Jun 18
3D TELEVISION by Alex J. Socorro  |  Posted in Articles  |  on Fri, Jun 18, 2010

Most of us have seen movies in 3D (the 3-dimensional presentation) but 3D TV is definitely a new thing.

Do not confuse this with Digital TV, that’s another thing. (Click to read related article: http://filmacademyphil.org/?p=1330)

3D or the 3-dimensional presentation is getting to be the IN thing in this decade. Networks all over the world have started to telecast 3D movies or even TV serials. This is probably the side effect of the great success of 3D movies.

In the earlier part of 2010, Avatar has earned the record of being the highest grossing, so far, in the 3D genre. Even with the more than $500 million budget, Avatar still profited with its gross of over $2 billion and counting (with the DVD releases).

With Avatar, it’s not really the story that mattered the most. First is the animation, a painstaking part in the production that requires a lot of time and effort. Second is the 3D projection of the movie in theaters.

James Cameron, who also directed the high-grossing Titanic, had his focus on the animation of Avatar. There was a mixture of real people or real scenes with animated scenes and characters. Add to this the desired 3D effect and you get a blockbuster movie.

But what exactly is 3D?

It is a special presentation unlike the normal or usual presentation where you use just one camera. After capturing the particular scenes required, the film (or video) is processed to come up with the finished product. That processing is a simple conversion of the captured shots into a presentation format.

In a 3D presentation, you get to mix 2 angles of the same scene, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. The capturing uses 2 cameras in
a simultaneous manner. The captured images are then processed separately and then mixed again.

art-3d-television-pic-1.jpg
Without the benefit of the 3D glasses, the image appears blurred

With an image or a photograph as an example, the super imposition of the left eye image on the right eye image gives a blurred picture. In a video, of course, this method would create a blurred moving picture. That’s the first ingredient.

The next ingredient is the use of a set of 3D viewing glasses. This is required to create a complete 3D presentation. Recently, it’s called an LCD Shutter Glasses, a complement of the 3D LCD (liquid crystal display) television.

A 3D TV is capable of projecting 2 images at the same time in conjunction with the LCD Shutter Glasses. That means, for you get the maximum benefit of a 3D TV, you should be using the same brand of LCD Shutter Glasses as that of the TV set. Some leading brands are Panasonic, Samsung, and Sony.

The most widely used method of capturing a video for 3D presentation purposes is the so-called Stereoscopy. Stereo as in music, stereoscopy in video. This is done by mounting 2 cameras side by side with a distance equivalent to the gap between the 2 eyes (actually the left and right pupils of a person).

art-3d-television-pic-2.jpg
The 3D camera being adjusted by Oli Laperal of RSVP Film Studios. Notice the 2 lenses
With stereoscopy, there are 2 videos captured in different angles. Next in the procedure is a simple mixing of the captured videos. But that’s not really so simple because the 2D Depth has to be set. This depth is what matters in a 3D presentation.

Watching a 3D presentation is like watching a live presentation. Especially if the “depth” was perfectly executed, some scenes would appear life-like. Can you imagine bats or a crashing plane flying towards you? And what if you have a phobia of crawling insects?

If you have seen the old 3D movies, you may have noticed the disparity of some scenes. Some in the audience have even remarked, “Nakakahilo.” The synchronization was at fault. The showing of the 2 images (left and right eyes) should be in perfect unison so as to create the desired depth.

Very similar to the movies, a 3D TV produces a stereoscopic image—actually a moving picture—that is reconstructed to project a 3D effect. It may be line-by-line or interlaced. There’s also the Frame Sequential technology. But whatever method is used, the same effect is achieved.

To get a full simulation of a movie presentation, 3D TV operates in 1920 x 1080 resolution and running at 60 frames per second. That’s full High Definition quality.

In the Philippines, 3D telecast is still unheard of but 3D telecast is a sure thing before this decade ends. As for now, 3D TV can be used to watch 3D movies in DVD.

As in any sector of technology, 3D TV is subject to the differences of standards. A perfect analogy is the computer where IBM appears to be the standard but the Mac is slowly catching up. So your particular standard would depend on the brand.

But whatever is the brand of the TV, the good thing is that 3D is now available for the TV viewers.

Comments to this article can be sent to ajsocorro@yahoo.com