8 January 2010

3D Cinema, 3D HDTV and 3D Gaming

Stereoscopy or 3-dimensional (3D) imaging has been around since the early 1930's and is long over due in mainstream entertainment. I have been a stereoscopy enthusiast since at least the age of 11 when i created my first stereoscopic image using my father's stiffy loaded Sony digital camera. Since then i have dabbled here and there but my biggest venture into stereoscopy was for my class 11 year project in 2003 which was part of my Waldorf education.

The most affordable way for a student like myself to view stereoscopic images was to learn to cross my eyes with great precision. Once i started earning my own salary i immediately invested in some eDimentional glasses. At the time Nvidia were occasionally maintaining their stereoscopic drivers and certain games like Doom 3 and Dungeon Siege 2 became the most amazing experiences i have ever had in gaming. The driver support eventually petered out and the eD-Glasses started gathering dust to my greatest disappointment. Nvidia has since launched their 3D Vision package along with more regularly updated stereo drivers.

Cinema is not a newcomer to the world of 3D but it was certainly before my time when people would wear the Anaglyph (red/blue) glasses to marvel at all the glorious depth. The anaglyph method meant you'd have to sacrifice colour and i think colour was more of a selling point than depth at the time which eventually led to the demise of stereo cinema. Some 30, 40 maybe 50 years down the line we seem to have a greater understanding of light waves and polarisation and can now view stereoscopic movies in full colour using the polarisation method and it seems the 3D bug has bitten again. This time we may just stay bitten with the support of Disney among other serious corporate backers of the technology, 3D may finally become mainstream.

With exception to the odd enthusiasts home computer, home entertainmant has rarely included any stereoscopy but again we have backers like Sony, Samsung and Panasonic all determined to get a piece of the 3D pie. Home etertainment offerings are now coming with 3D ready status, stereoscopy may well be a standard home entertainment feature in the months to follow. I recently went to see Avatar in 3D and i can't imagine having to watch the movie without that 3D realism.

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