The history of motion pictures is an interesting one, and I am learning more about it in the context of my present work inventing stereoscopic motion picture systems, and in connection with the work I am doing with studios and filmmakers. I am taking working with filmmakers seriously because the quality of the Real D system is judged by the content projected on our screens. I was recently appointed as the co-chair (Peter Andersen is the other co-chair) of the sub-committee of the ASC Technology Committee tasked to help figure out workflow production pipeline and stereoscopic cinematographic issues. These subjects are tentative and need to be developed and we’re all learning together.
Archive for April, 2008
It’s an unintended consequence of success: disruption. Real D has demonstrated and is introducing a new version of the ZScreen modulator that is twice as bright as the original product that made possible the current stereoscopic electronic cinema. The ZScreen is an electro-optical modulator that can switch the characteristics of polarized light at video field rate. When used in combination with a Texas Instruments equipped DMD light engine, the result is 144 fields per second projected at the screen–half left-handed and half right-handed circularly polarized. This high field rate is required for eliminating motion and stereoscopic judder.
Historically, there have been different ways to set up stereoscopic projection as can be traced in the literature. Contemplated was dual projection using anaglyphs, or the polarized method for image selection. In one case, the projectors maintain a constant distance apart with the lens axes parallel. In the second case, the lens axes converge at the plane of the screen. In the first method there is no constancy with regard to placement of objects at the plane of the screen and that will change with the size of the screen, but background points can be set to remain at a fixed value no matter what size screen is used. The second method is the one we use when in fact the lens axes are coincidental.
Inventors have been obsessed, and rightfully so, with creating stereoscopic displays that do not require eyewear, or what in the jargon of the field are called “individual selection devices.” I have put some considerable effort into devising variations of this. To avoid humiliation I’m not going to tell you about the wackiest thing I worked on. However, I am going to tell you about the next-wackiest thing and a few that are more sensible.