Archive for the ‘Physics’ Category


April 27, 2010

Five years ago when Disney decided to release Chicken Little in 3-D, they had to be thinking about a couple of things:  One, as a tactic, taking a movie like Chicken Little and releasing it in 3-D might be a good marketing approach.  It gave the studio something to talk about, and 3-D might create buzz.  Two, strategically, it was a way for the studio to further the cause of digital projection.  The studio hoped to accomplish two things:  Anti-piracy might be better enabled with digital; and digital distribution could reduce print cost.   (more…)


April 14, 2010

A third of theatrical release revenues since the opening of Avatar in December have come from a handful of 3-D films and when you consider that 125 features have been released in the same timeframe I’d say it’s all over but the shouting for 2-D. Call me bullish but the same pattern emerged when sound was introduced. Given that as background let us consider that the biggest source of revenue comes from the largest theaters with the biggest screens. So let’s consider the subject of the biggest 3-D screens.  (more…)

Dark Cinema

March 29, 2010

This morning, after having driven my three kids to two schools in the San Fernando Valley, I was heading west on Ventura Boulevard when a man in a tank-like black SUV raced toward me on my side of the road.  With moments to spare, I swerved out of the way, and you know what?  The guy smiled at me and gave me a friendly wave; a grey haired demon, refusing to take responsibility, or just the angel of death trying to do his job? I came home and told Julie what had happened, shouting in outrage.  Did it do any good to get excited?  Why can’t I view existence with equanimity? I am far from a perfect driver – so live and let live…right? But that’s not who I am and so I move on to the next outrage: a threat to my beloved stereoscopic cinema.  (more…)


March 24, 2010

I have been working on a new stereoscopic projection method, the Oculus3D™ system, using 35mm projectors and specially formatted film.  From a business perspective there is a strong demand for a product like this since there are not enough digital projectors, the usual platform for 3D projection, in the United States, North America, or the rest of the world, for that matter.  There are theatrical features, mostly adventure fantasy films, shot in 2D, that are being converted so that they can be shown in 3D. And there are 3D movies in the pipeline that were planned to be in 3D — something like two features a month for this year. A studio executive is probably making a good decision to convert assets to maximize attendance and profits after the robust success of Avatar and Alice, which are financial successes that have given a boost to the stereoscopic medium.  We are seeing steps toward the ubiquity of the stereoscopic cinema on a genre by genre basis – first kids’ animation, then horror date movies, and now action, science fiction, and adventure films. The 3D films that are getting made are, with the passage of time, for older and older audiences. Now it would seem that all tent-pole movies are likely candidates for 3D.  (more…)

How Shuttering Eyewear Came To Be

March 18, 2010

Field-sequential electro-stereoscopic displays require a selection device to alternately occlude and transmit successive fields to each eye.  A sequence of images is  written  using  a technique  which  is  similar to that used for  planar  video  or electronic  displays. Today such displays are typically produced by DLP projectors or fast LCDs that are part of TV sets now arriving in retail stores. For a flickerless stereoscopic system, the images  need  to  be  written  at  twice  the  usual  planar   60 fields/second  refresh  rate, because  each  eye,  independently, needs  to see 60 fields/second.  Therefore, in most stereoscopic video or computer graphics systems the refresh rate is about 120 fields/second.  (more…)


January 28, 2010

I knew that the ultimate package would be one that would not involve any cables or wires, or a big controller the size of a hi-fi amplifier.  But how to fit everything into a pair of eyewear??  There were some big stumbling blocks.  We couldn’t get a high enough dynamic range out of a single cell all by itself.  If we had to stack two of these shutters together, as we did in our headband visor, we would be using more power and have more weight.  Not good for wireless battery powered eyewear.  (more…)


January 19, 2010

I went to school with Mel Siegel, a physisist at Carnegie Mellon.  I asked Mel for a simple explanation of polarized light in terms of quantum theory.  In this case that’s the construct that light can be explained in terms of it being a particle — a photon.  Here’s what he wrote: (more…)


January 15, 2010

A large percentage of light passes through when the filter’s axes are parallel and this is called transmission, and a smaller percentage of light passes through when the axes are at right angles and this is called extinction.  The ratio of the two is called the contrast ratio or the dynamic range.  For good linear (or as I said earlier, some people call it plane) sheet polarizers for stereoscopic applications, the materials used usually have transmission between 30 to 35 percent and the dynamic range is about 3000:1 for the lower transmission material. In other words, only 1/3000th of the light in transmission passes through when the axes of the polarizers are orthogonal (extinction).  For circular polarization the dynamic range is about a tenth of that for good linears.  (more…)


January 13, 2010

From the time I was kid to my student days as an undergraduate in physics my abiding passion was light and vision.  Since my earliest years I have been interested in creating images and in understanding the role that light plays in image creation.  As a student no other part of physics engaged me as much as the study of light.  (more…)


November 9, 2009

Silver screens, if they are well made and installed, can have minimal hot-spotting, but they still have what I call shading.  I make a distinction between hot-spotting and shading.  Although they may come about from the same reflective characteristics of the screen, shading has to do with an asymmetrical change in brightness across the screen and is typically dependent upon where you are sitting.  Shading happens quite noticeably when sitting in the worst seat in the house, say in the front row way on the extreme left or the right. In fact, the worst seats in the house for viewing a 2-D movie on a matte screen become even worse when viewing a polarized light stereoscopic movie on a silver screen from a bad seat.  (more…)


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