Monday, December 08, 2008

ThreeDee TeeVee

As I was staggering around DreamWorks Animation today, a kind person invited me into his office to view 3D television.

What I watched was four minutes of Monsters Vs. Aliens on a big, flat-screen set, which as they say is "3D ready." I'm informed the televisions are manufactured in Japan with a double layered viewing area for that "left eye, right eye" goodness that transforms images into full-bore visual stereo. I wore disposable polarized glasses.

I've now seen chunks of two stereoscopic sequences for this flick, and the results are pretty eye-popping. No strain on retinas or pupils (at least for me), no headache, just full-bodied, View Master Goodness. And as an added bonus, the film looks really, really entertaining (but no spoilers will be revealed here).

I now understand why the 3d versions of recent animated films do better on a per-theater basis than their flat-imaged cousins. The key demographic (14-32) wants to see movies this way. A lot. And shells out money to do it.

But it isn't just movies at the AMC that will be changing in the next four to eight years. I'm informed that 3D television isn't far away. Not that this is a secret:

A broadcast transformed into a state-of-the-art 3D for a crowded movie theatre sporting an upgraded version of the Drew Carey-style glasses made Thursday's contest via satellite from San Diego's Qualcomm Stadium a ground-breaking, eye-popping event ...

What they saw ... was a surreal version of a game that looked as if it was shown through a cool View Master mixed in with Dolby surround sound.

The most compelling action was best seen on slow-motion replays when the ball came directly at the cameras -- and the audience -- such as an end-zone shot of the interceptions by San Diego's Stephen Cooper from the Raiders' JaMarcus Russell in the second quarter ...

Three-dimensional television is just a few steps behind the theatrical version. There are competing teevee viewing systems, one using polarized glasses and one having electronic glasses, but viewing DVDs or broadcast events in stereo is eminently doable either way. The giant 3-D television screens are more expensive than the two-dimensional kind, but prices will come down rapidly once people start buying them and critical mass is achieved.

I think the technology is as inevitable as sound and technicolor was inevitable, seventy-plus years ago. Time will tell if I'm right.


Anonymous said...

You are right Steve. Three dimensional technology is inevitable. I knew that the first time I picked up a Stereo Realist camera in 1952. Unfortunately, digital technology wasn't there to make it a reality at that time. So I had to wait. the irony is that I will probably be dead before it reaches the full potential I have waited all these years to see.

Steve Hulett said...

Take vitamins and eat your Wheaties. You'll last long enough to see it flower.

Anonymous said...

I hate wearing friggin' glasses. I got contacts because I didn't want to wear them for my prescription and I don't intend on wearing them in a theater.

Call me when they can make the 3D effect WITHOUT them.

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