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The Future of Cinema - 'Real' 3D 193

GunSlinger writes "The IGN movies site is running a story on an old movie concept seeing a resurgence. 3D movies are making a cinematic comeback via new, more sophisticated techniques. Yes, you still wear glasses. No you don't get a headache. Yes, the effect is fantastic. This story looks at the technology, past and future projects, and why just about every major studio is now planning in three dimensions. 'There is indeed a revolution in cinema taking place. It's quietly slipped under the radar of most technophiles, beginning its assault on the way we consume media clothed in thoroughly unassuming garb -- the Disney Digital 3-D film, Meet the Robinsons ... no, we don't blame you for being skeptical. Most people in their mid-20s or later think of 3-D movies from the old school perspective -- goofy red and blue coloured glasses, strained eyes, possible migraines. And most importantly, a so-so 3-D effect. No more.'"
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The Future of Cinema - 'Real' 3D

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  • by packeteer ( 566398 ) <packeteer@subdim ... m ['on.' in gap]> on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:37AM (#18925077)
    3D is boring...

    When is it going to plug directly in to my head already?
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      You must be new to the Matrix.
    • by Yvanhoe ( 564877 )
      I concur. Graft'n Play is the future. And we'll need linux drivers.
      • And we'll need linux drivers.

        Because if we don't, "Graft'n Play" is going to give a new meaning to the word "Death" in the expression "Blue Screen Of Death" !

    • Be worth my time to go to a theatre again.

      I used to really enjoy going to the movies... it's just too damned hard to find one with sound comparable to my home system, clarity comparable to my flatscreen, and sanitary standards of some sort. My home system is a total patchwork of commodity parts, not high end by any means.

      Not to hold up progress or anything, but the theaters in my area have more pressing concerns than getting a 3d system in place... Like the basics.

      A 3d system like this might get one visit
  • cause as soon as you move it, the scene will fail to change and the illusion is lost.

    Call me when you can give me 3d that I can walk around.. aka white light holograms.

    • by Mr2001 ( 90979 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:59AM (#18925201) Homepage Journal

      Forget the ancient red and blue though, as Real D uses "a specially polarized type of eyewear called circular polarized lens, which is very different from traditional 3-D in that it allows you to tip your head without losing the 3-D effect -- something you can't do with typical 3-D systems."
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by QuantumG ( 50515 )
        That is *not* what I am talking about.

        I'm talking about the fact that when I am in two different physical location, what I see is different. I'm talking about poking my head around a corner to see what is coming.

        • yes that's what we need. people walking around in pitch black movie theatres.
        • Don't know which movie theaters you go to, but the ones I go to are basically big boxes, with a tilted floor for better viewing. One very important feature of these rooms is the lack of corners. Anyway, to get to the point: you will still be looking at the picture from a certain viewpoint, the one of the camera persons to be precise. This is not VR, these are movies, you know? Get yourself a VR helmet to look around corners (and possibly shoot some virtual people).
      • by DrYak ( 748999 )
        This "circular" polarization only solves problem with head tilting.

        Another factor which is order of magnitude more important in depth perception is the parallax effect : When you move the coordinates of the point of view (be it because you made a step on one side OR because you slightly turned you head and your eyes aren't at the same position down to the milimeter), the object that are neerer in your field of view appear to "move" much more than those that are farther away.

        It's how the sensation of "depth"
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by bodan ( 619290 )
          You're mostly right about the LCD panels -- they can't fix this without head-tracking. Head-tracking would work very well, I think, with something like the Wii's sensor on the glasses, but only for a single viewer.

          However, for cinema I think it's less important, as the scenes are generally "far away" and the viewers "not very mobile", thus the brain expects very little parallax change.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Mprx ( 82435 )
            The scenes are generally *not* far away, because then you'll have very little stereoscopic depth information, and the 3d effect will be wasted. Almost all 3d movies feature objects flying very close to the viewers, because it gives a much more impressive 3d effect.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by timeOday ( 582209 )
          But the inability to change perspective has nothing to do with 3d in particular. Current 2d movies don't let you roam around freely, either. It's the director who composes the shots.
        • by maxwell demon ( 590494 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @10:20AM (#18927331) Journal

          This "circular" polarization only solves problem with head tilting.

          Indeed, it doesn't even do that. If you tilt your head, the images of the movie your eyes get will still be shifted horizontally in respect to the ground, instead of in respect to your head (after all, there are only those two images, and the camera doesn't know about your head movement). Since stereo seeing in your brain works through the horizontal displacement in respect of your eyes, tilting your head will make the 3D effect go away.

          Now you might argue that the 3D effect won't go away if you don't tilt your head too much, but then, in that case you also don't get noticeable wrong-eye images with linearly polarized light.
        • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @10:32AM (#18927447) Homepage Journal
          This CAN'T be done with traditional 3D cinema (because there are only 2 different image projected on the screen, they don't change as the head moves).

          I think I've got a way to get round this. How about having actual objects that the audience watch, a real set, and real actors performing the storyline?
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by HTH NE1 ( 675604 )

          This "circular" polarization only solves problem with head tilting.
          Why would I be tilting my head?

          Oh, right: porn.
    • by Jott42 ( 702470 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:01AM (#18925209)
      And this is the problem of all "stereo"-picture technologies today, with the exception of holograms: they only take one of many depth cues that the brain use into account. The movement of the head is important, and it is not only large movements, but also small, almost imperceptible rotations of the head that are important. (You can test this yourself: close one eye and note how what you see changes if you rotate your head as little as possible.) Another depth cue that is not covered is the focus of the eye: you will always have a contradiction in you head (which may give you a headace) as your eye has to be focused on the screen, but the depth information from the difference in the viewed images on the right and left eye tells you otherwise. As long as these other cues are not alse given, you will have the "cut out pictures stacked behind each other" persception of 3D in the cinema.
    • by JohnFluxx ( 413620 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:13AM (#18925269)
      If you had enough money, you could make a true holographic screen. But for a high resolution (1280x1024) 1 square inch screen it costs about $1200. Times 3 of them to do RGB. Plus a computer to drive it. And that's just for 1 square inch.

      But totally doable, if you had the money.

      [ My PhD is in holography, and I work for a that prints digital holograms ]
      • by QuantumG ( 50515 )
        Can you recommend any papers?

        The most impressive hologram technology I've ever seen was, strangely, at the Genomics display at the NYC Museum of Natural History. They had a holographic plate of a vial (the kind you stick needles into) which you could try to pick up with your bare hand and it would pass through like a ghost. Had nothing to do with the exhibit of course, but it was damn cool.

      • by novus ordo ( 843883 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:49AM (#18925645) Journal
        Already done []. Covered a bit more in my journal. I'm still piqued that the movie studios haven't caught on to this. It would be expensive to film though. You would essentially need to create a working model from live shots, but it's not so far out there. Just that it's much easier to manipulate the markets than offer revolutionary technology that would keep the theaters packed.
      • In a movie-theater, you'd probably not go for a 1280 dots/inch resolution. That's only needed if you're going to watch the screen at a 1 inch distance.
        • You need the high resolution to make it 3D. You need to be able to manipulate the direction of light. You are basically displaying a picture of a hologram. And so it is a hologram.
    • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
      cause as soon as you move it, the scene will fail to change and the illusion is lost.

      Call me when you can give me 3d that I can walk around.. aka white light holograms.

      The illusion isn't lost, but the experience is as if the universe in front of you just got skewed a little.

      Cinematographically speaking, having a fixed set of pictures for you both eyes is a LOT , A LOT better for a movie than a "3d that I can walk around.. aka white light holograms", as it means the moviemaker has control over depth of field
      • Yeah man.. this concept of watching 3d figures on a stage of some kind.. it'll never take off.

        • by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
          Yeah man.. this concept of watching 3d figures on a stage of some kind.. it'll never take off.

          You're hinting at the fact that people think of theatre as some sort of 3D cinema? Wow, how shallow and misunderstood :P
          • by vidarh ( 309115 )
            Or he is hinting at an application for proper 3D. I don't go to the theatre often, but I'm perfectly aware how different the experience is. I've also seen enough filmed plays to know that getting proper 3D effects would make it a hell of a lot better. For one, being able to change focus and concentrate on different parts of the scene does make a lot of difference. So while a lot of movies wouldn't gain all that much from proper 3D, there are a lot of things that would.
      • by vux984 ( 928602 )
        I don't imagine that "hologram" kind of cinema will ever pick up.

        Yeah, the ability to rotate the scene, zoom in and out, nobody would ever want that.

        If only there was an application for the technology in porn...

        Oh wait. ;)

        Not to mention sports.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by yruf ( 463879 )
      Just RTFA!

      [...]as Real D uses "a specially polarized type of eyewear called circular polarized lens, which is very different from traditional 3-D in that it allows you to tip your head without losing the 3-D effect[...]
      I've actually seen two different films in Real D 3D and found it to be very good. If you turn your head the 3d effect gets smaller, but it certainly doesn't break suddenly. You forget those glasses after a little while and get into it fairly well.
  • Not really (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Zouden ( 232738 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:40AM (#18925097)
    3D cinema will never be accepted while you need to wear those cheap paper glasses. It will always be a gimmick. It doesn't matter if a major studio releases a children's school-holidays blockbuster in 3D - in fact that just makes it more gimmicky.
    Wake me up when a 3D film wins an Oscar for Best Picture.
    • Re:Not really (Score:5, Insightful)

      by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:43AM (#18925109)
      You have to run before you can walk. "Talkies" used to be seen as a gimmick too.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Solokron ( 198043 )
      It appears someone did not RTFA. The new glasses are not paper nor do they look bad at all. They are also not colored like ones of old. Creating a film with a visual perspective with two cameras as eyes, and not just shifting an image an inch with different colors is really impressive and I do see a future in this, this time around!
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by SpeedyDX ( 1014595 )
        I mentioned this marginally in another thread, but it never hurts to clarify.

        Those glasses are indeed plastic, and not paper. They seem like they're built to withstand a bit of punishment. However, that in itself presents several other problems. As more and more people wear those glasses, they get grimier and dirtier. When I went to the Superman Returns IMAX showing, they had some "3D" scenes that were based on this technology, as far as I can tell by RTFA. The glasses handed to me were full of crap, and I
        • This is not the same technology that was used in Superman Returns for IMAX 3D. For the IMAX version, they used "proprietary 2D to 3D conversion technology []." It wasn't actually filmed with stereoscopic cameras. IMAX 3D also only does 48 frames per second [] instead of 144, and as far as I can tell does not use the radial polarization that Real D uses.

          What IMAX seems to use is just the standard current 3D technology, which uses polarized lenses rotated 90 from one another. I've not seen Real D in action, and I h
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by suv4x4 ( 956391 )
      3D cinema will never be accepted while you need to wear those cheap paper glasses. It will always be a gimmick. It doesn't matter if a major studio releases a children's school-holidays blockbuster in 3D - in fact that just makes it more gimmicky.
      Wake me up when a 3D film wins an Oscar for Best Picture.

      The first even movie was simply a moving train and people moving.

      Then lots of years of news reports and gimmicky comedies followed (Chaplin anyone? I'm not sure his work is Oscar worthy but..).

      First comes tec
      • by svunt ( 916464 )

        Then lots of years of news reports and gimmicky comedies followed (Chaplin anyone? I'm not sure his work is Oscar worthy but..).

        Chaplin won a regular Oscar, two honorary Oscars, and a further three nominations, along with numerous other honours [].

        Chaplin wrote, directed and starred in highly critically acclaimed films like The Great Dictator [] and Modern Times [], both of which are in the IMDB's top 250 films of all time.

        You can't dismiss Chaplin as gimmicky comedy, that's just not fair.

        • Chaplin began is career with gimmicky commedy. Haven't you seen his Tramp's early short movies? They are mostly based on slapstick. It wasn't until he began making long movies that his storytelling developed, and much the same can be said about long movies in general. So GP post describing the cinema scene as "years of news reports and gimmicky comedies" is accurate.
    • That's the first thing that came to my mind when I saw the headline.

      They are hoping it will be somehow harder to copy 3D movies. It's not. So if that's the motivation behind this push then they can forget it.
      • by jez9999 ( 618189 )
        No, but at least initially, it will be a lot harder to play back 3d movies without expensive equipment.
        • by demi ( 17616 )

          Yes, and this isn't some secret, either. The issue is that "the theater experience" is less attractive these days, due to a variety of insults, such as home theater, better TV, worse movies, whatever. People in the movie business have said a number of times that they're looking to bring technology into the theater that will jazz it up beyond what people can get at home, to get them to come back to the movies.

  • by koreaman ( 835838 ) <> on Monday April 30, 2007 @04:49AM (#18925141)
    Anybody got a screenshot?
  • ..the polarized glasses, that produce a so-so effect that induces migranes? It's been around for years. It's always been pretty average.
  • by Rothron the Wise ( 171030 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:01AM (#18925215)
    One of the problem with 3D cinema is that it sometimes provides counter-intuitive cues to the viewer. When you see a 2D film, there is nothing in the film telling you the size of the objects. Large objects may be large because they are close to you, and small objects may be small because they are far away. You don't break suspension of disbelief when an actors face covers half the screen, because it's similar to standing close to a person.

    When 3D is added, all this breaks down. An actor in close up suddenly becomes a giant. Everything changes size radically from shot to shot.
    3D might be great for large vistas, but if you just insert 3D into a normal film, then you detract much from the visual language of film that we've gotten used to, as many of the shots become so disturbing.

    Another drawback with 3D is that your eyes will attempt to focus at out of focus areas because the depth cues are there, but of course the focus is fixed
    and cannot be changed and fatigue is the result. In a 3D generated film, it's possible to keep everything in focus at the same time, but for live action this is simply not practical.
    • by RegularFry ( 137639 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:40AM (#18925393)
      That just means the film-makers need to learn to shoot for the new medium, rather than applying 2D techniques. In a way, it's back to play performances, where you also haven't got scale to play with (at least, not in the same way as you have with 2D).
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        That just means the film-makers need to learn to shoot for the new medium

        This was a few years back, but when I saw one of the Imax 3D movies (some girl goes back in time and sees a bunch of dinosaurs) I realized that some new conventions would be needed for 3D films. When you're looking at a 2D movie, all the action is in one plane, and your eyes can easily focus on that distance.

        But a cross-fade in 3D broke my brain. I couldn't figure out where to focus as some objects were getting transparent and fadi

    • Yes absolutely -- but I would suggest that 3d cinema ignores something even more fundamental: the reality of a film is created in the mind's eye of the viewer. What makes it more real is making a better damn film.

      I've seen the "new" 3d and it gave me as much of a headache and was as annoying as say 3d IMAX. It's a briefly amusing gimmick.

      Incidentally, in an industry demo, I've seen the opening 5 minutes of the original Star Wars movie, digitally "made 3d". If it's going to work anywhere, it'll work th
  • by McVerne ( 38715 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:03AM (#18925219) Homepage
    I saw Meet the Robinsons in 3D the other week.

    Shoddy glasses?
    The glasses were not paper/cardboard. They looked like plastic sunglasses.

    Already wearing glasses?
    I wear corrective glasses and the 3d glasses fit fine over them.

    Can't move your head?
    No, you don't have to keep your head still. You can turn your head without bluring or motion sickness.

    The 3d effect is stunning. This is miles beyond the old cardboard red/blue glasses.

    • What I'm asking myself how that experience will be for people like me. I have about normal sight in my left eye but the right one is thoroughly fucked. Not only is it only about 20% as strong as the left eye but it also is several degrees off to the right.
      Now I can deal with never actually watching 3D (normal movies for me are quite realistic... I don't see more depth in the real world anyway) but I'm a tad scared what I'd do if they all started shooting in 3D only. I tried the crappy paper glasses once and
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Aladrin ( 926209 )
        I'm going to assume you've never seen the non-red/blue glasses at work. While the very vocal people on here are complaining about how the polarized glasses gave them headaches, most people had no issue with them at all. I certainly never did, and I saw Captain EO, that stupid Kodak thing, and Honey I Shrunk the Audience dozens of times. (Gotta love living in Florida.)

        Each eye sees a different image on the screen. If you close one eye, it's just like closing 1 eye in real life. You get that image only.
      • Putting a patch over one eye (and still wearing the 3D glasses) ought to solve any problems caused by the 3D effect. With the projection technology on Meet the Robinsons, I didn't notice any bleed-thru of the "other" image on either eye, so you should end up simply seeing a single 2D image, just like ye olde flat cinematographie.
        • by theguru ( 70699 )
          Agreed. My wife tends to get motion sickness in IMAX and 3D type movies.. combine the two and we're got bigger trouble. With the polarized technology, she was able to watch Meet the Robinsons without a problem. If the effects ever bothered her, she could close one eye and watch it in 2D. No noticeable blur, nothing lost except the illusion of depth.
  • Grasping at straws (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheetah ( 9485 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:04AM (#18925231)
    Or at least that is how all of this talk about 3D sounds like to me... The industry feels like it needs something to bring people back into the movie house. Lets see, good movies at lower prices or 3D with the same crap movies and high prices. Guess which one they would like you to chose.
  • by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:19AM (#18925295)
    The Amiga, long before any other desktop system, had a 3D system using LCD shutters sync'd to the interlaced video fields (interlaced video was one of the display options in the Amiga chip set), so your eyes saw different images, which your brain understood as 3D. With digital theaters, improvements in LCD tech', synchronization by RF, IR, or whatever it takes to trigger the tiny processor controlling the shutters (could be a component of the screen image), so there are no wires to the glasses, 3D is trivial to present. Takes a bit of compute power to produce, but still commercially viable.

    Only two real problems:

    digital movies are at pathetic resolutions, and 3D won't be better, so I don't go to theaters that use them.

    theaters are full of stupid and/or inconsiderate people continually distracting me from the movies, and the theater owners/managers won't do anything about it, so I don't go to theaters.

    Oh, and the movies are almost all terrible, anyway, but for a couple of bucks to watch at home, it doesn't bother me so much.
  • by Aqua OS X ( 458522 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:23AM (#18925323)
    Problem with this tech is that it is STILL stereo graphic. It's not volumetric, and therefore, the old eye strain problems will still exist.

    OK, these guys may have developed a better way to deliver and display a stereo graphic image, but in the end, it's the same old crap we've seen for decades. You're still wearing stereo glasses. You put some glasses on, your right eye sees one image, your left eye sees another image, your brain converges the two images, but you can't focus on the depth of your choosing. Focus is predetermined by the film.

    Human stereoscopic vision relies upon two mechanisms, convergence and accommodation. This cinema tech doesn't account for the latter. With this tech you still can't focus on depths of your choosing... as you would with a volumetric image or a real 3D object in the real world. These guys are trying to skirt around accommodation by limiting shots to particular ranges of depth. While this may help to minimize the problem, it doesn't eliminate it.

    All in all... move along, nothing new to see here.

    • I know, but give it a chance, let it feel its way out to find a home.

      Even if its only at themeparks and IMAX documentaries which are good, i wish they released more documentaries in 3d, especially on dvd, and give
      people those odd/even shutter glasses to sync to show 60fps as 30/30. This requires CRTs or 60hz LCDs, with 60fps video files.

      You need the compelling content to be created first, give it sum buzz, and get the producers interested because of the larger number of audience willing to
      try it. Because i
  • Explanation (Score:5, Interesting)

    by spitzak ( 4019 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:25AM (#18925333) Homepage
    The article is a little vague about how it works, trying to make it sound more magical.

    What the system does is alternate projections of the left and right eye images using the same DLP projector. They said 144 frames per second, which I think means that each film frame (of which there are 24 per second) is projected 3 times for each eye, this means each eye sees the image flickering at 72 times a second, which is above the threshold for most people to see flickering. The real technology is a special lcd screen that is put in front of the lens of the projector that changes it's polarization 144 times per second so each image is polarized differently.

    The real advantage of this is that the same DLP projector used for non-3D films can be reused, just put the lcd in front of the lens when showing 3D. Any other system would require a second projector, which not only adds the cost of the projector, but the cost to mount it and add another aperture in the theatre wall. (actually another system would be shutter glasses with lcd lenses that turn on/off so each eye sees one side, but handing each customer an item that costs 10 or more dollars is probably out of the question) Also this system allows perfect alignment so that things that should appear at the screen plane really appear there, and high-contrast things like the credits can be projected at that distance with no ghosting.

    It does appear fortunate that they can run at 144 frames per second, though if they were like consumer ones with a maximum of 90 or 100 it would still be an acceptable flicker rate of 45 or 50 (classic film projectors flickered 48 times a second due to having 1 extra vane on the shutter).

    • That must get real real hot with that bright light what is it, 7000-12000 watts going through a 2 inch space, must require lots of cold air being blown way fast
      for that to work.


      Do they split the light in two halfs on each polar angle, and then use a 100% on/off opposite LCD see through screen that cycles at 72fps, that way its much
      simpler technology, ie a prism , and two lcd shutters which is trivial, still needs cooling i figure.

      Just had a thought, this cant be retrofitted on a current DLP, because ea
      • by spitzak ( 4019 )
        That must get real real hot with that bright light what is it, 7000-12000 watts going through a 2 inch space, must require lots of cold air being blown way fast
        for that to work.

        The drawing in the article seems to show that the lcd shutter is more like the size of a large windowpane and is some distance in front of the projector. I would think this is on purpose to solve the heat problems. May also be necessary so it can be added without modifying the DLP.

        THis cannot be retrofitted on current DLPs, no way...
    • Points from an attentive consumer:

      1) High-contrast images such as credits can indeed be "projected at" the screen plane to prevent ghosting... but high-contrast images at any other plane will always have some ghosting. In my experience, this is true of polaroid, red-blue, and LCD-shutter glasses... and comprises a fundamental flaw in mass-audience 3D (...except for maybe your old View-Master).

      2) Indeed, the one-projector high-Hz system is no doubt a great boon to exhibitors, as noted. In practice, un

  • by will_die ( 586523 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @05:49AM (#18925415) Homepage
    IMax has two different systems for 3D effects.
    The first is the polarized glasses, this is used for films that have not been filmed in 3D but they then process and setup multiple projectors to give a 3D look. They glasses look like sun glasses but and from my limited experience they just barly fit over the glasses of existing wearers. This is the kind of technology the article is refering to.
    Then you have the full Imax 3D with just plainly rocks!!!! It consists of a full head gear which fits over your head and easily over existing glasses, it comes with built in speakers to add to the theater sound and uses signals from the projector to flip the lens to give the 3D illusion. If you have not seen one of theses they are a must see. Even the dopey films are impressive just for the 3D effects. My personal favorite is the _Deep Sea_ it is really funny to lift the head sets and see people attempt to grab the fish as they swim up to them.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MobyDisk ( 75490 )

      ...polarized glasses, this is used for films that have not been filmed in 3D but they then process...

      I think the use of the headset -vs- polarized glasses is not based on how the movie was filmed. I've seen several IMAX movies at the Baltimore IMAX theater, some filmed in 3D and some not, but they all used the polarized glasses. I've never seen the head gear. This includes Deep Sea 3D, African Safari 3D, and Beauty and the Beast. The first two are native 3D, the last is not. I suspect that the headset -vs- glasses decision is made by each theater, rather than being dependent on how it was filmed.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 30, 2007 @06:12AM (#18925493)
    Its been around for years ... I believe they call it "theatre" or something.
  • Is that there's always some leakage in the circular-polarized images from one eye to the other, but it's always the same amount of leakage. So, you see a ghost of the right eye's view in the left eye, and vice versa.

    So, they just subtract that percentage of the right-eye's view from the left-eye image, and voila! No ghosts.

    That said, peope I know who have reviewed this technology in depth find that while it's not as headache-inducing as some of the other 3D formats, there's still something that feels wron
  • How is this different than 3D using polarized light and special glasses that has been around for years?
  • Although I'm still skeptical about the quality (until I've seen it) and speed of takeup, it's worth congratulating the studios for innovating (talkies were a novelty to begin with, as was colour and widescreen). Particularly during the era of piracy - regardless of the pros and cons of free sharing, while the 3D film can only be seen in a cinema, people are going to pay to see it. Hell, if I downloaded a 2D film and it was really decent (ie. not generic Disney saccharine) I would pay to see it in 3D.
  • the real skill. See cross-viewing [] here. I'm afraid I have a bit of the binocular problem they describe there, but I hope to improve.
  • Technique overview (Score:4, Informative)

    by chenjeru ( 916013 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @08:31AM (#18926287)
    There are a few major approaches being used right now. They all come down to delivering a different image for the left and right eyes. The system in TFA uses a combination of circular polarization and frame sequential techniques. Here are the major techniques currently used:

    Frame sequential
    _This uses a single projector or screen with a high framerate, 120Hz or higher. Each frame alternates between a left and right eye view. The viewer wears a pair of LCD 'shutter glasses' which are synchronized to flicker and allow only the correct frame through per eye. Thus, a 120Hz output becomes a 60Hz image stream to the viewer. Unfortunately, the glasses are expensive and not easy to deploy to a large audience. This technique also often causes headaches after extended viewing.

    Head mounted display
    _Funky goggles are used to provide a dedicated image for each eye in close proximity. Advantages include the ability for head tracking which provides parallax shift and real immersion. The units are also localized to the wearer, so you can have them in small spaces like cockpits. Disadvantages: relatively low resolution and expensive for large deployments.

    Linear polarization
    _Using 2 projectors (usually DLP) which have linearly polarized filters in front of the lenses, one has left-right polarization for one image and the second an up-down polarization for the other eye. The user wears paper glasses with lens orientation corresponding the the projector output. This technique is easiest to deploy to large audiences since the paper glasses are relatively cheap. However, the 3D effect can be broken by rotating the head.

    Circular polarization
    _Similar as the linear approach, filters are used in front of 2 projectors creating left-right images. The filters used for the projectors and glasses are circularly polarized which allows head rotation, but suffers from 'ghosting' or 'image bleed' since the circular polarization does not block all light intended for the other eye.

    Chromatic filtering
    _Similar to the old red and blue glasses from yesteryear, this technique uses spectrum filtering to restrict certain wavelengths from reaching each eye. When used with filters in front of 2 projectors, dedicated left-right images can be created. The newer techniques use more controlled filtering so that the color aberrations are minimized.

    _Using a special vertically banded lenticular lens in front of a back-projection screen or TFT/Plasma, this technique creates 'zones' in which 3D images can be seen without any hardware required on the viewer. By shifting your head left or right, you fall into viewing 'sweet-spots'. This is based on the fact that a human's eyes are generally spaced the same distance apart. One of the great things about this approach is that since there are images from multiple camera angles being displayed simultaneously, you can actually get a little parallax before falling out of a sweet-spot. You'll see this technique more and more at trade shows and in public advertisements.

    Our studio makes actual 3D content for 3D visualization systems.
  • We've got 3 kids [boys from 9 to 13] and none have coming running home saying, "Billy says we just hafta hafta hafta go see Meet The Robinsons!" And if the kids aren't doing it, the adults sure as heck aren't going to.

    Disney is so off-mark these days, it is pathetic. Good luck, guys, but I'm betting on your competition.
  • The company doing this is paying to install digital DLP projectors - 2 per screen, actually. So if your enjoying the "DLP" experience at a theater that just went DLP, thank them. Cool seeing them take a risk - my wife loved "Monster House" in 3D - I hope they make it.
  • Folks,

    I had actually read something about the Disney Digital 3D "system" before "Meet The Robinsons" came out and was intrigued. I've done some design work for a 3D system that I can't talk about and I'm old enough to remember the flood of "bad" 3D from the 50's.

    So, I was in chair in see the Disney flick.

    Kids...this is pretty good. The movie was actually cute, but I was blown away by how well the depth of field held up throughout the movie.

    Interestingly enough, there was a 1955 Disney cartoon...Donald Duck
  • Actually, the typical movie is already 3D: horizontal dimension, vertical dimension and time dimension.
  • "Fly Me to the Moon" is a 3D animated film covering the Apollo 11 moon mission, told from the perspective of 3 flies who manage to get aboard the command module prior to launch. The stills and short video clips look really impressive: []

    I'm sure this film won't get the attention of a Disney release, but my space-obsessed 5 year-old son can't wait. I just hope it gets into a FEW theaters outside of science museums and the like...
  • This will only work for CGI movies.

    In movies shot in real life, you often do what's called 'cheating' in order to create a scene. The director will position a man and a women talking about one foot diagonal from one another, but from where the camera is placed, it looks like they are just inches apart. There are lots of cheats used to compose a frame just right, make an actor seem taller, improve the dramatic imagery. Very few of these could be translated to 3D, because that would make the cheat obvious.
  • You can tell the dreaded "comic book summer movie season" is about to start. Movies made for 15-year-old boys by those with the talent of 15-year-old boys.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday April 30, 2007 @11:49AM (#18928275) Homepage
    Others have commented about this but I haven't seen the point yet made this way. A two-image 3D effect is realistic only from one seat in the house. In practice, there is a fairly small "sweet spot." If you view from too close to the screen, the image doesn't have enough depth; too far away, it has too much. Off to the side, everything that should be square becomes skewed, rhomboidal.

    Oddly enough, exactly the same problems exist in 2D, but they are nowhere near as disturbing, presumably because 2D does look like 3D in the first place.

    The second issue is that the cinematographer is limited to a single focal length. In effect, the location of the "sweet spot" depends on the lens. With a long lens, the sweet spot is toward the back of the house; with a wide-angle lens, toward the front. In practice, only a normal lens gives the real "you-are-there" 3D effect. Anything else looks distorted. What this means is that to make a 3D film the filmmakers have to throw out most of their lenses and a century of film grammar.

    A third issue is that 3D photography is unflattering to actresses, because with 3D you can see the actual three-dimensional contours of their faces, which in 3D cannot be hidden or concealed with makeup, at least not in a closeup. (I'm using sexist language because for the most part a smoothly contoured face is still considered much more important for actresses than for actors). For a good example of this, see the 1950s 3D movie "Kiss Me Kate."

    These fatal flaws will continue to restrict two-image 3D to a limited set of special applications: animated features and movies in which spectacle is important.

    All of this, incidentally, is exactly what happened with Cinerama in the 1950s. It was not a true 3D process but was spectacular, beautiful, and pleasant to view--superior to present-day 2D Imax. The fatal flaw was not the three-projector system, although that was a problem. The fatal flaws were exactly the ones that two-image 3D has: the real Cinerama experience was only to be had from seats in the center of the house; telephoto lenses couldn't be used; and it was a challenge to use it for film storytelling (of about ten films made in Cinerama, only two--How the West was Won and The Wonderful Tales of the Brothers Grimm--had real story lines, the others were basically travelogues. Of course, to call a Cinerama film "basically a travelogue" is like calling Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue "basically a medley.")
  • Real D and the 3D "revolution" have been reported on here [], as part of a larger look [] at the future of "Digital Hollywood"
  • It's called a stage play. Check one out; the 3-D is *amazing*. The special effects, not so much...
  • by vuo ( 156163 )
    When there's porn in 3D, then it'll take off. Just look at VHS and the Internet. I mean, since when "Disney uses the technology" has been a reason to adopt a new technology?
  • I've seen several of these movies over the last year or so:

    Monster House
    Nightmare Before Christmas (it was re-released in 3d last year)
    Meet The Robinsons

    My wife and I love these movies... it really is a blast.

    Like others have mentioned you get a brand new pair of glasses (sealed in plastic) each time you go. Which, while it might be wasteful, I prefer over hand-me-down gunked up glasses (like I've used at the IMAX). The glasses are plastic and fit well over my normal glasses

    I haven't had a headache from a

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.