Stereoscopic photography enchanted Victorians. Then came 3D movies with flimsy glasses and bad story lines. So, what next for 3D?
Imax Corporation has brought xenon bulbs, triple 70mm 3D film stock and soak-your-eyeball screens to 77 theatres worldwide. For complete immersion, it equips viewers with special visors. Last year Imax bought Emmy-winning magic-lantern specialists Digital Projection International of Manchester.
On the small screen, researchers at NHK in Japan have come up with a camera that films through one lens, made up from 2,500 tiny lenses, meaning the camera shoots from thousands of different angles at once. When played back through a special screen, viewers see a 3D image, without glasses.
3D's biggest test, though, will be the integration of effects with great narratives. To this end Imax Cinema has also bought equity in a firm making 3D computer-animated general content - and there's also an animated Gulliver's Travels promised for 2001.