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Tag: Hollywood

96 Years of The 3D Gimmick

Posted by tomwiles at 1:03 AM on January 14, 2011

The 3D gimmick has been periodically making the rounds for many years. How many people are aware that the first presentation of 3D films before a paying audience took place 96 years ago? According to an article at www.3dgear.com, it took place at the Astor Theater, New York, on June 10, 1915. The program consisted of three one-reelers, the first of rural scenes in the USA, the second a selection of scenes from Famous Players’ Jim, the Penman (US ’15), with John Mason and Marie Doro, and the third a travelogue of Niagara Falls. They used 3D glasses with red and green lenses.

The first big Hollywood film debuted 57 years ago on April 8, 1953, called “Man In The Dark.” Ever heard of it? I haven’t.

Periodically over the years, Hollywood would bring the 3D gimmick back to life in hopes that it might catch on. 3D has made the most lasting splash with highly specialized short films in special venues such as Disney World.

Of course, the biggest 3D splash was made in 2009 by “Avatar.” I saw the 3D version of Avatar on the big screen. It was an okay movie – lots of spectacular special effects but very light on plot. After 3 hours of Avatar, I left the theater with 3D fatigue. When all was said and done, Avatar was a very lengthy special event film.

In the real world, we have natural depth perception. We are used to moving our heads back and forth and up and down and see around objects in very subtle ways.

The 3D movie experience is exaggerated and is not anything like normal depth perception. Producers of 3D movies always seem to feel obliged to make things appear to come out of the screen at the viewer.

I’ve seen a number of 3D HDTV demonstrations at my local Best Buy store from a variety of different TV manufacturers. None of them have impressed me.

3D television will never catch on in a big way until it can approximate normal depth perception and can be easily experienced without the obligatory 3D glasses.