All About 3D Glasses & 3D Movies

June 22, 2010 by  
Filed under Movie World Basics

The idea for 3D movies began with the concept of stereoscopy. Many adults will remember View-Masters. These devices looked like binoculars, but slides were put in and viewed for a 3D image, giving the viewer the perspective one would see if viewing the object or scenery in person. Slides had two separate pictures combined to make one picture. The two pictures are actually the same scene, but are taken from a slightly different perspective. One image is presented to the right eye while a slightly different image is presented to the left eye. Combining the imagery is perceived in such a way that appears much more realistic to our minds.

The same stereoscopy idea was used when creating 3D movies. Live 3D movies, that is those which are shot using real human actors, are simply shot using a 3D camera which has two separate angles incorporated into it. Thanks to digital technology, special effects are also easily added and able to be created in 3D while maintaining their realistic integrity. Animated 3D films are created in a similar way and digital technology is used to make movements precise and clear when viewed with 3D glasses. Anyone who has removed their glasses or goggles out of curiosity during one of these films will notice that the edges of each object or person appear blurred or etched; this is the effect created from filming from two different angles. Filming in 3D first began in the 1950s but was very unpopular because each theater venue had a different format and films may not have been suitable to fit all theaters. In the 1980s 3D movies became very popular but eventually less 3D movies were made due to the expensive equipment required to make and produce these films.

So how is it that when seated in the movie theater, a baseball coming toward the camera in a 3D film will appear to almost hit the viewer in the face causing a jolting reaction? In order to complete the equation of a 3D movie, 3D glasses are required. Anyone who remembers 3D movies from the 1980s and 90s will remember that these glasses were once made of paper with a clear blue film on one side and a clear red film on the other. Now most 3D glasses look like giant sunglasses with gray lenses that are polarized and designed to display one image to one eye and another image to the other eye. The result is identical to that of the View-Master’s stereoscopic image produced: it creates the illusion of depth dimensions on each object, as they would seem if viewing them in person. The resulting ocular illusion creates the effect of objects moving close enough to touch. It is expected in the summer of 2010 that the newly invented biodegradable version of 3D glasses will be released due to the regained popularity of 3D production and, consequently the harmful gases from burning the large amount of improperly disposed 3D glasses in the landfills.

For more information on 3D movies and television, visit

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