3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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3D Glasses in Movie Theaters and Should You BYO 3D Glasses

September 30th, 2011 · 5 Comments · 3D Movies & Videos


In the last few days there has been a lot of controversy going on around the fact that Sony has announced that it plans to stop subsidizing the 3D glasses in movie theaters starting next year with the release of the movies “Men in Black III” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.” This has angered the National Association of Theater Owners in US that did not accept these news happily, and this was not the first try for big movie studio to stop subsidizing the glasses. It has happened with 20th Century Fox back in 2009, but they have renounced their plan to stop subsidizing the 3D glasses after the same thing happened as is now happening with Sony. Will Sony do the same as 20th Century Fox is still not clear, but it is clear that unless this happens as an industry wide move the movie theater owners won’t be happy at all. But you know, there are already quite a few placer around the world where movie studios are actually not subsidizing the 3D glasses. This can easily be arranged adjusting the profit distribution shares between the movie theater owners and the movie studios, however movie studios like Sony probably just want to move the cost for the 3D glasses to the theater owners. And this all could lead to a 3D ticket price increase or a decrease in the number of 3D movie projections, but it could also lead to a big market increase in one relatively new category of products – personal movie theater 3D glasses…

Buying and bringing your own personal (BYO) 3D glasses with you when going to a 3D movie projection is already something that quite a few people prefer doing, especially considering some of the side effects of the reusable 3D glasses you usually get in the theater. The reusable 3D glasses in movie theaters are usually being washed in between projections in order to have them cleaned, but how many times you’ve seen the lenses of these glasses scratched or smudged with some cleaning fluid or whatever? You usually have to carefully wipe them out yourself before using them, that is unless you carry your own personal pair of 3D glasses that you can take out and enjoy the movie. There are also some movie theaters that hand out what appears to be packed single-use pairs of glasses that get proper treatment before being repacked and distributed for the next projection… this is usually a better and more problem free solution for the audience, but is probably also more expensive. But you know, getting 3D glasses for a 3D movie projection is something you’d normally expect to get as a service from the movie theater, so should you also not expect to get a discount from the ticket when you BYO 3D glasses? This is one of the options and movie theaters could also start offering different brands of compatible 3D glasses with the type of projection system they are using. And this way they can even further increase their profit by offering different types of personal 3D glasses and in different price ranges, so that you will know when you spent some money for a personal pair of glasses you would then get a discount from the 3D movie tickets.

Having movie theaters offering different personal 3D glasses is probably the best way, especially considering the fact that there are multiple 3D projection systems in use that require the viewer to wear a different type of 3D glasses to see the proper image. These are mostly passive solutions – IMAX, RealD and Dolby 3D as well as some active ones such as XpanD, which is probably the most widely used active solution for 3D movie theaters. Obviously active and passive 3D viewing methods are not compatible, although you may be able to make a kind of an universal solution, but even the different passive solutions are not compatible with each other due to the different method of light polarization being used in each. When you look around you will see that pretty much all better looking and especially designer 3D glasses available are compatible with RealD’s projection system only. Sure you could pretty easily also find IMAX or Dolby 3D glasses, but these are usually the same not so practical and not so good looking type of 3D glasses that you get handed out when you enter the respective 3D movie theater. The IMAX 3D glasses shouldn’t be expensive and hard to produce, but most likely IMAX is not giving out license to anyone else to make designer 3D glasses compatible with their solutions, the same could also apply to Dolby 3D, although their glasses should be a bit more expensive and harder to produce due to the way their lenses work. This would of course need to change if the market of personal 3D glasses continues to grow and there is a big potential for that, although the presence of multiple formats makes it harder for the users. Depending on what format the local movie theaters around you use you may need to buy multiple different pairs of 3D glasses and if you go for more expensive designer brands such as Calvin Klein or Oakley it could turn out to be quite an expensive thing to do. And if you don’t go watching 3D movies that often it becomes even less attractive, even though there are a lot of options for personal 3D glasses that don’t cost over $100 USD…

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The Star Wars Saga Will Get a 2D to 3D Conversion Release in 2012

September 29th, 2010 · 12 Comments · 2D to 3D Conversion

We all knew this was coming, a 2D to 3D conversions of the all 6 movies from the Star Wars saga, we just needed to get the final confirmation coming from George Lucas and that has finally happened. What he was waiting for was the number of 3D screens to become enough for a major release like that, and Lucas wants to have the 3D versions of the movies shown on pretty much every 3D screen available when they launch. 20th Century Fox and Lucasfilm have announced 2012 as the target year for the theatrical launch of the Star Wars series in 3D, starting with the Star Wars: Episode I “Phantom Menace” as the first movie of the saga to be released.

“Getting good results on a stereo conversion is a matter of taking the time and getting it right,” said John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor for Industrial Light & Magic. “It takes a critical and artistic eye along with an incredible attention to detail to be successful. It is not something that you can rush if you want to expect good results. For Star Wars we will take our time, applying everything we know both aesthetically and technically to bring audiences a fantastic new Star Wars experience.”

George Lucas know that good conversions from 2D to 3D take time and he is prepared to do it the right way in order to achieve really good results in the conversion, so that the 3D versions of the movies will be made as good as possible. We’ve already seen some rushed 2D to 3D conversion for movies that in the end were quite disappointing, but taken enough time and resources you can make a 2D movie look almost as if it was really shot in 3D. And with old movies that were shot years ago like all the six episodes and especially the first thee Star Wars movies you can’t just go and reshoot them in 3D, the only way is to do a good 2D to 3D conversion.

So are you going to go and watch the Star Wars saga in 3D, although it will be a conversion in 2012?

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