Archive for the ‘3D Projection’ Category

Converted to Conversion, 2

April 7, 2010

As a result of my experience with Paramount and Star Trek I became friendly with people at one of the conversion houses, In-Three, located in Thousand Oaks.  In-Three had recently undergone a change in management, and because I thought they had a lot of promise I went out and met with them and did a couple of training sessions.  Their technique was almost purely mathematical and I thought that what they needed to do was shift more toward the subjective and the aesthetic, rather than the analytical.  After all, the composition of stereoscopic images is ultimately judged by human beings, and various ratios, distances, and parallax values have a less than one to one correlation with perception.  The final arbiter of a 3-D image is a human being, and it is better to train somebody to have a well-developed aesthetic sense than to fuss around with a lot of equations.  In-Three did came up to world-class standards, but mostly because of the change in personnel and their reorganization and not through my minimal efforts. (more…)

Converted to Conversion, I

April 5, 2010

The idea of taking a two-dimensional image and turning it into a stereoscopic image is not a new one.  The idea of being able to pull this off for a motion picture sounds like a fantasy.  There are two extant techniques – conversion on-the-fly and conversion I supposed one would classify as off-line, requiring some considerable effort.  I am not going to consider on-the-fly technology because the state of the art is abysmally abysmal.  (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 18, 2010

If you take a left- and right-handed circular polarizer and you lay them on top of each other on a light box, you will see that they will extinguish the light.  Do the experiment by using the filters from a pair of glasses from a MasterImage or a Real D show and put the polarizers together so that the retarders are facing each other (those are the sides of the filters that are facing the screen). If you rotate one with respect to the other you will see that the extinction varies.  What’s going on here?  It’s circularly polarized light and you would think that you wouldn’t get a variation in extinction as you do for linear.  But you do get a variation and you will see that the image will go from pretty dark to, depending upon the material you’ve got, a sort of amber color that transmits more light. There is quite a noticeable variation in both density and color with rotation. So the head orientation does matter, except that the falloff isn’t as great as it is for linear polarized light. (You can also hold the filters sandwich up to a light source – like a desk lamp.) If you flip the filters around the other way so the retarders are facing outward you have linear polarizers and you can try rotating them to confirm that they work as described earlier. You will note that even for the circular case you perceive the extinction to be at a maximum when the linear axes components’ are at right angles.  (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…)


January 1, 2010

Touching history.


 I staggered off the Air France flight from Los Angeles to Charles de Gaulle Airport and I fell into the arms of Bernard Benoliel and Laurent Mannoni of the Cinémathèque Française and into their waiting taxicab.  Off we went through the streets of Paris – a grand blur – having had only a few hours of sleep in the past day,.  I’d like to be a really good traveler, but there is nothing I can do to hide the terror – or maybe, as Kurtz said, the horror.  Flying in a metal cylinder at 36,000 feet requires surrendering complete control to the pilot and the guys who designed the airplane – which is not necessarily easy to do, especially if you think about all the things that could possibly go wrong.  The bright side is that death would be instantaneous.  And the security measures at the airport are aggravating and not adequate, as has been lately demonstrated. But sitting there in the airplane, even if you’re in Business Class, leaves you feeling one-down because the guys in front of you are in First Class where it’s really comfortable.  (But of course there is the ultra-secret first class-plus that the first class passengers envy.) Business Class is a lot better than sitting in the cattle car.  At least the seats aren’t chipped and everything works, more or less.   (more…)


December 28, 2009


On December 16th I watched Jim Cameron’s Avatar in the Mk2 cinema on the banks of the Seine at Porte de Bercy in the middle of the Bibliothèque Nationale complex.  A couple of hours before, Bernard Benoliel and Laurent Mannoni of the Cinémathèque Française, had picked me up at Charles de Gaulle Airport and we decided to see Avatar which opened in France two days before it’s opening here.  I was invited by the Cinémathèque to give a talk during their 3D film series of screenings. When I sat down to watch Avatar in the Mk2 theater, I must have had three hours of sleep in the previous 24 hours. I was beginning to go into a jet lag fugue, and watching Avatar under these conditions was like watching a dream world in a trance.   (more…)