The Era of 3D

Retro 3D Glasses

The time where cartoons were so fascinating even in 2D is over. Now the new era of cartoons, and movies, is all in 3 Dimension. And despite what most of us may think, this is not new at all to the cinema industry, on the contrary, 3D existed even before we curiously looked at those cardboard glasses found in children’s magazines.

Probably most of us have now realized the increase of 3D movies and cartoons. Still those movies are not new to us. We surely do remember those funny two-lens colored glasses, sometime back in our adolescent.
But this was strictly to look at magazine illustrations, that seemed hazy and blurry but when wearing the glasses, they would come out of the page.

Those types of images and illustrations are called Anaglyph Images, sometimes associated with stereoscopy images. These images were easy to produce and were the first 3D technology adopted by Hollywood film industry.

The images are made of two color layers, one over the other, but offset to produce a depth effect. When viewed with the two lenses colored glasses, usually red and cyan, they give the illusion of the image coming to the front, thus creating a depth and 3D effect.

But 3D movies were there even before. The first 3D movie was The Power of Love and was premiered at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles on September 27, 1922. Harry K. Fairall and Robert F. Elder film producer and cinematographer respectively, combined the movie with a projected dual-strip in the red/green anaglyph format, making it the first movie to use the anaglyph glasses.

Back then, the movie did not get much attention and after a while of no booking the movie was forgot, but it is thanks to them that now we have 3D movies. The Wizard of Oz premiered in 1939 was a 3D too; Hollywood was still testing its three-color Technicolor, and where they wanted to astonish the audience with supersaturated hues.

Simply put, making a 3D movie involves filming an image from two different perspectives; one for the left eye and the other for the right eye. When combined and watched together they create the illusion of depth. Because the synchronization and combining of both perspective was difficult and almost impossible, 3D movies were did not become very popular, until recently, as the images seemed unsynchronized and unrelated.

The golden era of 3D movie came between 1952 and 1955 with the movie Bwana Devil, produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler. During the 1950s, the disposable anaglyph glasses made of cardboard were very popular and mainly used for comic books, During the 1950s, the familiar disposable anaglyph glasses made of cardboard were mainly used for comic books. Despite the success and the many other movies that came out, because it was mainly used for illustrations and comic books, it was still not successful enough for the audience.

The revival came with the movie The Mask. The film was shot in 2-D, but to enhance the bizarre qualities of the other-world that is becomes alive when the main character, Jim Carrey, puts on the cursed tribal mask, the film went to anaglyph 3-D. These scenes were printed by Technicolor on their first run in red/green anaglyph.

After conquering, slowing and parallel to technological advancement, more and more audience we can say it has now reached the peak as never before. Today almost all movies, new and old, are re-adapting with the new 3D technologies. James Cameron’s Titanic is being remade where you will feel next to Leonardo DiCaprio while the camera pans the icy water below. Once and for all, for all Titanic, lovers you will feel and be on the Titanic in every second of the movie.

More new movies are to come where digital 3D will be involved. Every famous director is implementing this technology in his movies as well as remaking old movies with this special effect. Not only in regards to animation but also in action movies as well as comedy and even documentaries.

James Cameron’ famous Avatar for Fox is in 3D. Disney and Pixar will be releasing five 3D movies including a sequel of Toy Story. Even director George Lucas seems not satisfied with the already incredible success of his movies Star Wars and plans to revive them, once more, all in 3D.

Eric Brevig director of Journey to the Center of the Earth, in order to make this story, by Jules Verne, attractive even after the many remakes, he played on flying objects and fish. The audience while waiting and holding their 3D glasses where ready to be launched any kind of object towards them as well as being thrown and will try to dodge enemies in one of Verne’s most amazing stories.

The latest movie and the first movie to open at the Cannes Film Festival, is Up, the story about Carl Fredricksen a 78-year-old man who uses a walking frame, wears an old suit and eats dinner at 3.30pm. after a sequence of events, he goes on an adventure, of course all in 3D! If Avatar and Up will convince the audience about 3D, then there will be no other barriers to the further expansion of 3D movies. And not to mention the impressive results in the animated Monsters VS. Aliens and Coraline.

What about music? Yes music is moving towards 3D too. IMAX concert movie U2 3D made viewers feel as if they were almost touching Bono on stage. A good opportunity for all of those who could find tickets or where just too form the stage.

Horror movies have not escaped this new trend either. My Bloody Valentine 3D directed by Patrick Lussier, as the title suggests, revolves around the whole 3D idea. The use of 3D here is to help the audience see two perspectives; the predator’s trying to fetch and kill his prey and the victim’s try to escape the seemingly inevitable death. Not to mention other great upcoming movies all in 3D including A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey and Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland.

There are various reasons why producers now go mainly for 3D. If we consider the marketing aspect, they can make sure that there is no same for free anymore. People downloading the movie, will not be able to see it at their homes, unless with those glasses. Before movies were downloaded easily, burned on CDs and watched on sofas. With the 3D being in every movie, in order to get the same quality of the cinema screen, you will have to go there. So for producers this is definitively a good opportunity to overcome movie downloads.

Putting aside the incredible profit it brings to producers, another reason about the use of 3D is because it might as well be the ultimate existing technology to take down the barrier between the audience and movies, as now you will feel inside the movie! By 2010, media analysts expect more than 7,000 digital 3-D screens in the U.S and a probable shift to 3D.

Let us all go and look in our “old stuff” categorized boxes and revive one of our childhood 3D glasses as more seems to come!

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