Modern technology is advancing at a staggering pace and creating new opportunities in cinema, such as cloud computing technology. Another that is rising in popularity is 3D technology.
The earliest development of the 3D film process dates to the late 1890s, with British film pioneer William Friese-Greene’s patent. Throughout the following decades, the technology suffered many changes, becoming a mainstream fixture since 2003.
Films like Avatar pushed 3D films into the limelight, beginning a successful use of the technology for many years to come.
How Do 3D Films Work?
3D films use a technology that mimics the way the human brain sees objects. Your left eye sees more of the left side of an object, while the right eye sees more of the right side of the object. Your brain then combines both images to form a three-dimensional picture.
Modern films are captured with two lenses side by side to copy this 3D effect, or created through computer technology to replicate it. 3D glasses no longer need the traditional red and blue lenses; modern 3D films make use of polarised light in order to utilise all colour.
Polarised light, unlike sunlight, vibrates only in one plane. Sunlight can be turned into polarised light through a filter possessing small parallel lined etched on it, which allow only for the light to vibrate on one plane.
3D Cinema Popularity
Even though the technology’s popularity dropped from 71% in 2010 to 37% in 2013, many films are still not only released in 3D but also filmed specifically for this technology. The Star Wars franchise, for example, makes its films available on IMAX 3D.
Similar to RealD 3D, IMAX 3D uses passive 3D technology to allow for lightweight glasses. RealD 3D requires films to be made in a 3D digital format, while IMAX 3D allows for less head tilting while watching a film. Screens are curved to provide an immersive experience and IMAX uses 3K projectors for a brighter image experience. In the UK, according to BFI and Rentrak, 3D films have fluctuated in revenue sales in the past years:
2009 – 16%
2010 – 24%
2011 – 20%
2012 – 18%
2013 – 18%
What’s Next for the Technology?
3D glasses can be troublesome for some people, causing headaches or being inconvenient for people already wearing glasses. At MIT, a team from the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) has developed a prototype that might allow viewers to watch 3D films without glasses.
Cinema 3D, as it’s been named, uses a collection of both lenses and mirrors to create a 3D effect that can be easily seen from many angles and that is delivered to every seat. Present technology, on the other hand, delivers a wide angle that results in low image quality.
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