How to Watch 3D Movies

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The days of red and blue paper glasses have gone the way of the dinosaur. Even Home cinema & gaming are getting polarized 3D technology. More movies than ever are being released in 3D and 3D theaters are popping everywhere. But did you know not all 3D movies look as good as they could or should? Learn how to find and watch the best that 3D has to offer. Read the full article to learn more.

Things You'll Need

  • 3D Movie theater in your town
  • Internet access (optional)
  • Before laying down the big bucks for a ticket, do a little research on the internet. Many films are actually shot in 3-D while others are just converted from 2D to 3D using computer trickery. This is important because the results of 3D conversion are a little like colorizing a movie. While the result of conversion greatly depends on the 3D author, the best hope is never as good as true 3D. A converted film will have anywhere from three to eight layers of depth created by an author who selects objects to exist in a specific plane. True 3D films have an infinite number of planes. In a true 3D film, objects can freely move in and out of an infinite number of planes and will look true to life.

  • Understand how true 3D films are made vs. conversion. Real 3D films are made using 2 cameras filming the events in a stereoscopic setup. That's one camera for each eye. The 2 images are projected onto the screen and the glasses filter out the opposite image allowing each eye to see its own correct angle.
    The point is, the events are actually being captured in 3D with infinite depth of field or number of planes.

    Conversion is artificial by comparison. In the conversion process, a film is created in standard 2D. The planes are separated and objects assigned to a plane using a computer. The end result is actually several 2D images layered upon each other with a defined distance between each layer.
    The angle of the layer can be tipped or shifted slightly to show its depth. The process can be effective but it creates dead space previously covered within the 2D image image. The author must paste in cloned parts of the image to fill the voids. If not done perfectly, the results will feel unnatural even to the novice viewer.

  • Pick an IMAX theater whenever possible. It costs slightly more but the experience in far better. Films like Avatar in IMAX 3D show how good 3D can look.

  • Drop a small cloth into your pocket or purse to clean the lenses if they get smudged. There is nothing more distracting than having a big fingerprint in front of one eye.

  • If you have contacts, wear them to the show. The 3D glasses will feel better and work better when your corrective lenses are not in the way.
    For those who don't use contacts, try shifting the 3D glasses closer or away from your eyes by a small amount. Doing so can improve the 3D effect.

  • Arrive early. Late comers will be left with the worst seats. 3D movies are very popular and are often more crowded.

  • Go to the bathroom and get everything you need before the show starts. Getting up in the middle of the show reduces your experience and everyone around you.

  • Learn where to sit. This is the most important part. Sitting too far back ruins the effect as the sea of audience-heads damages the 3D experience. Sitting too close is uncomfortable. Depending on your theater's design, pick a row that is in the front half of the seating. As a starting point, look for the handicap access seats. Only sit in the handicap row if you qualify. Typical patrons should never sit in the handicap row. These seats are for wheel chair and handicap patrons only. Instead, sit behind or in front of the handicap row. The prime spot is the row right in front of the handicap accessible row.

  • Recycle your 3D glasses. 3D glasses are a new disposable. You can help the planet by dropping your 3D glasses in the special 3D glasses recycle bin instead of the trash can.

Tips & Warnings

  • Make notes about who produces films using true 3D and who uses 3D conversion.
  • James Cameron prefers to use only true 3D while Tim Burton opts for conversion.
  • Fully animated films released 2005 and later are often created 3D.
  • Lower expectations when buying tickets to old films converted to 3D such as "Nightmare before Christmas".

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  • Photo Credit images created by The Green Monkey King
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