3D Glasses: How Do They Work?

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Many people don’t realize that three-dimensional movies have been around since the dawn of cinema. In fact, the patent for 3D movie making dates all the way back to the 1890s when a British inventor named William Friese-Greene made a camera with two lenses, which shot movies that could be processed and viewed wearing special glasses. This stereoscopic film technology has progressed and evolved over the years – seeing various re-emergences – but it wasn’t until the 2000s when 3D technology saw its apex. Thanks to wider screens, higher definition cameras and advanced glasses, movie watching in 3D became a better experience. Here is how 3D glasses work to provide a dynamic movie watching experience.

3D Glasses

First of all, it is important to understand that there is no real science or magic to 3D movie watching. However, this doesn’t mean that 3D technology isn’t impressive – not in the least. When it comes down to it, 3D glasses simply activate something our eyes do naturally: image processing in three dimensions. Our eyes are like binoculars, but instead of turning the dials to focus in and out, our brain does all the focusing for us. When we look out into the distance, our eyes process foreground images and background images to create a three dimensional representation of our surroundings.

Three-dimensional cinema technology essentially manipulates our field of vision. A 3D movie uses two lenses to shoot two corresponding images – one image has a blue tint and the other image has a red tint. Basically, a 3D film is shot from two completely different angles. If you were to watch a movie without 3D glasses, you would see these two different colored angles and the image will be distinguishable, blurry and jumbled. The next time you walk into a 3D movie a little after the opening credits roll, you may just wonder what is going on.

This is why 3D glasses are important. The glasses literally bring these two corresponding images and angles together by using opposite colored lenses – usually red and cyan. This is also where our binocular vision comes in handy. Our eyes are trained to bring two images together, but because they are separated by a few inches, the images are processed disjointedly. The 3D glasses trick our eyes into processing the two angles of the film into one three dimensional image. Because of this, a foreground is established, a background is established and objects seem to come to life. With large IMAX screens and high-def digital camera technology, you literally feel like you are inside the film.

In the end, 3D technology is only getting more and more advanced. It’s a simple process that mainly uses our own organic image processing system, but companies like American Paper Optics LLC and other 3D glasses makers are seeing a bigger and bigger demand from not only the film industry, but also the television industry. In the next few years, three-dimensional televisions will become more commonplace, so put on your 3D glasses, sit back and let the adventure begin.


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