The stereoscope was invented in 1838 by Sir Charles Wheatstone. It was a device that enabled images to be viewed stereoscopically. It joined two images so a person’s brain would see the images with 3-D depth perception. The Kinetoscope was invented in 1855 and improved the 3-D viewing. The 3-D filming process was initially created in the 1890s by the William Friese-Greene. At the Ambassador Hotel in 1922 movie watchers experienced a revolutionary cinematic event. They were watching a movie called This Power of Love in 3-D using stereoscopes.
This is a movie that was released in 1952. It was produced, written and directed by Arch Oboler. It was filmed using a 3-D system known as Natural Vision. This movie is credited with starting the 3-D film craze of the 1950s. It is also the first 3D sound film as well as the first 3-D movie that was a complete feature-length film in color.
Traditional 3-D Anaglyph Glasses
These glasses have one lens that is a blue color and another lens that is red. There had been some success with other combinations of colors including green and red. Red and blue combinations are the most common. The red lens filters out all the blue light in an image. A blue lens will filter out all the red light in an image. This creates a situation where each of a person’s eyes views a different image. With a 3-D movie, there are two images displayed. One is blue and one is red. The 3-D glass’s lens filters make it so only one image can be seen by each eye. When the brain attempts to combine the images, the illusion of an image being 3-D is created.
There really wasn’t much change when it came to filming 3-D scenes. The changes came when the films were viewed. Each movie projection lens had Polaroid filters placed in front of them. The Polaroid filtered image would bounce off the Polaroid filter onto the screen and go to a viewers glasses. This made it possible for a viewer to see two overlapping projected images that were seen completely separate.
Creating 3-D films required a higher standard than regular filming. It also wasn’t possible to make 3-D viewing available in all theaters. There were also many common problems with theaters who did choose to show 3-D movies. Many of these problems caused movie showings to be canceled because of problems. Many audiences were also angry because often the 3-D movies provided viewers with less than satisfactory viewing experience.
During the 1950s, Norman Mauer and Joe Kubert created 3-D comic books. They used 3-D glasses to provide 3-D comic book images. Kids were told the glasses with red and green lenses that came with the comic books were space goggles and would enable them to see 3-D images.
There have been mixed results trying to provide a modern version of 3-D movies. Many of the previous difficulties with 3-D glasses and projection have been eliminated. Since the 1990s, 3-D viewing had become popular with certain amusement park rides and specific specialty movie venues like IMAX. Curiosity venues are now the place where 3-D movie viewing is most popular.