Tech Time: 3-D Movies

Digital 3-D Technology has arrived in Jamaica. 3-D is not new, the basic technology has been around since the 1930’s, but digital technology makes it practical. Seems like everything is going digital, movies included.

Let’s put digital in context, movies are generally shot on film, converted to digital for post production and then transferred back to celluloid to be distributed in theatres. Now, movies can be shot in a digital camera, digitally edited on a computer and transferred to a hard drive (or via internet) and displayed from a digital projector. This is great for theatres and by extension movies goers because:
· Production costs are lower, making movies cheaper
· Facilitates true, practical worldwide release (cause no film need be shared)
· Better, consistent quality (film deteriorates with each showing, digital does not)
· Greater piracy collection and
· Alternative content, like 3D

Palace Amusement spent upwards of $50 million (Jamaican dollars) to install the “latest, most innovative technology”, according to Douglas Graham, CEO of the nearly 100 year old theatre company.

With digital 3-D, movies can fool your eyes and brain into thinking that they're looking into a 3-D space rather than at a 2-D screen. Images appear to have depth, and in some cases seem to be coming right towards you. The technology requires the mingling of several components including special digital projectors, custom screens and high tech angled glasses.

Most Digital 3-D systems use polarization. Polarized lenses allow only light waves that are aligned in the right direction to pass through. In a pair of digital 3-D glasses, each lens is polarized differently. The screen is specially designed to maintain the correct polarization when light from the projectors bounces off of it. Without the glasses, the screen appears blurry leading to headaches it watched too long.

The Digital 3-D glasses only work in the theatre; they can’t be used as sun glasses or be worn for prolonged period of time. At Palace Amusement, the glasses are issued and returned to be washed and sterilized after each showing.

Palace Amusement is the first theatre chain in the English speaking Caribbean to invest in this technology. Ice Age 3-D is now showing, to be followed by G Force and the re-showing of Up in 3-D. There are over 50 3-D movies slated for release internationally.

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