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The Future of Cinema - 'Real' 3D

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the shark-still-looks-fake dept.

Movies 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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3D is boring (3, Funny)

packeteer (566398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925077)

3D is boring...

When is it going to plug directly in to my head already?

Re:3D is boring (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925181)

You must be new to the Matrix.

Re:3D is boring (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925427)

I concur. Graft'n Play is the future. And we'll need linux drivers.

The new BSOD... (1)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925465)

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" !

Re:The new BSOD... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925627)

Yuk, yuk, yuk! Don't quit your day job.

When is it going to.. (1)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925545)

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 out of me a year when there is some sort of nature documentary playing. That's not going to stop the incursion of DVD's into the theater's turf.


Re:3D is boring (1)

StarkRG (888216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925831)

Blue sky on Mars? That's a new one...

Just keep your head perfectly still.. (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925083)

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.

RTFA, they claim to solve that (4, Informative)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925201)

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:RTFA, they claim to solve that (1, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925341)

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.

Re:RTFA, they claim to solve that (1)

TuringTest (533084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926787)

You can't do that in classic cinema. Why would you like to do it in 3D cinema?

Parallax is NOT solved (2, Informative)

DrYak (748999) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925509)

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" is done in games using 2D displays (either using several scrolling layers in older games, or using 3D polygons on more recent FPS. As a example of parallax effect, the wobbling of the ship in the Descent series helps illustrating the depth of the labyrinth on-screen). The depth perception is VERY sensitive to small parallax effects linked to slight head motion.

This CAN be done with head mounted displays (HMD) equiped with accelerometers (any slight motion of the head is translated into microscopic camera motion in the game world).
This CAN be somewhat done with rotation/projection systems that can be shown as 3D from any angles (if the subject moves he'll see different reflections on the rotating target corresponding to different angle).
This could be somewhat done with shutter glass, provided enough head tracking.
This is circumvented with historical stereo 3D as from the Lumière era (where the eyes are kept fixed against the binocular aperture and thus there's no motion to provoke parallax effect. BUT you lose the depth information you could get from it).

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).
This CAN'T be done with current stereographic LCD pannels (when in stereomode, only 2 image are projected) unless separate head tracking is used, but it'll only work for the user holding the accelerometer, not the other viewers.

Re:Parallax is NOT solved (2, Interesting)

bodan (619290) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925639)

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:Parallax is NOT solved (2, Insightful)

Mprx (82435) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925739)

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:Parallax is NOT solved (1)

Damastus the WizLiz (935648) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925807)

While this may happen in alot of movies I believe Meet the Robinsons proves that flying objects are not required in movies to make the 3D effect worth having. In Meet the Robinsons the 3d is used mostly to ad the feeling of depth to the scene. In fact, the thing that came "flying close to the viewers" was the Disney 3D logo before the movie.

Re:Parallax is NOT solved (2, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926587)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (3, Insightful)

Jott42 (702470) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (4, Interesting)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 ]

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925325)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (3, Informative)

novus ordo (843883) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925645)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926495)

Do you work for this company? It's very impressive indeed. I just watched the videos.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

Mattsson (105422) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925919)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

JohnFluxx (413620) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926403)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925337)

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, camera angles, and a lot more control at post-production.

I don't imagine that "hologram" kind of cinema will ever pick up. While someone who's on the right side gets tos ee all the action, someone looking 40 degrees left has to watch all actors in back all the time.

The cost of such a movie wouldn't be worth it either.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925353)

Yeah man.. this concept of watching 3d figures on a stage of some kind.. it'll never take off.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925411)

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

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925893)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925443)

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:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (2, Informative)

yruf (463879) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925405)

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.

Re:Just keep your head perfectly still.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926231)

This recent article about MIT's holographic display efforts [] might interest you.

Not really (2, Insightful)

Zouden (232738) | more than 7 years ago | (#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 (5, Insightful)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925109)

You have to run before you can walk. "Talkies" used to be seen as a gimmick too.

Re:Not really (2, Funny)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925127)

Strike that, reverse it: I should have used Preview.

Re:Not really (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925187)

Perhaps, but +5 for the Willy Wonka reference.

Re:Not really (1)

cp.tar (871488) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926261)

Actually, children usually learn to run before they learn to walk.

Admittedly, they don't learn how to run fast, but still...

Re:Not really (3, Interesting)

Solokron (198043) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925149)

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:Not really (2, Interesting)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925311)

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 couldn't even wipe it off. Another problem is that for people who wear glasses (read: me), they have to wear the 3D glasses on top of their regular glasses, and it's extremely uncomfortable. Not to mention that you have to keep your finger pressed against the glasses so they don't slip.

As for how it actually works ... well, I was sitting off-centre and the 3D effect wasn't that great. I could see two distinct set of outlines for the two projections. The strain on my eyes were ENORMOUS. Watching a 20-second stretch of a 3D scene made my eyes feel worse than spending 3+ hours in front of a monitor. I mean, I GUESS you don't get headaches, but this is just as bad.

In my admittedly limited experience, I still don't think this will fly. It will receive some hype because it's a "new" technology, but eventually, it will fall out of favour. If watching a 20-second clip makes my eyes feel so strained, I can't imagine what it would be like watching the entire movie with those glasses on.

Not the same technology (1)

sarahbau (692647) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926463)

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 have my doubts as to whether it actually lives up to their claims, but it sounds like it should at least be better than the current technology.

Re:Not really (1)

nospam007 (722110) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925367)

It appears someone did not RTFA.
It appears that you must be new here, welcome.

Re:Not really (1, Troll)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925309)

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 technology and the technology demos, the movies exploiting the technology for technology's sake. Then come artists. Always has been this way..

BTW, correct me if I'm wrong, but 3D with polarised light has been around for quite some time now. What's different with Real D??

Ahem (1)

svunt (916464) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925419)

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.

Copy protection through obscurity (2, Interesting)

slaida1 (412260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925361)

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.

Cheap paper glasses? (1)

HydroPhonic (524513) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925491)

Enough titles in 3D and there will be better eyewear for the consumption of it. Maybe collector's edition specs with the 3D boxed set...

Re:Not really (1)

CCFreak2K (930973) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925655)

IMAX doesn't use paper red/green glasses. They used polarized lens glasses. You can read about it here [] .

A little less caffeine, eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925115)

Anyone have a decaffeinated version of the summary? I got the jitters just reading it.

Slipped under the radar? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925119)

"You haven't noticed it, no-one, not the critics, not the "experts", not the "technocracy""

If no-one notices, no-one cares.

I wear glasses already.... (1)

al_fruitbat (617734) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925133)

Am I supposed to wear two pairs to watch these movies?

Re:I wear glasses already.... (1)

Piedramente (1063240) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925153)

There's that or the possibility that you may have to take them off... depending on the polarization of the lenses.

Re:I wear glasses already.... (3, Funny)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925373)

If I have to take off my glasses, the movie will just be a blur. But it will be a 3D blur!

Chris Mattern

Yes (2, Interesting)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925257)

If it's the same technology as they used in Superman Returns during the IMAX showings (and according to the little featurette video in page 2 of TFA, it seems like it is), then yes. I wear glasses myself. When I went in to the IMAX theatre, the workers handed me a pair of plastic glasses that did not look very sanitary. I tried wiping them off, but the lenses were still kinda grimy. So what ended up happening was that I had to watch the movie with two pairs of glasses on, and since I wasn't sitting in the middle, the 3D effect was "off". Not to mention the disgusting crap on the glasses. And that talk about not having a headache? Well ... I guess so. But I felt like my eyes were starting to cross involuntarily, and they felt more strained when I watched a 20-second stretch of 3D than when I spend 3+ hours sitting in front of a monitor.

All in all, it was a terrible experience. The "3D" effect was marginally better than the old red/blue method at best, and completely ineffective at worst. My eyes felt like they were about to pop out. I'll never watch another movie with that technology again.

Re:Yes (1)

Andrew Kismet (955764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925357)

I saw Supes at IMAX in London. The glasses were fine over my normal glasses. Admittedly, the 3D was somewhat unimpressive, but so was the rest of the movie in my opinion.

Re:I wear glasses already.... (1)

Macblaster (94623) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926153)

I went and saw Meet the Robinsons in 3D, and it was amazing. The RealD glasses they gave me fit easily over my regular glasses, and I had no problems whatsoever with the 3d effect. The cost was only slightly greater (12 dollars, which is only 3 bucks more than a normal 2D film). As to the guy below who was talking about the glasses at some imax theatre being unsanitary, these glasses were sealed in plastic wrap, and we got to keep them after the show. Of course, they're quite useless outside of the special polarized light theatre, and we'll pay for them again with every subsequent 3d movie we see, but i guess it makes a nice momemnto? maybe?

Re:I wear glasses already.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926247)

Like safety goggles, they fit over regular glasses.

I've seen many 3D films at my local IMAX and can't wait for more.

I'm skeptical. (5, Funny)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925141)

Anybody got a screenshot?

This is just polarized projection. (1)

Musc (10581) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925171)

Nothing that hasn't been around for many years.
This is no more 'Real' 3D than the other polarized 3D systems that have been around forever.

Re:This is just polarized projection. (1)

koreaman (835838) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925183)

The Pentium 4 in my computer is "no different", fundamentally, than the first silicon CPU ever made.

Gotta love incremental improvements!

Re:This is just polarized projection. (1)

Varun Soundararajan (744929) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925283)

I just hope people come up with new things other than those that require coordination from both eyes (thats prevalent in these polarized stuff). I have problems with one of my eye and I have never been able to see things in depth.

Tell me when something that doesn't require eye coordination works.

No Sig

And motion pictures are just a slide show. (2, Informative)

Rocketship Underpant (804162) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925413)

The point isn't that polarization for 3-D project was just invented. The point is that a few particularly filmmakers and studios are keenly interested in it at the moment and have refined the technology further than it's ever gone before. Many of the problems with perspective and motion not being quite right before have been solved. The visors and the reflective screens are better than before. 3-D movies might actually be a substantial improvement now instead of a mere gimmick.

The real test may be James Cameron's Avatar, which goes into production soon. Cameron has overseen the development of completely new digital cameras for shooting in 3-D, and he plans to take advantage of the format's superior frame rate as well; we're talking about sci-fi action in 60 fps or more.

Ah, so you mean (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925213)

..the polarized glasses, that produce a so-so effect that induces migranes? It's been around for years. It's always been pretty average.

Re:Ah, so you mean (1)

Threni (635302) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925237)

When I wore polarize glasses, it wasn't a `pretty average` experience - it was amazing. The first time I'd ever seen 3D in a movie.

I wouldn't describe the red/green glasses as `so-so` - `Complete crock of shit` would be more accurate. A blurry, randomly coloured mess.

Re:Ah, so you mean (1)

cailyoung (898949) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925287)

RealD differs from, say, IMAX 3D in that instead of sequentially projecting the left and right images and requiring a shutter system in the glasses, they simultaneously project the two images and through some material-design magic each eye only sees one. So, I don't really see how it could cause migraines any more than looking through polarised sunglasses could.

Re:Ah, so you mean (1)

Archon-X (264195) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925355)

I've seen three or four movies w/ polarised projection, using dual projectors.
While we are able to perceive 3D, it's not something we're really used to, and perhaps that's where the headaches are induced. I know every time I see one of these films, I end up taking the glasses off.

Re:Ah, so you mean (2, Informative) (660144) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926663)

IMAX 3D is based on polarised light exactly the same as ReadID. It causes a headache because the false 3D effect causes your eyes to focus at the wrong distance.

3D sends the wrong visual cues. (5, Interesting)

Rothron the Wise (171030) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:3D sends the wrong visual cues. (3, Insightful)

RegularFry (137639) | more than 7 years ago | (#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:3D sends the wrong visual cues. (2, Insightful)

Dr. Manhattan (29720) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926129)

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 fading away, and others were fading in. It was all a confused mess until the crossfade settled down.

(Say, what's the 3D equivalent of a star-wipe? :-> )

Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movie! (5, Informative)

McVerne (38715) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925219)

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.


Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

mmdog (34909) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925265)

I agree.

I took my kids to see Robinsons as well - best 3D ever imho. Glasses weren't bad at all.

Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925635)

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 all I got was a red or green image or the distorted blurry picture you see without them. It hurt.

Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (2, Interesting)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925711)

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. The glasses themselves are like polarized sunshades. I doubt it's the actual polarization that bothers those that get headaches, but is instead the framerate of the picture since it's effectively cut in half. (15 fps per eye, instead of 30.) The strobe effect could be quite annoying.

If you take off the glasses, you end up with a watchable but odd-looking image where things that are supposed to be very close or very far are fuzzy. Since most action is in the middle anyhow, it's not that bad.

These new glasses won't work on exactly the same technique, so they'll look a little different, but the effect when you take off the glasses with probably be about the same. Same for the effect with 1 eye closed, also.

In the end, I think you'll find the glasses don't make it much different from a real scene.

If they start 'shooting in 3d only', you'll find that the effects in the scenes are boring to you and you'll wonder why people care, but other than that, I don't think it'll affect you adversely. (And they'll eventually get over the whole 3d thing and start actually producing good movies again eventually, too.)

Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

tsalaroth (798327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926101)

If it actually cut the FPS in half, it would be 12. Hollywood shoots at 24fps, not 30fps. Also, I don't think it's likely split in half like that. There's ways to split a single mussed-up image into 2 clear ones with polarization. Most likely, any discomfort is from seeing two different frames of reference with each eye on the screen, and having a completely DIFFERENT frame of reference in the peripherals. It may not cause pain, but if you're not used to it, your eyes are probably jumping around to "adjust" to the "problem". I wouldn't be surprised if one's eyes are pretty tired or sore after 2 hours of that.

Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926511)

the framerate of the picture [is] effectively cut in half. (15 fps per eye, instead of 30.) The strobe effect could be quite annoying.

It would be 14 and 24 . . . if that was how this worked.

The technology discussed in this article uses two sets of 24fps images played back at a total of 144fps. Covering one eye will take you down to normal 24 frame film refreshed 72 times per second.

I saw the re-release of "The Nightmare Before Christmas" on this system and it is perfectly watchable with one eye.


Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925973)

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.

Re:Don't second guess if you haven't seen the movi (1)

Fedarkyn (892041) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926697)

8 years ago the 3d movies inside disney used these plastic polarized glaases, and not the colored paper ones.

What's the news?

Grasping at straws (3, Insightful)

cheetah (9485) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Re:Grasping at straws (2, Funny)

textstring (924171) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925633)

at least they're not implementing smellovision with crap movies

Correction... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925251)

"GunSlinger writes" should read, "GunSlinger quotes" TFA.

movie theaters catch up to the Amiga! (3, Informative)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

No "strained eyes, possible migraines?" No way. (4, Insightful)

Aqua OS X (458522) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

Its another medium, give it a shot or chance... (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925763)

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 its so new, there is less competition to try something new that might be a huge it if done right that no one has tried really before. Kind of
like film in the 30s when color first came about.

Though try this company, They have some 3d technology system. For professional quality 3d polarized format viewing.

Explanation (4, Interesting)

spitzak (4019) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925333)

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).

Re:Explanation (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925857)

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 each 1/24th of a second is one full complete frame, in that 41ms, you only see one image on the DLP.
How is it going to show the other image, you need a frame buffer to hold two frames, and cut between them every 6.9ms . You can only do this if you have TWO DLPs you swap from, or
a damn fast 144fps DLP circuit, or a wierd ass DLP that has every odd line be opposite polarity.

THis cannot be retrofitted on current DLPs, no way.... your source media is in a fixed format, either 24fps film, or 24fps MPEG2/MPEG4 data. At most it would be 60/50fps DLP. To get 144/150
requires three image changes in 1/50th of a second, the DLP/LCD hardware doesnt change that fast, sure you can flash on/off the same image against nothing but thats useless. Unless you
have magic lens to hold 20ms of light data and phase delay it by 10ms, it sounds like it needs a special DLP/LCD hardware chip or two standard ones showing each odd/even frame from
the source video/data.

Re:Explanation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926499)

and this, my friend, is 15 year old technology as I've used that very same system in the 'Futuroscope', in Poitiers, France. It's like a theme park but targeting your senses of sight and hearing, more than your sense of balance and gravity.
Highly recommended. It's also where I first tried a VR game (you know, like in the movie 'Hackers' when Plague is fighting monsters).

Check out the place is you plan a trip to France.


Clarification on IMax 3D. (3, Informative)

will_die (586523) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925415)

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:Clarification on IMax 3D. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925469)

Haha I saw Superman in IMAX with the polarized glasses. The scene where you're about to fly up Clark Kents ass, awkward. But still to see an auditorium of people reflexivly pushing back trying to escape was pretty priceless.


Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925459)

Video games have had 3D since 15 years now.

No wonder Movies and Music are dying and everyone is rather downloading them instead of looking like a retard for spending money on that ridiculous crap.

If you want real 3D (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18925493)

Its been around for years ... I believe they call it "theatre" or something.

IMAX (1)

Stooshie (993666) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925567)

Move on, nothing to see here.

IMAX cinemas have been using this technology for 3D movies for a number of years now.

url dude (1)

cheekyboy (598084) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925967)

You mean []

Yes, but only 96hz, so each eye sees 48fps, so its basically a 24fps film run at 2x speed and done with two views at the same time. 4x the data rate.

I used to use the amiga to fake the screen FPS on the CRT to go above 60/80/100hz but it also did an auto widescreen effect, so 100hz screen would be a 2:1 ratio.
You would loose resolution as the screen is still 15khz full bandwidth, but you caused the gun to jump back up so each frame would be 1/100th, but only 1/2 the amount
of vertical height. The computer would just keep feeding data from the top 0,0 and it would still take same amount of memory bandwith. It looked real good at 100-120fps.
So natural. and brighter because the gun going over the same area.

Re:IMAX (0)

pruss (246395) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926479)

The IMAX 3D films I have seen have used linearly polarized glasses. As a result, if you tilt the plane of your eyes (or more precisely of your glasses) away from the horizontal, you get ghosting. The new thing is circularly polarized glasses which eliminates this problem.

One cool feature of this technology... (1)

Thagg (9904) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925681)

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 wrong about it -- their feeling was more epilepsy than migraine.

disclaimer: Haven't seen it myself yet, and that's a breach of my duty to my visual effects company.

Still worthless for some of us... (1)

Talsan (515546) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925725)

I know I'm part of a very small minority, but I'm blind in one eye. So even if this technology is a great improvement for most people, it still doesn't help some of us, and in fact it sounds like it's not even worth my time trying to watch a film being shown in "Real D".

Of course, I don't go to the movies that often anymore anyway, given the expense today, but if the studios are going to put up the killer barrier, then I suppose the choice will be out of my hands.

Re:Still worthless for some of us... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18926359)

Pardon my ignorance, but without some kind of brainhack, isn't it impossible for someone who is blind in one eye to see 3D in the real world, much less through a 2D medium?

How is this different? (1)

sahonen (680948) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925815)

How is this different than 3D using polarized light and special glasses that has been around for years?

Piracy (1)

Peregr1n (904456) | more than 7 years ago | (#18925855)

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.

Viewing side-by-side 3d images with bare eyes... (2, Interesting)

Gen.Anti (1089529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926137) 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.

Old news made new (1)

StephanTual (65000) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926237)

Errr - I'm 29, and I clearly remember watching 3D movies using polarized glasses back when I was a teen. Someone please explain to me how is that different from what Imax and Disneyworld have done for the past 15 years.

Technique overview (4, Informative)

chenjeru (916013) | more than 7 years ago | (#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.

What about those who can't see 3D? (1)

reacocard (1043858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926521)

Yes, there are some people who can't. I myself have an eye disorder called strabismus, which causes my eyes to not line up quite right, preventing my brain from successfully integrating the two images into a 3D picture. Hence no 3D technology will work for me, or those like me. Existing 3D movies are pretty much impossible for me to watch, because of the weird coloring and such. Even the existing polarized technology (iMax, anyone?) doesn't work too well since it leaves the image blurry.

Pop quiz: Are the kids impressed? (1)

justthinkit (954982) | more than 7 years ago | (#18926559)

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.
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