This past weekend I went to see Avatar 3D in an IMAX theater. Now I had not seen anything 3D since probably Disney World in 5th grade – add in the huge screen at the IMAX and I was prepared (albeit a little nervous) to be completely blown away by this experience. While I won’t comment on the movie itself, the experience indeed was a good one – after my brain got used to what was going on, I was able to watch quite comfortably.
Since I had not been to anything 3D since 5th grade, I was still under the impression that you wore those red and blue lensed paper glasses. Much to my surprise, I was handed yellow rimmed plastic glasses that looked like cheap sunglasses. Being a curious person, I decided to look up how these ‘sunglasses’ worked to bring me this 3D experience.
Without going into too much detail (hopefully the image explains fairly well) I gathered that the reason we ourselves see in 3D is that we interpret through two eyes, each seeing a different image – our brain then puts these two images together to ‘see’ a 3D object. Applying the same principle to the screen – we need to view two different images in order to see 3D. The blue filters everything so we only see the red image and vice versa.
The glasses I was given however, did not have blue and red lenses – they looked fairly normal. It seems that they instead have different polarizations for the lenses. They actually shoot the movie with a camera that takes shots from two different lenses (much like our eyes) and then they play one with horizontal polarization and the other view with vertical – we then see the different perspectives seperated and our brain can interpret the 3D!