The History of 3D Where It Began From When It Was Invented in 1838 to James Cameron’s Avatar Today

3D – A Brief History
[On the future of 3D] “With digital 3D projection, we will be entering a new age of cinema. Audiences will be seeing something which was never technically possible before the age of digital cinema – a stunning visual experience which `turbocharges` the viewing of the biggest, must-see movies. The biggest action, visual effects and fantasy movies will soon be shot in 3D. And all-CG animated films can easily be converted to 3D, without additional cost if it is done as they are made. Soon audiences will associate 3D with the highest level of visual content in the market, and seek out that premium experience.” JAMES CAMERON

• Stereoscopy has been used as a technique to create the illusion of a third dimension since it was first invented in 1838.
• Lumi’re brothers are largely considered the pioneers of early filmmaking and their 1903 film entitled “L’arriv’e du train” is the earliest stereoscopic movie. Audiences ran out of the room fearing that the train on screen was coming straight towards them.
• Since then 3D has gone from strength to strength with hundreds of films and programmes being produced in 3D.
1900 to 1946: Experimentation
• Producers, fans and inventors of all industries experimented the inner workings of 3D cinema. A few films are shot with small budgets in order to try to uncover the secrets of stereoscopic production but no real boom is recorded.
• The low interest in 3D was caused by the great depression and WW1 & 2 1950 to 1960: The original golden era
• During the 50’s 3D technology proved very popular with many films being released and turning large profits.
• 3D cinema captures the attention of the major studios. They turn out more than sixty films, including “Bwana Devil” the first American colour feature-length 3D movie, Hitchcock’s “Dial M for Murder” and “Hondo”, starring John Wayne.
• 3D fell under the radar again due to poor viewing conditions in most theatres and the complex and expensive equipment required to exhibit 3D movies such as double synchronized projectors.
• It was during this period too that CinemaScope was becoming the new phase i.e. anamorphic lenses used for shooting widescreen films.
1973 to 1985: The Renaissance
• 3D cinema resurfaces and many companies try to bring it to new audiences. They succeed in creating interest thanks to such films as “Jaws 3-D”, “Comin at Ya!” and “Friday the 13th – Part III”. 1986 to 2000: The revolution
• With the invention of the Imax 3D format, which audiences discover for the first time watching “Transitions” at Expo ’86 in Vancouver and the emergence of new screening technology, 3D cinema finally comes into its own.
2001 to today: The golden era part II
• In an age of special effects and computer-generated films, 3D once again was in the spotlight. It seems in recent years every other film released has been made in 3D. This high surge is evidence that 3D is profitable and enjoyable for viewers.
• The demand for 3D continues to grow and the technology is now entering its second golden age. Camcorders are now becoming readily available for consumers along side 3D television and Sky 3D.
4D
4D is a relatively new film experience incorporating 3D film with physical effects in the theatre, which occur in synchronisation with the film for example a puff of air blown in your face during a storm.
• These physical elements of 4D are very costly and so it is not practical for your cinema to show 4D films. 4D is usually found in specialist theatres or theme parks.
• Korea gave James Cameron’s Avatar the 4D treatment.