Yesterday, Tom Norton and I attended a presentation called "3D For Real" put on by Stewart Filmscreen, Digital Projection, S1Digital, Crestron, and AV Partners at Stewart's training facility in Torrance, California. That's about an hour's drive from my house, not counting traffic problems. To make sure we got there before 9:00 AM, I set my alarm for stupid o'clock, which turned out to be unnecessary, since the morning traffic was much lighter than we expected, even through downtown LA. Fortunately, the trip was well worth the early alarm.
The Society for Information Display (SID) hosts an annual conference called DisplayWeek, during which the latest display technologies are unveiled, often long before they become available in actual products. At this year's show in Seattle, Washington, several 3D-related announcements have already been made, and it's only the first day.
In the May 10, 2010 issue of Newsweek, famed movie critic Roger Ebert writes "Why I Hate 3-D (and You Should Too)," giving nine reasons with extended commentary. I don't disagree with everything he says, but "hate" is far too strong a word for me.
On Tuesday evening, I attended a panel discussion on the future of 3D for cable and TV presented by iHollywood Forum to coincide with the NCTA (National Cable & Telecommunication Association) 2010 convention in Los Angeles. Also on hand were several demos, including Panasonic's VT25 3D TV and a super-cool 3D camera rig (pictured above), which I'll get to later.
As I explained in a previous entry in this blog, virtually all direct-view 3DTVs coming to market now use battery-powered active-shutter glasses to ensure that each eye sees only the image it's supposed to. But if you've gone to see a 3D movie at a commercial cinema lately, you were undoubtedly handed a different type of glasses that includes no electronics at all. These so-called passive glasses are much less expensive than their active counterpartswhich is why they're used in public settings where they can be easily damaged or stolenand there are two different types, depending on the technology being used in a particular theater. In this blog entry, I'll explain how one of these technologiespolarizationsimulates 3D on a 2D screen.
A couple of weeks ago, Tom Norton sent me a link to a blog entry on the website of Orson Scott Card, one of my favorite sci-fi authors who wrote the Ender and Alvin Maker series of books as well as many other fascinating stories, such as Songmaster and The Worthing Saga. In this particular blog entry, Card writes about why he hated Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland and why he hates 3D in general.
On Tuesday, I visited Samsung's QA (Quality Assurance) Labs in Los Angeles to discuss the company's 3D technology in some detail. Of course, there was a Samsung 3DTV on handthe UN55C7000 LED-edgelit LCDalong with a BD-C6900 3D Blu-ray player and a high-def media server with some additional 3D content.
The hype about 3D these days is overwhelming, with manufacturers and studios hailing it as The Next Big Thing. And the technology has come a long way from the red-and-cyan anaglyph glasses of the 1950s. But it still has a few drawbacks, leading some to predict it will be The Next Big Flop. Remember quadraphonic sound?
A few months ago I wrote an article on various technologies in development that promise to bring 3D into your home, sans funny glasses. They're all a ways off from home use, but that doesn't mean you can't get 3D into your home. Two recently released products allow you to enjoy 3D in your home, right now. Maybe.
For 50-some years, 3D has been promised as the next big thing in entertainment. In reality, it has been around a lot longer than that. Everyone remembers (or at least has seen references to) the red-and-blue or polarized glasses of yore that let you experience the likes of Captain EO and Jaws 3D in all their "glory." Some heavyweights in the movie industry are really pushing for 3D again, and its success in theaters may or may not have any effect on whether you bring 3D into your home. Personally, I feel my life is 3D enough and would prefer more 2-D, but that's just me.