions, good or graphics. If it was a simple comedy or romantic comedy, I would choose 2D.”

Even with the issue of discomfort posed by the use of glasses, the experience of S3D for most of the respondents prevails:

“Stereoscopic 3D is normal vision. Flat 2D is an abstraction. Therefore 3D permits involvement with the story without the distraction of having to visually interpolate natural vision. There are many, many other reasons as well, including the impression of immersion, which also helps the storyline.  In general, it is a much more enjoyable experience.”

 

Fig 2


Figure 2: Description of 3D Viewing Experience

However, some concerns were also raised on how uncomfortable having to wear the polarised glasses for viewing S3D could be. More than 20 participants articulated that they struggle with the distraction of glasses and some times they have to constantly take them off and back on again. This often results in headaches and on extreme cases, nausea. A couple of participants with bad eyesight and one with Amblyopia (Lazy Eye) said the use of glasses would never work particularly for them and any other individuals with the same condition therefore S3D is not appropriate for them. Some argued that immersiveness could be brought out in a film without the need for flashy special effects or ‘cosmetic’ tricks:

“…it turns film-watching into a ‘theme ride’ activity rather than enjoying the art.”

And so far S3D drawbacks:

“Outweigh the moment when the spear, the fist, the hammer, the snake, the gun barrel, the fruit and the wood plank lunge at me for a cheap thrill.”

Some participants commented that the conversion of 2D films to S3D is cheating the viewers in the sense that S3D film’s storyline is normally written with visual effects to increase depth in mind, therefore 2D conversions to S3D priced the same with an original S3D seem like ripping off the viewers:

“Most 3D films have it applied afterwards (not shot in 3D) so I don’t see the point in paying extra for the gimmick”.

To add on to this, some non-supporters of S3D commented that more effort is put on the technical part of the production rather than the plot of the story, which makes the storyline of most of these films shallow.

Although respondents cited some disadvantages of S3D (Table 1), 62% of them would choose to watch a S3D film to a traditional 2D. This may mean that, although S3D viewing may have its flaws, it is still being favoured compared to 2D viewing.

Also, despite the fact that 3D television sets may still be costly compared to an ordinary set, 56% of participants would buy one and anticipate that if the S3D viewing experience moved into homes, it may reduce the cost of cinema tickets. 19% replied that they already own a 3D TV set and have a better understanding of the technology behind S3D:

“I own two, 3D televisions, 1 passive polarized and another active shutter, both are nice but I prefer the passive polarized.”

However most of the 44% who would not buy a 3D TV set think that it is too expensive and the technology is unnecessary and it has been described as a technological gimmick to maximise the profit of some companies.

Table 1: Choice between watching a 2D or S3D and preference of TV set

Question: Choice between a film being shown in 2D or 3D 9 (with glasses) at a cinema

Answer

Response

%

Traditional 2D

59

38%

Stereoscopic 3D (with glasses).

96

62%

Total

155

100%

Question: Preference of a TV set with 3D compatibility

Answer

Response

%

Yes

76

56%

No

60

44%

Total

136

100%

This survey analysed the opinions of 214 people with regards to S3D film watching experience. From the results of this survey the majority of participants agree that S3D viewing supersedes 2D viewing. However, in order to improve this experience even further to remedy the issues caused by uncomfortable glasses, cost or the issue of the picture being ‘too dark’, and to make the technology more inclusive (for people with eyesight problems) more research and development need to be done in this area. This entails technological companies and research institutions to come up with advanced solutions to facilitate the process of capturing, editing and delivery of S3D films, as well as to improve the viewing experience. One may argue that if there is a faster, easier way of producing a fairly good product, the cost could be reduced greatly.

This research is not comprehensive, but it offers an insight into the viewers’ perception of S3D films and consequently brings up some issues that need to be considered and addressed in further research.

This is my analysis of findings from a research study carried out through a survey that Sharon George and I designed. 

 

Spreadable Media Artefact 3

For my third Spreadable Media Artefact, I am writing about the Research Project on Stereoscopic 3D (S3D) that i explained in detail here. This is a research on viewers perception regarding the future of S3D. For this project my classmate, Sharon and I have chosen to get our primary data through a qualitative research method. For this method, we formulated a questionnaire in the hope of getting opinions from respondents. When this survey was ready and passed by Dr Patera, the next task was to get responses. For this kind of research to work out well, it requires a substantial number of responses to validate the results. At the time, an online survey seemed to work well with the time frame that the survey had to be filled in, result analysed and then write a journal paper on the the subject. Lectures from Social Tech module about spreadability came in hand. The survey was pushed on Facebook, Twitter and email just to mention a few. I asked my followers on twitter to re-tweet the survey  using hash-tags; #3D, #stereoscopic #mscret.  within 72 hours a hundred responses were realised and an online magazine 3Droundabout and Stereoscopy News picked this up and within 5 days they both had made articles in their magazines about why the research was being carried out and where to find the survey. Through social sites, relevant and influential people were able to pick the survey and they further increased the spreadability by positing on their website.This process proved very useful on the research by reaching a different crowd from my social sites of probably more friends and family rather than a different one, perhaps consisting of a professional crowd. Since carrying out this survey, I have had tutors and classmates forwarding links related to S3D, for example there has been a call out for a journal paper here,

I am considering sending one or both.

P Woods, Faculty of Education, University of Plymouth, 2006 http://www.edu.plymouth.ac.uk/resined/qualitative%20methods%202/qualrshm.htm.

Research Project update

A few weeks ago I posted a blog explaining one of my research projects here. This research in ‘The Future of Stereoscopic 3D’ has been a very interesting journey although quite involving. Sharon George and I have created a questionnaire survey  using one of the online survey softwares, Qualtrics. We formulated questions and went through our supervisor for approval. We then made it live but the challenge was to make it available to as many people as possible from anywhere in the world. I have just realised that what I have been learning in the Social Technologies module has surely made the publicising of this survey link more manageable. The use of hash tags on tweeter has proved very effective in this operation. With the hash tags used for example #3D or #stereoscopic, the survey got picked by an online 3D magazine 3Droundabout. The publisher made contact with us to run an article in the magazine with a brief overview of the research why we are carrying out this particular research and also a little bit about us the researchers. The article can be found here. Another online 3D stereoscopy news website picked the tweets about the survey and made another article here. We are using social sites, emails, and even word of mouth and just letting people know where to get the survey.  In 24 hours the survey had reached almost 80 responses.

When we created the survey, we included contact details and there has been very positive responses from respondents. For most of these emails, common is a question of whether we are going to be publicising the results and when. Considering the presented interests on the subject by the respondents, we will be publicising the results. Up to now we have 133 responses, and counting. We anticipate to close the survey in a week and a half’s time then start statistical analysis and then concluding on the research question ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of Film making’.

The survey can be found here.

Internet Research Ethics

Halfway through the semester, the Research in Emerging Technologies: Social Tech class has curated content from all blog posts on Ethics of Internet Research by the class and information from #mscret touching on this topic. This collaborative work has yielded a database of different thoughts on areas covered in this module. This curated media is what I will be discussing about in this post, backing up with other sources and citing my own thoughts about the subject.

A progressive change of the Internet has seen a shift in to its application by users.

“…as the Internet has evolved into a more social and communicative tool and venue, the ethical issues have shifted from purely data driven to more human-centred.” (Buchanan, Elizabeth A. and Zimmer, Michael 2012).

The wide usage and accessibility to the internet and provision of instant information has contributed to on-line researches. The use of emails, forums or instant messaging(to mention a few) offers direct contact to relevant people in the line of research or subject area expects. This research may range form ‘looking something up’ on the web, for example the meaning of a word, to gathering information for personal understanding for example, how far in mileage is Oxford from London, to students researching for an academic paper/journal. However the authenticity of the information gathered can be a problem, but this depends on the skills of the researcher to filter unnecessary data and identify the authors’ credentials. For a scientific research method involving gathering measurable evidence by conducting test end experiments on humans and animals. As discussed earlier about ease of internet accessibility, direct contact to relevant individuals in the area of study has resulted in some human subject based test or experiments carried out on-line. This may seem as arguably an easy way for large samples of human subjects testing with a possibility of diverse crowd rather than an area limited group whose data is automatically coded reducing human error not forgetting cost effectiveness. However, there is risk of repeated participation, subjects dropping out of the test, or start the test, stop and join after a while or even rush through the test. To overcome some of these detriments an email address can be requested from subjects at least to lessen multiple participation but not so much of a solution with individuals having more than one email account. For a ‘dropping out’ drawback, an incentive could be offered to the subject, if they agree to give their contact details they could be entered in a draw to win a prize. In one of our guest Lectures, Professor Trevor Cox in his talk Psychoacoustic Testing: Web vs Laboratory to my class, gave us an exercise to fill in an on-line questioner on Speech in Noise Experiment and at the end of the experiment there was a choice of entering into a draw to win an Amazon voucher. Some researchers may suggest that subjects give email addresses if they are willing to take part in other experiments in future or interested in knowing the result of the experiment and this email address will be the only link between the subject and researcher..

  • The honours now is on the researcher to ensure that the information presented to them is used appropriately and contacts stored securely. The researcher should ensure that privacy is maintained with the data captured because some experiments will ask sensitive issues from subjects and if there is no anonymity then data confidentiality should be in practice so that there is no harm to subjects by exposing their sensitive information.
  • For ‘cloud computing’ based experiments for example where information is shared on an on-line drive for example Google docs or on-line sharing platforms like Drop box,steps must be taken to ensure that only authorised individuals have access to the ‘cloud’.
  • For Experiments involving Minors there may be need for parental consent depending on which country the experiment is being carried out in.
  • Briefly giving a clear and understandable explanation of the purpose of the research and why the research is being carried out and how the data is going to be used before hand then subjects will have to willingly agree to be tested on and have a choice of opting out at any time probably without having to explain themselves.

For our research project, ‘Is stereoscopic 3D the Future of Film making’, Sharon and I have made a given out an information sheet and consent form, explaining what the research is all about, confidentiality and safety data giving an opt out option with out any explanation if subjects do wish so here.

Bibliography

Buchanan, Elizabeth A. and Zimmer, Michael, “Internet Research Ethics”, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Winter 2012 Edition), Edward N. Zalta (ed.), URL: http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/win2012/entries/ethics-internet-research/.

Interdisciplinary research

In preparation for my main Dissertation, I have a mini research I am carrying out with another student as mentioned in my earlier Blogs. Dr Marianne Patera, my tutor, organised a speaker, Dr Bill Davies, to come and talk to us about Interdisciplinary Research. This is the kind of topic I have not gone into depth during my 1st degree course. We discussed about how to formulate a research question and make a hypothesis. To evaluate this discussion, we went into small groups to form a research question then make a Hypothesis. Clare Wells, Sharon George and I discussed about the use of disposable foam ear plugs provided by employers in Clubs and Pubs for their staff. We thought up to what extent are their ears protected from the loud sounds they are subjected to during their hours at work. This is an issue Claire discussed with her friends who raised concerns about how they think their ears are being damaged at their work place. Well for us this seemed like a good research topic to make a hypothesis for. Now we looked at the methodology for data collection that will result in us concluding if this group of people are having their ears damaged or not first. We found out that for more accurate results, this research was going to be carried out once per three months for a longer period or years even, with the same staff, in the same club with the same kind of PA system, same acoustic environment and possibly same music with same dB output. Straight away we knew this will be a very complex research considering staff rotation, different kind of music played every time, number of punters in the club changing the acoustics of the room and so forth. Now for me this was a very good lesson and it has changed my approach to how researches are done and what one has to be wary of before engaging in any research. I’m definitely will not be researching on how club staff ears are being damaged regardless of them wearing protective foam ear plugs in my 3rd semester :).

Dr Davies went on to discuss the Epistemologies that we could try on our research. This is a broad subject and can take a long time to write about. I will just mention them for the benefit of those who will want to research and maybe, find out more on the subject.

Positivism This is normally an Objective approach resulting in Quantifiable Data which can be gathered through measurements for example by carrying out Listening tests on “subjects” or acoustic measurements.

Exploratory
This is normally a Subjective approach that result in gathering of Qualitative Data by Interviewing “Participants”.

Artistic
This is a Relativism approach normally based on Individual experience.

To end the lecture Dr Davies explained why it is important to focus on more methods of Data collection, simply because every method may present different and interesting results for example, surveys , interviews, test and measurement. A the end of the day the Research question normally will determine which kind of methodology to use

The Ethics of Internet Research

“The Internet is the most comprehensive electronic archive of written material representing our world and people’s opinions, concerns and desires” (Eysenbach and Till, 2001).

Since the Internet started, there have been a lot of information posted by Governments, Companies, Religious organisations and even individuals. To date there is an unbelievable amount of data on possibly every subject on earth, even questions on almost anything that comes to anyone’s mind. A million dollar question will always be there; ‘How much of this Data on the World Wide Web is credible?. Even after knowing how credible certain information is, how then can it be used in Academic Research.

On another hand, any Researcher can carry out an Internet Research. In many countries across the world, almost anyone can access any information by the click of a button, fair enough, with papers, e-books and journals, one has to reference when such information is used for academic research but when it comes to using Social Data, there are a lot of controversies involved. My tutor Helen Keegan explained to us in today’s lecture how important it is to get an Informed Consent before one can use any information gathered from individuals through the internet. This lecture has come at a very good point on my studying when my research partner Sharon George and I have to send out an electronic survey to participants on our Research; ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of Film-making?’. With the consent, we are basically letting our participant know; the purpose of the study, possible benefits or harms of participation, how we are going to use the content and how we are going to protect their identities as well as clearly indicating how one can opt out of this participation. There is a lot that goes beyond this informed consent, the fact that we have to assess the risks we may be putting our participants in, if there are any and how we intend to protect them against such risks. Seems fair on both parties really, not mentioning being legal in this part of the world.

Academic Research

For my course, MSc Digital media: Video, Audio & Social Technologies, one of the modules I am studying requires me to undertake a mini project. I was presented with 11 topics to choose from. Now my background is Audio Production and I would rather involve myself in other fields of the industry, therefore I chose the film-making project supervised by dedicated tutor Dr Marianne Patera  @Maz_Pat. The research question is, ‘Is Stereoscopic 3D the future of film-making?’. This research project is about analysing the view of both supporters and non-supporters of the mentioned question. I should include a brief explanation of the technology involved in Stereo 3D film making and films that have been the milestones from the early stages until today. I should discuss the advantages and disadvantages of stereoscopic viewing and further verified by conducting a survey to gauge the general public’s preferences. I have watched a few 3D movies and have loved them. I do not understand much about the whole process of stereoscopic 3D, so it means I have to start working and finding answers.

Now for me this is a challenge coming from an Audio background. I have started creating a list of sources I think will be necessary for this academic research. Thanks to my Tutor Cristina Costa @cristinacost, i can now save all my bookmarks on Diigo. What a fantastic and neat way of saving all relevant sites and accessing them from any computer. This is so much better, I have got rid of pen and paper 🙂