Everything You Always Wanted to Know About 3D Glasses
If you’ve ever used a View-Master—a popular toy amongst children since the 1960s—than you’ve had at least one experience with 3D glasses. Of course, you might have also used old-school red and blue lensed eyewear—or the now more common polarized glasses—to view a 3D movie here in Edmonton. Whatever your personal experience with 3D glasses, the history, the mechanics and the experience of using them is fascinating.
A Brief History in 3D
The technology for 3D entertainment has been around for over a hundred years. In the beginning, stereoscope viewers similar to the View-Master were used to view two marginally different pictures as a singular image, resulting in the illusion of a three-dimensional tableau. This form of entertainment was common in pubs and arcades up until the 1930’s when films became a much more popular form of entertainment.
While the heyday for 3D films occurred during the fabulous 50s, the very first 3D film—The Power of Love—was screened as early as 1922. In the early 1950s, 3D movies became a widespread cultural phenomenon. However, when widescreen films became more en vogue, 3D films declined in popularity. Since then, 3D films have risen and fallen in popularity many times. Resurgences have occurred off and on throughout the decades up, until the present day.
How 3D Movies Work
3D entertainment in all its forms relies on technology that mimics what the human eye naturally does. The left eye and the right actually see two marginally different images that are registered in the brain as a singular picture. 3D movies utilize this phenomenon by projecting two images simultaneously. When you put on a pair of 3D glasses, they work in such a way that the right eye sees one image and the left eye sees the other image. Your brain translates these corresponding images into a singular three-dimensional moving picture.
Blue and red lensed 3D glasses were once the common viewing apparatus for these films. The movies were shot with two cameras, one with a blue filter, and the other with a red filter. The glasses filtered out the corresponding coloured image in each eye creating the illusion of one image. Nowadays, polarized glasses filter the two sets of moving images in a similar manner, only instead of utilizing differing colours, one image is vertically polarized, while the other is horizontally polarized.
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