A 3D or 3-D (three-dimensional) film or S3D (stereoscopic 3D) film is a motion picture that enhances the illusion of depth perception. The most common approach to the production of 3D films is derived from stereoscopic photography. In it, a regular motion picture camera system is used to record the images as seen from two perspectives (or computer-generated imagery generates the two perspectives in post-production), and special projection hardware and/or eyewear are used to provide the illusion of depth when viewing the film. Some methods of producing 3D films do not require the use of two images. 3D films are not limited to feature film theatrical releases; television broadcasts and direct-to-video films have also incorporated similar methods, especially since the advent of 3D television and Blu-ray 3D.
3D films have existed in some form since 1915, but had been largely relegated to a niche in the motion picture industry because of the costly hardware and processes required to produce and display a 3D film, and the lack of a standardized format for all segments of the entertainment business. Nonetheless, 3D films were prominently featured in the 1950s in American cinema, and later experienced a worldwide resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s driven by IMAX high-end theaters and Disney themed-venues. 3D films became more and more successful throughout the 2000s, culminating in the unprecedented success of 3D presentations of Avatar in December 2009 and January 2010.
How Do 3D Glasses Work?
3D movies make images seem to jump off the screen, bringing movies to life and providing the viewer with a more action packed experience. The science behind 3D glasses is actually quite simple and relies on the way our eyes work to create 3D images.
Our eyes work together to create a singular 3 dimensional image. Each eye sees a slightly different image which it transmits to the brain. The brain then combines these two images to create a single, 3D image. To get a better idea of the image each eye transmits to the brain, try covering one eye. Without both eyes depth perception is affected.
To create a 3D image on a movie screen a similar principle is used. Two separate images are filmed. Special glasses allow each eye to see only one image. These are then combined in the brain to create a single 3D image.
3D glasses work by limiting what each eye can see. For example the old fashioned red and blue glasses filtered the images seen by each eye using color. Modern clear glasses still filter what the eye can see, but they use polarization rather than color. This allows each eye to see a slightly different image which is combined in the brain to produce a 3D illusion.
Buy Special Glasses
Some manufacturers make special clip-on glasses that can be worn when watching 3D movies and TVs. These glasses are designed to be worn with regular eyeglasses. This will require you to invest in special glasses before watching the show or movie, but these glasses are often quite affordable and are a good investment if you regularly watch 3D movies or TV.
Prescription 3D Glasses
Forget about those cheap plastic glasses the theater provides you. For hardcore movie buffs who wear glasses, there's only one way to go: your own prescription 3D glasses. Sounds crazy? Well, with 3D technology becoming a larger part of the movie going experience, some industrious companies such as Optics 3D have indeed begun offering prescription 3D glasses to cater to serious cinephiles.
It seems like a no-brainer: If they can make 3D glasses for every moviegoer, why can't they make clip-on lenses for film fans who already wear glasses? The good news is that they can and they have, with companies such as Look3D manufacturing and selling clip-on lenses. Best of all, some smart cinemas have begun giving viewers the option of choosing clip-on at the theater as well. So if your usual theater isn't progressive enough to cater to your viewing needs, try looking around for another cinema. You may be surprised by what you see.