In film, the term 3-D (or 3D) is used to describe any visual presentation system that attempts to maintain or recreate moving images of the third dimension, the illusion of depth as seen by the viewer.
The technique usually involves filming two
images simultaneously, with two cameras positioned side by side, generally facing each other and filming at a 90 degree angle via mirrors, in perfect synchronization and with identical technical characteristics. When viewed in such a way that each eyesees its photographed counterpart, the viewer's visual cortexwill interpret the pair of images as a single three- dimensional image. Modern computer technology also allows for the production of 3D films without dual cameras.
There are several methods of projecting natural, stereoscopic images. They can be categorized into mainly three categories.
With the aid of a viewing device
Stereoscopic Viewing Devicesor head mounted displays.
Furthermore, alternative systems, such as
Pulfrich effectand Chromadepthexist, but fall under the realm of "pseudo-stereoscopic" in that two, separate records are not recorded or projected.
In the context of many computer games,
3D computer graphicsrefer to being composed of objects in a virtual 3-D world, not that they can be viewed in 3-D. For a stereoscopic 3-D game, as for everything else stereoscopic, two pictures (one for each eye), are needed.
Early patents and tests
The stereoscopic era of motion pictures began in the late 1890s when British film pioneer
William Friese-Greenefiled a patent for a 3-D movie process. In his patent, two films were projected side by side on screen. The viewer looked through a stereoscopeto converge the two images. Because of the obtrusive mechanics behind this method, theatrical use was not practical.Limbacher, James L. Four Aspects of the Film. 1968.] Frederick Eugene Ivespatented his stereo camera rig in 1900. The camera had two lenses coupled together 1 3/4 inches apart. [Norling, John A. "Basic Principles of 3-D Photography and Projection" New Screen Techniques, P. 48]
June 10, 1915, Edwin S. Porterand William E. Waddell presented tests to an audience at the Astor Theater in New York City. In red-green anaglyph, the audience was presented three reels of tests, which included rural scenes, test shots of Marie Doro, a segment of John Masonplaying a number of passages from "Jim the Penman" (a film released by Famous Players-Laskythat year, but not in 3-D), Oriental dancers, and a reel of footage of Niagara Falls. [Denig, Lynde. "Stereoscopic Pictures Screened" "Moving Picture World", June 26, 1915, P. 2072.] However, according to Adolph Zukorin his 1953 autobiography "The Public Is Never Wrong: My 50 Years in the Motion Picture Industry", nothing was produced in this process after these tests.
Early systems of stereoscopic filmmaking (pre-1952)
The earliest confirmed 3-D film shown to a paying audience was "
The Power of Love", which premiered at the Ambassador HotelTheater in Los Angeleson September 27, 1922. The camera rig was a product of the film's producer, Harry K. Fairall, and cinematographer Robert F. Elder. It was projected dual-strip in the red/green anaglyph format, making it both the earliest known film that utilized dual strip projection and the earliest known film in which anaglyph glasses were used. [ [http://www.3dmovingpictures.com/pol.html "3-D Power" Article about the making of "The Power of Love" by Daniel L. Symmes] ] Whether Fairall used colored filters on the projection ports or whether he used tinted prints is unknown, but it is the first documented instance of dual-strip projection. After a preview for exhibitors and press in New York City, the film dropped out of sight, apparently not booked by exhibitors, and is now considered lost.
Early in December 1922,
William Van Doren Kelleycashed in on the growing interest in 3-D films started by Fairall's demonstration and shot footage with a camera system of his own design. Kelley then struck a deal with Samuel "Roxy" Rothafel to premiere the first in his series of "Plasticon" shorts entitled "Movies of the Future" at the Rivoli Theaterin New York City . [http://www.3dmovingpictures.com/landf01.html "3-D Lost and Found," by Daniel L. Symmes ] ]
Kelley, who was primarily a producer of color films, used his color system,
Prizma, to print his anaglyph films. In early 1923, he shopped around a second Plasticon entitled "Through the Trees - Washington D.C.", shot by William T. Crespinel, which consisted of stereoscopic views of Washington, D.C., but found no buyers.
Also in December 1922,
Laurens Hammond(later inventor of the Hammond organ) and William F. Cassidy unveiled their Televiewsystem. Teleview was the earliest alternate-frame sequencing form of projection. Through the use of two interlocked projectors, alternating left/right frames were projected one after another in rapid succession. Synchronized viewers attached to the arm-rests of the seats in the theater open and closed at the same time, and took advantage of the viewer's persistence of vision, thereby creating a true stereoscopic image. The only theater known to have installed this system was the Selwyn Theater in New York. Only one show was ever produced for the system, a groups of shorts and the only Teleview feature " The Man From M.A.R.S." (later re-released as " Radio-Mania") on 27 December 1922in New York City. [ [http://www.3dmovingpictures.com/chopper.html "The Chopper," article by Daniel L. Symmes] ]
In 1923, Frederick Eugene Ives and Jacob Leventhal began releasing their first stereoscopic shorts made over a three-year period. The first film entitled, "Plastigrams", which was distributed nationally by
Educational Picturesin the red/blue anaglyph format. Ives and Leventhal then went on to produce the following stereoscopic shorts in the "Stereoscopiks Series" for Pathé Films in 1925: "Zowie" (April 10), "Luna-cy" (May 18), "The Run-Away Taxi" (December 17) and "Ouch" (December 17). [ [http://www.cinetecadelfriuli.org/gcm/previous_editions/edizione1999/redisc_tecn.html SEZIONI99-REDISC-TECN ] ]
The late 1920s to early 1930s saw little to no interest in stereoscopic pictures, largely due to the
Great Depression. In Paris, Louis Lumiereshot footage with his stereoscopic camera in September 1933. The following year, in March 1934, he premiered his remake of his 1895 film " L'Arrivée du Train", this time in anaglyphic 3-D.
In 1936, Leventhal and John Norling were hired based on their test footage to film MGM's "Audioscopiks" series. The prints were by
Technicolorin the red/green anaglyph format, and were narrated by Pete Smith. The first film, "Audioscopiks", premiered January 11, 1936and "The New Audioscopiks" premiered January 15, 1938. "Audioscopiks" was nominated for the Academy Award for Short Film - Noveltyin 1936.
With the success of the two Audioscopiks films, MGM produced one more short in anaglyph 3-D, another Pete Smith Specialty called "Third Dimensional Murder" (1941). Unlike its predecessors, this short was shot with a studio-built camera rig. Prints were by Technicolor in red/blue anaglyph. The short is notable for being one of the few live-action appearances of the Frankenstein Monster as conceived by Jack Pierce for
Universal Studiosoutside of their company.
While many of these films were printed by color systems, none of them was actually in color, and the use of the color printing was only to achieve an anaglyph effect.
Introduction of Polaroid
Harvard Universityin 1926, Edwin H. Landconceived the idea of reducing glare by polarizing light. He took a leave of absencefrom Harvard to set up a lab and by 1929 had invented and patented a polarizing sheet. [ [http://www.americanheritage.com/articles/magazine/it/1987/2/1987_2_60.shtml Instant History] ] In 1932, he introduced Polaroid J Sheet as a commercial product. [ [http://www.newton.mec.edu/bigelow/engineering_technology/examples/land/Land.htm Edwin Herbert Land] ] While his original intention was to create a filter for reducing glare from car headlights, Land did not underestimate the utility of his newly dubbed Polaroidfilters in stereoscopic presentations.
In January 1936, Land gave the first demonstration of Polaroid filters in conjunction with 3-D photography at the
Waldorf-Astoria Hotel.Fact|date=February 2007 The reaction was enthusiastic, and he followed it up with an installation at the New York Museum of Science.Fact|date=February 2007 It is unknown what film was run for audiences with this installation.
Using Polaroid filters meant an entirely new set-up, however. Two prints, each carrying either the right or left eye, had to be synced up in projection using an external
selsynmotor. Furthermore, polarized light would not register on a matte white screen, and only a silver screenor screen made of other reflective material would correctly reflect the separate images.
Later that year, the feature, "Nozze Vagabonde" appeared in ItalyFact|date=February 2007, followed by the first color 3-D feature, "Zum Greifen Nah" which premiered in Germany the following yearFact|date=February 2007. It is unknown whether or not these films took advantage of the Polaroid filter system in projection, but the possibility is present.
In 1939, John Norling shot "In Tune With Tomorrow", the first Polaroid 3-D film shown for a paying audience in the USFact|date=February 2007. This short premiered at the
1939 New York World's Fairand was created specifically for the Chrysler Motor Pavilion. In it, a full 1939 Chrysler Plymouth is magically put together, set to music. Originally in black and white, the film was so popular that it was re-shot in color for the following year at the fair, under the title "New Dimensions"Fact|date=February 2007. In 1953, it was reissued by RKO as "Motor Rhythm".
Another early short that utilized the Polaroid 3-D process was 1940's "Magic Movies: Thrills For You" produced by the
Pennsylvania RailroadCo. for the Golden Gate International ExpositionFact|date=February 2007. Produced by John Norling, it was actually shot for him by Jacob Leventhal using his own rig. It consisted of shots of various views that could be seen on Pennsylvania Railroad's trains.
The 1940s was further hindered by
World War II, and stereoscopic photography once again went on the back-burner in most producers' minds.
The "golden era" (1952-1955)
What aficionados consider the "golden era" of 3-D began in 1952 with the release of the first color stereoscopic feature, "
Bwana Devil", produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler. The film was shot in " Natural Vision", a process that was co-created and controlled by M. L. Gunzberg. Gunzberg, who built the rig with his brother, Julian, and two other associates, shopped it without success to various studios before Oboler used it for this feature, which went into production with the title, "The Lions of Gulu".Fact|date=February 2007 The film stars Robert Stack, Barbara Brittonand Nigel Bruce.
As with practically all of the features made during this boom, "Bwana Devil" was projected dual-strip, with Polaroid filters. During the 1950s, the familiar disposable anaglyph
glassesmade of cardboard were mainly used for comic books, two shorts by exploitation specialist Dan Sonney, and three shorts produced by Lippert Productions. However, even the Lippert shorts were available in the dual-strip format alternatively.
Because the features utilized two projectors, a capacity limit of film being loaded onto each projector (about 6,000 feet, or an hour's worth of film) meant that an intermission was necessary for every movie. Quite often, intermission points were written into the script of the film at a major plot point.
During Christmas of 1952, producer
Sol Lesserquickly premiered the dual-strip showcase called "Stereo Techniques" in Chicago.Fact|date=February 2007 Lesser acquired the rights to five dual-strip shorts. Two of them, "Now is the Time (to Put On Your Glasses)" and "Around is Around", were directed by Norman McLarenin 1951 for the National Film Board of Canada. The other three films were produced in Britain for Festival of Britainin 1951 by Raymond Spottiswoode. These were "A Solid Explanation", "Royal River", and "The Black Swan".
James Mage was also an early pioneer in the 3-D craze. Using his 16mm 3-D Bolex system, he premiered his "Triorama" program on
February 10, 1953with his four shorts: "Sunday In Stereo", "Indian Summer", "American Life", and "This is Bolex Stereo"Fact|date=February 2007. This show is considered lost.
Another early 3-D film during the boom was the Lippert Productions short, "A Day in the Country", narrated by
Joe Besserand composed mostly of test footage. Unlike all of the other Lippert shorts, which were available in both dual-strip and anaglyph, this production was released in anaglyph only.
April 1953 saw two groundbreaking features in 3-D: Columbia's "
Man In the Dark" and Warner Bros."House of Wax", the first 3-D feature with stereophonic sound. " House of Wax", outside of Cinerama, was the first time many American audiences heard recorded stereophonic sound. It was also the film that typecast Vincent Priceas a horror star as well as the "King of 3-D" after he became the actor to star in the most 3-D features ( the others were " The Mad Magician", " Dangerous Mission", and " Son of Sinbad" ). The success of these two films proved that major studios now had a method of getting moviegoers back into theaters and away from television sets, which were causing a steady decline in attendance.
The Walt Disney Studios waded into 3-D with its
May 28, 1953release of "Melody", which accompanied the first 3-D western, Columbia's "Fort Ti" at its Los Angeles opening. It was later shown at Disneyland's Fantasyland Theater in 1957 as part of a program with Disney's other short " Working for Peanuts", entitled, "3-D Jamboree". The show was hosted by the Mousketeers and was in color.
Universal-International released their first 3-D feature on
May 27, 1953, " It Came from Outer Space", with stereophonic sound. Following that was Paramount's first feature, "Sangaree" with Fernando Lamasand Arlene Dahl. Columbia produced several 3-D westerns produced by Sam Katzmanand directed by William Castle. Castle would later specialize in various technical in-theater gimmicks for such Columbia features as " 13 Ghosts", " House on Haunted Hill", and " The Tingler". Columbia also produced the only slapstick comedies conceived for 3-D. The Three Stoogesstarred in "Spooks" and "Pardon My Backfire"; dialect comic Harry Mimmo starred in "Down the Hatch". Producer Jules Whitewas optimistic about the possibilities of 3-D as applied to slapstick (with pies and other projectiles aimed at the audience), but only two of his stereoscopic shorts were shown in 3-D. "Down the Hatch" was released as a conventional, "flat" motion picture. (Columbia has since printed "Down the Hatch" in 3-D for film festivals.) John Ireland, Joanne Druand Macdonald Careystarred in the Jack Brodercolor production "Hannah Lee", which premiered June 19, 1953. The film was directed by Ireland, who sued Broder for his salary. Broder countersued, claiming that Ireland went over production costs with the film.Fact|date=February 2007
Another famous entry in the golden era of 3-D was the 3 Dimensional Pictures production of "
Robot Monster". The film was allegedly scribed in an hour by screenwriter Wyott Ordung and filmed in a period of two weeks on a shoestring budget.Fact|date=February 2007 Despite these shortcomings and the fact that the crew had no previous experience with the newly-built camera rig, luck was on the cinematographer's side, as many find the 3-D photography in the film is well shot and aligned. "Robot Monster" also has a notable score by then up-and-coming composer Elmer Bernstein. The film was released June 24, 1953and went out with the short "Stardust in Your Eyes", which starred nightclub comedian, Slick Slavin.Fact|date=February 2007 20th Century Foxproduced their only 3-D feature, "Inferno", starring Rhonda Fleming. Fleming, who also starred in "Those Redheads from Seattle", and "Jivaro", shares the spot for being the actress to appear in the most 3-D features with Patricia Medina, who starred in "Sangaree", "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" and "Drums of Tahiti". Darryl F. Zanuckexpressed little interest in stereoscopic systems, and at that point was preparing to premiere the new widescreen film system, CinemaScope.
The first decline in the theatrical 3-D craze started in the late summer/early fall of 1953. The factors causing this decline were:
* Two prints had to be projected simultaneously.
* The prints had to remain exactly alike after repair, or synchronization would be lost.
* It sometimes required two projectionists to keep sync working properly.
* When either prints or shutters became out of sync, the picture became virtually unwatchable and accounted for headaches and eyestrain.
* The necessary silver projection screen was very directional and caused sideline seating to be unusable with both 3-D and regular films, due to the angular darkening of these screens. Later films that opened in wider-seated venues often premiered flat for that reason (such at "Kiss Me Kate" at the
Radio City Music Hall).
Because projection booth operators were at many times careless, even at preview screenings of 3-D films, trade and newspaper critics claimed that certain films were "hard on the eyes."Fact|date=February 2007
Sol Lesser attempted to follow up "Stereo Techniques" with a new showcase, this time five shorts that he himself produced.Fact|date=February 2007 The project was to be called "The 3-D Follies" and was to be distributed by RKO.Fact|date=February 2007 Unfortunately, because of financial difficulties and the growing disinterest in 3-D, Lesser cancelled the project during the summer of 1953, making it the first 3-D film to be aborted in production.Fact|date=February 2007 Two of the three shorts were shot: "Carmenesque", a burlesque number starring exotic dancer
Lili St. Cyr. and "Fun in the Sun", a sports short directed by famed set designer/director William Cameron Menzies, who also directed the 3-D feature "The Maze" for Allied Artists.
Although it was more expensive to install, the major competing realism process was
anamorphic, first utilized by Fox with Cinemascopeand its September premiere in "The Robe". Anamorphic features needed only a single print, so synchronization was not an issue. Cinerama was also a competitor from the start and had better quality control than 3-D because it was owned by one company that focussed on quality control. However, most of the 3-D features past the summer of 1953 were released in the flat widescreenformats ranging from 1.66:1 to 1.85:1. In early studio advertisements and articles about widescreen and 3-D formats, widescreen systems were referred to as "3-D," causing some confusion among scholars.
There was no single instance of combining Cinemascope with 3-D until 1960, with a film called "September Storm", and even then, that was a blow-up from a non-anamorphic negative.Fact|date=February 2007 "September Storm" also went out with the last dual-strip short, "Space Attack", which was actually shot in 1954 under the title "The Adventures of Sam Space".
In December 1953, 3-D made a comeback with the release of several important 3-D films, including MGM's musical "Kiss Me, Kate". "Kate" was the hill over which 3-D had to pass to survive. MGM tested it in six theaters: three in 3-D and three flat.Fact|date=February 2007 According to trade ads of the time, the 3-D version was so well-received that the film quickly went into a wide stereoscopic release.Fact|date=February 2007 However, most publications, including
Kenneth Macgowan's classic film reference book "Behind the Screen", state that the film did much better as a "regular" release. The film, based on the popular Samuel and Bella Spewack musical, starred the MGM songbird team of Howard Keeland Kathryn Graysonas the leads, supported by Ann Miller, Keenan Wynn, Bobby Van, James Whitmore, Kurt Kasznar and Tommy Rall. The film also prominently promoted its use of stereophonic sound.
Several other features that helped put 3-D back on the map that month were the John Wayne feature "Hondo" (distributed by Warner Bros.), Columbia's "Miss Sadie Thompson" with
Rita Hayworth, and Paramount's "Money From Home" with Dean Martinand Jerry Lewis. Paramount also released the cartoon shorts "Boo Moon" with Casper, the Friendly Ghost and "Popeye, Ace of Space" with Popeye the Sailor. Paramount Picturesreleased a 3-D Korean Warfilm "Cease Fire" filmed on actual Korean locations in 1953.
"Top Banana", based on the popular stage musical with
Phil Silvers, was brought to the screen with the original cast. Although it was merely a filmed stage production, the idea was that every audience member would feel they would have the best seat in the house through color photography and 3-D.Fact|date=February 2007 Although the film was shot and edited in 3-D, United Artists, the distributor, felt the production was uneconomical in stereoscopic form and released the film flat on January 27, 1954.Fact|date=February 2007 It remains one of two "Golden era" 3- D features, along with another United Artists feature, "Southwest Passage" (with John Ireland and Joanne Dru), that are currently considered lost (although flat versions survive).
A string of successful 3-D movies followed the second wave. Some highlights are:
The French Line", starring Jane Russelland Gilbert Roland, a Howard Hughes/RKO production. The film became notorious for being released without an MPAA seal of approval, after several suggestive lyrics were included, as well as one of Ms. Russell's particularly revealing costumes.Fact|date=February 2007 Playing up her sex appeal, one tagline for the film was, "It'll knock "both" of your eyes out!" The film was later cut and approved by the MPAA for a general flat release, despite having a wide and profitable 3-D release.Fact|date=February 2007
* "Taza, Son of Cochise", which starred
Rock Hudsonin the title role, Barbara Rush as the love interest, and Rex Reason(billed as Bart Roberts) as his renegade brother, released through Universal-International.
* Two ape films: "Phantom of the Rue Morgue", featuring
Karl Maldenand Patricia Medina, and produced by Warner Bros. and based on Edgar Allan Poe's " The Murders in the Rue Morgue," and "Gorilla At Large", a Panoramic Production starring Cameron Mitchell, distributed through Fox.
Creature from the Black Lagoon", starring Richard Carlsonand Julie Adams, directed by Jack Arnold. Arguably the most famous 3-D movie, and the only 3-D feature that spawned a sequel, " Revenge of the Creature" in 3-D (followed by another sequel, "The Creature Walks Among Us", shot flat).
Cat-Women of the Moon", an Astor Picturestarring Victor Joryand Marie Windsor. Elmer Bernstein composed the score.
Dial M for Murder", directed by Alfred Hitchcockand starring Ray Milland, Robert Cummings, and Grace Kelly, is considered by aficionados of 3-D to be one of the best examples of the process. Although available in 3-D in 1954, there are no known playdates in 3-D, since Warner Bros. had just instated a simultaneous 3-D/2-D release policy. The film's screening in 3-D in February 1980 at the York Theater in San Franciscodid so well that Warner Bros. re-released the film in 3-D in February 1982.
* "Gog", an
Ivan Torsproduction, dealing with realistic science fiction. The second film in Tors' "Office of Scientific Investigation" trilogy of film, which included, "The Magnetic Monster" and "Riders to the Stars".
* "The Diamond Wizard", the only stereoscopic feature shot in Britain, released flat in both the UK and US. It starred and was directed by
Irwin Allen's " Dangerous Mission" released by RKO in 1954 featuring Allen's trademarks of an all star cast facing a disaster (a forest fire).
* "Son of Sinbad", another RKO/Howard Hughes production, starring
Dale Robertson, Lili St. Cyr, and Vincent Price. The film was shelved after Hughes ran into difficulty with "The French Line", and wasn't released until 1955, at which time it went out flat, converted to the SuperScope process.
3-D's final decline was in the late spring of 1954, for the same reasons as the previous lull, as well as the further success of widescreen formats with theater operators. Even though Polaroid had created a well-designed "Tell-Tale Filter Kit" for the purpose of recognizing and adjusting out of sync and phase 3-D,Fact|date=February 2007 exhibitors still felt uncomfortable with the system and turned their focus instead to processes such as CinemaScope. The last 3-D feature to be released in that format during the "Golden era" was "Revenge of the Creature", on
February 23, 1955. Ironically, the film had a wide release in 3-D and was well received at the box office.Fact|date=February 2007
Revival (1960-1979) in single strip format
Stereoscopic films largely remained dormant for the first part of the 1960s, with those that were released usually being anaglyph exploitation films. One film of notoriety was the Beaver-Champion/Warner Bros. production, "The Mask" (1961). The film was shot in 2-D, but to enhance the bizarre qualities of the dream-world that is induced when the main character puts on a cursed tribal mask, the film went to anaglyph 3-D. These scenes were printed by Technicolor on their first run in red/green anaglyph.
Although 3-D films appeared sparsely during the early 1960s, the true second wave of 3-D cinema was set into motion with the same producer who started the craze of the 1950s. Using a new technology called "Space-Vision 3D", stereoscopic films were printed with two images, one above the other, in a single academy ratio frame, on a single strip, and needed only one projector fitted with a special lens. This so-called "over and under" technique eliminated the need for dual projector set-ups, and produced widescreen, but darker, less vivid, polarized 3-D images. Unlike earlier dual system, it could stay in perfect sync, unless improperly spliced in repair.
Arch Oboler once again had the vision for the system that no one else would touch, and put it to use on his film entitled "The Bubble", which starred
Michael Cole, Deborah Walley, and Johnny Desmond. As with "Bwana Devil", the critics panned "The Bubble", but audiences flocked to see it, and it became financially sound enough to promote the use of the system to other studios, particularly independents, who did not have the money for expensive dual-strip prints of their productions.
Stereovision, a new entity founded by director/inventor Allan Silliphant and optical designer Chris Condon, developed a different 35 mm single-strip format, which printed two images squeezed side-by-side and used an anamorphic lens to widen the pictures through polaroid filters. Louis K. Sher (Sherpix) and Stereovision released the softcore sex comedy The Stewardesses(self-rated X, but later re-rated R by the MPAA). The film cost $100,000 USD to produce, and ran for up to a year in several markets.Fact|date=February 2007 eventually earning $27 million in North America, alone ($114 million in constant-2007 dollars) in fewer than 800 theaters, becoming the most profitable 3-Dimensional film to date, and in purely relative terms, one of the most profitable films ever. It was later released in 70mm 3-D. Some 36 films world-wide were made with Stereovision over 25 years, using either a widescreen (above-below), anamorphic (side by side) or 70mm 3-D formats. Fact|date=February 2007 3-D legend Chris Condon, and Director Ed Meyer, are set to remake The Stewardesses, the most successful 3D film in history, in Real D in 2009.
The quality of the following 3-D films were not much more inventive, as many were either softcore and even hardcore adult films, horror films, or a combination of both. Paul Morrisey's "Flesh For Frankenstein" (aka "
Andy Warhol's Frankenstein") was a superlative example of such a combination.
The revival's apex (1980-1984)
In the 1980s,
IMAX(Large format-sideways running, 70mm) began offering non-fiction films in 3-D, starting with the 20-min. National Film Board of Canadaproduction "Transitions", created for Expo 86in Vancouver. The first IMAX 3-D fiction film was the 45-minute " Wings of Courage" (1995), by director Jean-Jacques Annaud, about the author and pilot Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.
Using the over-under process pioneered by SpaceVision, Hollywood's film-makers hit a craze comparable to that of the one thirty years previous. With the popularity of StereoVision re-issues of "House of Wax" and "Dial M for Murder", newly inspired directors jumped the bandwagon in creating 3-D films geared towards newer, mainstream audiences. Some of these included:
Comin' at Ya!"
Treasure of the Four Crowns"
Friday the 13th Part 3"
The Man Who Wasn't There" (1983)
3-D formats (1984-Present)
In 1998, with the release of
KISS's highly anticipated come-back album Psycho Circus, they released the first 3-D music video for the album's title track "Psycho Circus".
In 2003, James Cameron's "
Ghosts of the Abyss" was released as the first full-length 3-D IMAX feature filmed with the Reality Camera System. This camera system used the latest HDTV video cameras, not film, and was built for Cameron to his specifications. The same camera system was used to film "" (2003), " Aliens of the Deep" IMAX (2005), and " The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D" (2005).
In August 2004, rap group
Insane Clown Possereleased their ninth studio album "Hell's Pit". One of two versions of the album contained a DVD featuring a short film for the track " Bowling Balls". This was the first 3-D film shot in hi-definition video, making a world record.
In November 2004, "Polar Express" was released as IMAX's first full-length, animated 3-D feature. It was released in over 3,550 theaters in 2D, and only 62 IMAX locations. The return from those few 3-D theaters was about 25% of the total. The 3-D version earned about 14 times as much per screen as the 2D version. This has prompted a greatly intensified interest in 3-D and 3-D presentation of animated films.
In June of 2005 The
Manns Chinese 6 theatrein Hollywood became the first commercial movie theatre, be equipped with the Real Dformat. Both Singing In The Rainand The Polar Expresswere tested in the Real Dformat over the course of several months
In November 2005, Walt Disney Studio Entertainment released Chicken Little in the new digital 3-D format known as REAL D, utilizing one digital projector alternating clockwise and counterclockwise polarized images at 144 frames per second. Glasses are worn that diffuse each circular polarization for one of the eyes so that a 3-D effect is achieved. The use of
circular polarizationimproves on the older technique of linear polarizationin that there is no ghosting or leakage and the viewers can tilt their head without affecting the 3-D effects.Fact|date=November 2007 Following the successful financial gross of the film, further animated films in 3-D have been introduced, including " The Polar Express", "Monster House", " Meet the Robinsons", "Beowulf", " U2 3D", and the re-release with REAL D treatment of " The Nightmare Before Christmas". Future REAL D releases will include " Monsters vs. Aliens", " Horrorween" (2009), " The Stewardesses" (remake) (2009).
The 3D technology currently used worldwide is based on the methods and inventions of
Félix Bodrossy, who did not patent his methods, as these are still considered the most up-to-date. ( [http://index.hu/kultur/cinematrix/ccikkek/haromd0421/ Source in Hungarian] , [http://www.pathe-imax.nl/imax/3D_geschiedenis.asp?step=2 reference in Dutch] )
The World 3-D Exposition
In September 2003, Sabucat Productions organized the first World 3-D Exposition, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the original craze. The Expo was held at
Grauman's Egyptian Theatre. During the two-week festival, over 30 of the 50 "golden era" stereoscopic features (as well as shorts) were screened, many coming from the collection of film historian and archivist Robert Furmanek, who had spent the previous 15 years painstakingly tracking down and preserving each film to its original glory. In attendance were many stars from each film, respectively, and some were moved to tears by the sold-out seating with audiences of film buffs from all over the world who came to remember their previous glories.
In May 2006, the second World 3-D Exposition was announced for September of that year, presented by the
3-D Film Preservation Fund. Along with the favorites of the previous exposition were newly discovered features and shorts, and like the previous Expo, guests from each film. Expo II was announced as being the local for the world premiere of several films never before seen in 3-D, including "The Diamond Wizard" and the Universal short, "Hawaiian Nights" with Mamie Van Dorenand Pinky Lee. Other "re-premieres" of films not seen since their original release in stereoscopic form included "Cease Fire!", "Taza, Son of Cochise", "Wings of the Hawk", and "Those Redheads From Seattle". Also shown were the long-lost shorts "Carmenesque" and "A Day in the Country" (both 1953) and William Van Doren Kelley's two "Plasticon" shorts (1922 and 1923).
New developments (2006-2007)
Through the entire history of 3D presentations, techniques to convert existing 2D images for 3D presentation have existed. Few have been effective or survived. The combination of digital and digitized source material with relatively cost effective digital post processing has spawned a new wave of conversion products. In June 2006,
IMAXand Warner Brothersreleased " Superman Returns" including 20 minutes of 3-D images converted from the 2-D original digital footage. George Lucashas announced that he may re-release his " Star Wars" films in 3-D based on a conversion process from the company In-Three.
James Cameron ("Titanic") intends to shoot his new films "Avatar" and "Battle Angel" in digital 3-D. Filming will use HDTV cameras and the Fusion Camera System.
In late 2005
Steven Spielbergtold the press he was involved in patenting a 3-D cinema system that does not need glasses, and which is based on plasma screens. A computer splits each film-frame, and then projects the two split images onto the screen at differing angles, to be picked up by tiny angled ridges on the screen. (Spielberg is co-producer of the film "Monster House" but the potential process was not used for the current release of "Monster House".)
January 30, 2007 SPIE Stereoscopic Displays and Applications Conference - Jason Goodman a CEO of New York City based stereoscopic production company 21st Century 3D [http://www.21stcentury3D.com] announced two new additions to their lineup of three dimensional digital camera systems. Their standard system is currently the worlds smallest and lightest, HI-DEF, stereoscopic 3D camera system. The additions are 3DVX–H and 3D-SSR which is a solid state stereoscopic recorder that directly interfaces with the 3DVX3, 3DVX3.5 or 3DVX–H.
The 5th Harry Potter film, "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix", was released in IMAX theatres in July 2007 with 20 minutes of 3-D images.
In October 2006 it was announced that "Beowulf" would be shown in a 3-D format as well as the 35 mm format.
35 mm "Journey to the Center of the Earth" (also known as "Journey 3-D") was released in July 2008.
Horrorween" to be released in 2009, will also be in Real D 3-D.
Final Destination 4" to be released in 2009, will also be in Real 3-D.
The Stewardesses", the most profitable 3D film in history, is set to be remade in Real 3-D, to be released in 2009.
Disney's wide release of "
Meet the Robinsons"
On March 30, 2007 the first truly wide release of an animation film in digital 3D took place. The Disney film used the Real D technology, which utilizes
polarized glasses. More than 600 theaters were equipped to run the new digital stereo format. Disney is hoping this will become an animation mainstay, just as their use of Technicolor for Snow White, 1937,changed the face of animation and the movies, in general.
3-D TVs, Monitors and Viewing Devices
In November 2002 Sharp announced a number of developments in
parallax barriertype autostereoscopic3D displays. The key technology was a switchable LC (Liquid Crystal) sited atthe rear of a normal LCD, in front of the backlight. This allows on the fly 2D/3D switching. The first public demonstration was shown at CEATEC 2002. Sharpalso announced the creation of a [http://www.3dc.gr.jp/english/ 3D Consortium] , [http://news.zdnet.co.uk/hardware/0,1000000091,2131347,00.htm] . Sharp launchedmultiple products based on this technology, including mobile phones (NTT Docomo SH251iS [ [http://k-tai.impress.co.jp/cda/article/news_toppage/11678.html Sharp SH251iS 3D phone (Japanese)] ] in 2002, SH505i [ [http://k-tai.impress.co.jp/cda/article/showcase_top/14517.html Sharp SH505i 3D phone (Japanese)] ] in 2003), 3D laptops (RD-3D [ [http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,115348-page,1/article.html Sharp RD-3D 3D laptop] ] , AL-3D [ [http://www.engadget.com/2005/03/09/sharp-intros-3d-enhanced-actius-al3d-notebook/ Sharp intros 3D-enhanced Actius AL-3D notebook] ] ) and a desktop monitor (LL-1513D [ [http://www.pcworld.com/article/id,117303-page,1/article.html Sharp ships 3D monitor] ] ). The 3D technologyhad been developed over many years at [http://www.sle.sharp.co.uk Sharp Laboratories of Europe] . [ [http://www.sharp-world.com/corporate/info/rd/tj4/pdf/4.pdf 2D/3D switchable displays (Sharp)] ]
In March 2005 German
Fraunhofer Institutefor Telecommunications demonstrated fully functional 30-inch 3D monitors with a resolution of 1600 by 1200 pixels at the CeBITin Hannover( Germany). Visitors of the CeBIT were shown 3-dimensional objects and films. [ [http://www.physorg.com/news11027.html Physorg] ] [ [http://www.fraunhofer.de/fhg/EN/press/pi/2005/03/Pressrelease_march10_2005.jsp Fraunhofer] ] [ [http://www.fraunhofer.de/fhg/EN/press/pi/2006/02/PressRelease16022006.jsp Fraunhofer Press Release] ] Philipshas developed a slanted lenticulartype autostereoscopicmultiview display named WOWvx. [ [http://www.wired.com/news/technology/0,71627-0.html?tw=wn_index_14 Wired.com] ]
While the above displays do not require any additional viewing aids, such as special glasses they all suffer from some viewing position dependence. The development of 3D displays is far ahead of the development of live action (natural) 3D video content. Currently, the biggest challenge for persuading the public to adopt 3D display technology is the lack of content,particularly the incredibly difficult task of converting legacy 2D content to 3D.
List of 3-D films
3-D Film Preservation Fund
* [http://www.digitalpraxis.net/stereoscopic3d.htm Digital Praxis Stereoscopic 3-D pages] General info on shooting 3-D
* [http://www.21stcentury3d.com 21st Century 3D ] Stereoscopic 3D Production, New York
* [http://www.3dfilmfest.com The World 3-D Exposition (Official)]
* [http://www.didik.com/3d_film.htm Directory of 3-D (Stereo) Motion Pictures 1922-2001]
* [http://www.3d.curtin.edu.au/3dmovies/ The Illustrated 3D Movie List]
* [http://www.the3drevolution.com/3dscreen.html 3-D Filmmaking from Script to Screen (from video to 35 mm, 1923 to 2023)]
* [http://www.saunalahti.fi/~animato/3d/3d.html The making of a 16 mm 3D film]
* [http://www.wittkowsky.net/3D-film History of 3D-movies] (in German)
* [http://www.ledametrix.com/ Ledametrix.com] Twin video camera controller for stereo movie making.
* [http://www.viewmaster.co.uk/htm/3dcinema.asp Article on 3D Cinema] on 20th Century Stereo Viewers website (viewmaster.co.uk)
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