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The Business of… 3D

Yes – it’s cool again. Three dimensions are spelling out big bucks for movie makers, TV manufacturers, gaming firms, and publishers, as people fall in love with 3D again.

August 29, 2010 4:41 by


The first thing you need to know is that it’s really known as Stereoscopy – that refers to any technique that creates the illusion of depth in an image. The Frenchman Joseph d’Almeida is credited with creating the world’s first stereoscopic still pictures, according to JVC. He projected anaglyph slides using red and green filters in 1858.

Things picked up in the 1890s, when British Film Pioneer William Friese-Greene filed a patent for a 3-D movie process (two projectors and a stereoscope to converge the images). The idea was there (see next slide) but it would be a while before a more practical way to achieve the affect was invented.

“It was not until 1922 that the first-ever stereoscopic (anaglyph) film – The Power of Love – was shown at the Ambassador Hotel Theater in Los Angeles,” says JVC on its website. Even after that, it would take until the 1950s for 3D to really take off as a film fad, as studios attempted to win back cinema audiences (who now had TVs in their homes).

But 3D eventually faded away, seemingly as the novelty wore off. Technological advancements in the 1970s and 1980s produced another wave of movies, and the same thing seemed to happen to a new generation – there was interest for a while, but it faded out. The last decade has seen a new generation and a new interest, but time will tell how long it lasts.


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