I saw my first digital 3D film in a movie theater the other day. The whole 3D experience impressed the hell out of me. I took the kids to see G-Force, a kid flick featuring mission impossible commando hamsters (they'd kick Tom Cruise's Scientology ass!). NOW I can understand all the hype and buzz. Some high up at Disney stated flat out a few years ago that from now on, all of their computer animated features were going to be in 3D. I can see why. James Cameron has finally surfaced from the bottom of the Atlantic (where he's been since 1997's The Titanic) and will unveil his Avatar 3D movie project soon (Ooooohh).
I have to add at this point that I went to see this film about Guini pigs a day after making fun of my Friend Mike for being dragged by his wife to see it the day before. He is, and I quote, "Doomed by marriage to see each and every movie featuring a cute animal, till the end of time."
If you're like me, you remember the early days of anaglyph 3D films with the red/cyan insta-headache glasses from hell. When I was in the 6th grade Global TV did a big 3D comeback advertising blitz with old 3D movies from the 50's and 60's. The local newspaper's TV guide suddenly came with 2 pairs of 3D glasses each week and every Friday they'd run one of these horrible movies. I was at a sleep-over at my Friend Sufiyan's house the first time I saw a 3D film. He was from Pakistan, so picture his extended family and I, cloistered around a TV in the living room in the dark, all wearing these 3D glasses, with the extended commentary taking place in Punjabi (grin). Very surreal!
needless to say, it wasn't very good. I didn't see what all the fuss was about.
Now this new stuff! The cinema needs to have a Real 3D projector. It shoots out the film at 144 frames per second, 6 times the normal speed of 24 frames per second. It does 72 left eye and 72 right eye images with some other keyframe images every 1/24th of a second and a 2nd projector called a Z-screen sends out a feed that matches the polarity of the cool 3D glasses you're wearing in the theatre. This Z screen makes it so that your right eye is seeing a frame made for the right eye while your left eye is seeing almost nothing, then it repeats the process for the left eye, with the right eye getting no action. Your brain does the rest, using traditional persistence of vision to fit together the alternating left-right perspectives into something that makes stuff jump right out of the screen at you. Another nice thing is that you can actually move your head around to look at other parts of the screen and you don't lose the effect.
Very cool. Pay the extra $3. It's worth it. I wish I could have seen "The 300" in 3D.