Carol R. Emmens

3D was patented as early as the 1890’s but the early movies were not very good and the need to wear 3D glasses limited their success. For decades, movies shown in 3D have been in and out of vogue. They reached their golden age in the 50’s with movies like “It Came from Outer Space.”

Then they faded in popularity until the 1980’s when they were in favor again but only for a short while. In 2009 they aroused new interest when the 3D blockbuster movie science fiction movie “Avatar” premiered to critical acclaim and enormous box office success.

The 3D in movie theaters is one type; there are additional types of 3D for the home, corporate and educational markets and a variety of 3D projectors, televisions, cameras, and 3D-Ready equipment.

For film fans, it is possible to watch 3D movies at home but the true benefits of 3D are in education and business. 3D is finding its way into K-12 classrooms as well as in college and university lecture halls; for example, 3D is used in history, geography and archeology classes to views the ruins of ancient Greece in depth. In science classes throughout the US students are in awe as they don their 3D glasses to study lessons on topics such as the galaxy.

Generally, K-12 students learn faster, achieve higher test scores and accept 3D technology faster than adults. When teachers see the results of using 3D they become less apprehensive about it. Anecdotally teachers have reported that students with ADHD are more attentive and learn faster when 3D materials were used instead of traditional video.
In the fields of science and medicine 3D is extremely useful. Medical students use 3D to view human dissection and it helps them understand the body more easily than from a 2D image so donning the glasses is not a problem. Companies such as Cyber-Anatomy are developing and distributing curriculum materials and more and more companies are planning to do the same.
Many teachers and professors create their own videos. Using a dual-lens camera, it is possible to shoot in 3D as the lenses record two videos at the same time. Video-editing software programs that can handle 3D are available but note that they are not universal.
In business there are hundreds if not thousands of uses for 3D; for example, architects, designers and engineers use 3D CAD to design their projects and it eliminates the necessity of making physical models.

3D is associated with entertainment but it is much, much more and the use of 3D grows daily as the cost of equipment comes down and the amount of content on the market goes up.

There are 3D caveats. If you plan to buy or rent 3D equipment, keep in mind that an inexpensive DLP 3D-ready is NOT the same as 3D. They are not compatible with the 3D specification used on 3D Blu-ray players, broadcast 3D or set-top boxes. The resolution is a maximum of 1280×720 so it is necessary to use a computer equipped with a Quad Buffered PC Graphics card such as NVIDIA’s 3D Vision system.

To watch 3D, glasses are necessary but 3D glasses are not universal. Because there are different types of 3D, there are different types of glasses. It worth noting that using the glasses generally keeps the viewer focused on the movie or materials, but on the negative side a small percentage of people get a headache watching 3D if it flickers.

There are two types of glasses: passive or active. Passive glasses are similar to sunglasses and considerably less expensive than active glasses, which range in cost from $75-$150.

The cost of the glasses affects the type of 3D equipment that is purchased in venues such as pubs, clubs and malls. They have large public audiences so it is vital to them to have cost effective solutions. Passive 3D glasses do not require batteries so they are inexpensive but there is a catch – a “silver” projection screen is needed.

If you want to see zombies coming at you, if you want to travel through space and explore the world in depth, if you want to enhance your classes or your business applications, 3D is for you. But there are many factors to consider. For assistance in selecting your 3D system and its accessories, call Zeo Systems to discuss the options and the costs.