3D Glasses For The Cinema
Are you old enough to remember the old paper 3D glasses? You know the ones that used anaglyph technology, one red lens and one cyan in white cardboard frames. Or maybe you’ve seen amusing photos of the cinema audience looking like a heterochromic army of aliens watching 3D films like Jaws3D or Freddy’s Dead, the Final Nightmare installment of the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
No wonder 3D cinema seemed to have died a death despite periodic attempts to resurrect it, until the advent of Imax 3D cinema. Not even the coolest of the cool could pull off the old style 3D glasses without looking like a dork. Fortunately, though, Imax technology has improved the viewing experience with modern 3D films, with bigger screens and no need to show two different coloured images, which means no need for those hideous odd-eyed glasses. No, modern 3D glasses are much improved, having the look of sunglasses, and fortunately they’re usually a lot more durable, with sleek black plastic frames rather than white cardboard.
Both the older anaglyph technology and the newer polarized 3D glasses are based on stereoscopic imagery. Although it sounds fancy, what that means is simply that the screen shows two slightly different images, but with the right equipment, we see a single combined image which appears to have depth.
To achieve a 3D effect, two images are filmed from cameras spaced slightly apart to mimic the way we see in everyday life, because of the way our eyes are spaced apart in our heads. These images are both projected onto the screen with the same offset, and the 3D glasses are used as a kind of filter to ensure each eye only sees one of those images. With the old 3D technology, that meant washing one image in red, the other in blue, and using the different coloured lenses to make the otherwise psychedelic looking image combine into a 3D effect.
Anaglyph technology used polarization, but through colour. Modern polarized 3D glasses work on the same principle, but thanks to modern technology, both images are full natural colour with different coatings applied to the lens for each eye determining which picture is picked up.
Although most cinemas showing 3D films offer 3D glasses that won’t make you look like a freak, they can still be a little on the flimsy side. Not only that, they tend to be one-size-fits-all, which generally means they fit everyone badly, they might not be the best quality so your viewing experience may be sub-optimal, and worst of all, unless you buy a fresh pair and keep them afterwards, you have no idea who wore them before you, so they’re not particularly hygienic either.
Because of this more and more people are opting to buy their own pair of 3D glasses and take them along to watch 3D films at the cinema, ensuring a better fit and quality, and a prime 3D cinema experience.