/December 20, 2009//
Technology is the most growing part of humanity nowadays. We’ve got a lot muscular to rest, and gain lot of laziness. But in the other hand, we cure more of sick people and finding new substance to create antidote against evil viruses. Technology has good and bad side, as every single thing have their own two sides of coin. But then again, technology could give you happiness and sadness through its existence. As happy as lovers go, technology also changed the way of watching cinema. Forever.
When Edward Muybridge founded the way to capture life through lenses and films in 1878, we might never think that those flat substances could bring depth—the so called third dimension we knew. After all years of the joy of watching cinema we thought that the technology couldn’t give us the merrier excitement. We knew that the sound could give us more real feeling through the digital surround sound, we knew that channel 10.1 is finally arrived at the cinema. But the ear alone cannot capture the life in the cinema. Because eye happens to be called the most important sense, so scientist and engineers tend to be aware of this opinion. Experiment is made and the search to find the newest invention to watch cinema had never end. Years and years passed and voila, the magic happens. The magic is called 3-D MOVIE.
James Cameron’s AVATAR was ranked 168 on imdb’s Top 250 with only 2 days of premiering with 8.7 rating and 82% in RottenTomatoes. Having $ 300 million on budget (said to be one of the most expensive films ever made), it is already returned $ 27 million profit on these 2 days. The 3-D version of this movie happened to be breathtaking and made us gasp and cheer as the same time. It is science fiction on new perspective. For fantasy genre lover, this is must be your lucky charm. James Cameron not only directed this one, he even wrote it (gosh, he added a sum of talented people being born with so much neuron and tons of imagination). The King of the World is return on blockbuster once again, and this time, it is with a vengeance. People are comparing AVATAR with Star Wars (1977), the movie that changed our perspective on creating and watching films.
When I’ve got the lecture on my class about 3-D images, I know that ‘we’ already could create 3-D movies. But then again, I’ve never thought that ‘we’ could create impact that much bigger. After watching my first 3-D movie experience, it tickled my common sense as an engineer (who loves to make and watch movies ;P ) to spread the joy more and more. When everybody just reviewed AVATAR with beautiful words, here I am, giving you the so-called-cheap-information to coup you up to create this so-called-mainstream-technology. I’ll be giving you the science of what really happen when you take on the glasses and sit through the movie.
Let’s start here. When does the magic really start happen? People said, although the 1950s are most often considered to be the 3-D movie decade, the first feature length 3-D film, “The Power of Love,” actually was made in 1922. Since that time the use of 3-D technology in theaters and television has gained such popularity and changed the standard of watching movie. It is actually simple, and you might be found the phenomenon on your TPB’s classes, yet it is amazing to find out what is actually happened behind the glasses.
Most human beings gifted with two eyes and an absolutely amazing binocular vision system. The binocular system makes each eye see a different image, and the brain combines them into a single picture that we use to calculate distance. The binocular vision system lets us easily tell with good accuracy how far away an object is.
The binocular vision system relies on the fact that our two eyes are spaced about 5 centimeters apart. Therefore, each eye sees the world from a slightly different perspective. The brain uses the slight difference in angle between the two images, known as parallax that helped us to define depth. This is probably the answer to your question why we have to wear 3-D glasses to watch 3-D movie. It is to feed different images into our eyes. The screen actually displays two images, and the glasses cause one of the images to enter one eye and the other to enter the other eye.
Red/Green or Red/Blue
In this system, two images are displayed on the screen, one in red and the other in blue (or green). The filters on the glasses allow only one image to enter each eye, and your brain does the rest. The images that we saw through projector are contained of two color layers in a single film. One layer is dominated by red, and the other is dominated by blue or green. That’s why we have one red lens and one blue/green lens. These lenses let one eye to see the red part of the image and the other eye to see the blue/green part. The different color makes our brain combined them as one image with 3 dimensions. However, because of the use of color-filtering lenses, the color of the final image isn’t accurate. This type of 3-D technology has also caused some people to experience headaches and eye strain.
In this newer system, two synchronized projectors are created two different views onto the screen, each with a different polarization. The light that creates each image is polarized to match the corresponding lens. The glasses allow only one of the images into each eye because they contain lenses with different polarization. Rather than looking like a mesh of red and green, movies that use this technology look normal, but blurry, when viewed without glasses.
Now you probably saying, “Ooh, so that’s what happen”, but it is just the magic happened on the cinema. You might be grows a new questions about how they actually created 3-D images. What’s exactly the magic happened when the camera is rolling? Catch another time maybe, and I’ll write why.
“Look, when Jim (James Cameron) writes a story, we figure out the technology to realize it. It’s not the other way around. We don’t say, ‘Oh, here’s the technology. Let’s come up with some story to do’.”
– Jon Landau, producer of AVATAR and Titanic
(soon to be, hopefully) Physic Engineer
Wilson, Tracy V. “How is digital 3-D different from old 3-D movies?.” 30 March 2007. HowStuffWorks.com. 19 December 2009.
Brain, Marshall. “How 3-D Glasses Work.” 18 July 2003. HowStuffWorks.com. 19 December 2009.
O’Hehir, Andrew. “Creating the world of James Cameron’s Avatar” 16 December 2009. 19 December 2009.
Ebert, Roger. “Avatar” 11 December 2009. 19 December 2009.