Glossary of 3D terms

With a week of pure 3D going on here at Pocket-lint, we're going to cover a lot of ground. There's going to be plenty to get to grips with and so, rather than having to grip onto our skulls to stop the torrents of information leaking out, we've compiled a quick guide of all the important bits and pieces and a few words and names you'll here over and over again. For you reference:

A

Alternate Frame 3D
method of 3D film stereoscopy involving flashing the right eye image while the left eye is covered and vice versa; requires the use of synchronised shutter glasses; contrast with polarised light method

Anaglyph
primitive and cheap red/cyan method of 3D transmission associated with the coloured glasses

Anamorphic lens
a lens used to change the shape and perspective of the frames as printed on film; used to create super wide projection

Autostereograms
3D images that can be viewed without the use of glasses or any other kind of headgear attached to the viewer; eg Philips 3DTV and Magic Eye



C

CinemaScope
the first anamorphic film format at the cinema; allowed for super-wide screen projection of films; rival to 3D in the Golden Era

Cinerama
triple film strip, triple screen, super wide cinema gimmick used to bring the audiences back to the movie theatres; rival to 3D in the 50s



D

digital cinema
movie theatres that have switched from using traditional 35mm film projectors to DLP units

DLP
digital Light Processing; a Texas Instruments owned technology used to power non-film projectors both at home and in digital cinemas

Dolby 3D
lesser used colour 3D cinema system featuring the same principles as anaglyphs but with left and right eye images separated with different wavelengths of the same coloured light



F

Front projection
the standard method by which pictures are passed by a bulb and the light throws images focused through a series of lenses and onto a screen in front of the audience



G

Golden Era
the first mass popularisation of 3D films at the cinema; took place from 1952-1953



I

IMAX
Super-large film format traditionally printed on 70mm stock and projected onto screens in the region of 22 x 16m in size; created by IMAX Corporation of Canada and now also in digital format

Infitec glasses
super-anaglyph glasses used in the Dolby 3D cinema system; they filter discrete wavelengths of all colours

Interlacing
technique used in alternate frame 3DTV where only every other line of the screen is used to display each eye's image at any one time; saves on processing power but halves resolution



L

LCD shutter glasses
liquid crystal glasses this turn opaque when a charge is sent through the; used in alternate frame 3D transmission in both XpanD cinemas and in the home

Lenticular lenses
curved optics which allow allow both eyes to see a different image of the same object at exactly the same time; used on holographic stickers



O

Over and under
the nick name of the method of frame placement used in the polarised light-based Space-Vision 3D of the 60s



P

Parallax barrier
device used on the surface of non-glasses based 3D TV system with slits that only allow the viewer to see certain vertical columns of pixels at any one time

Polarised light
light filtered such that it only contains waves oscillating in a specific orientation; used in the majority of 3D cinemas

Pulfirch effect
the apparent swinging of a pendulum in elliptical rotation viewed with one eye closed, when the pendulum is actually moving in just one plane; the principles were used to create 3D illusions in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun



R

RealD Cinema
3D cinema system adopted by 80% of the 3D movie theatres; uses light polarised in different directions to create the two separate left and right eye images

RealityFusion Camera System
digital, high-definition, stereoscopic camera developed by James Cameron and Vince Pace to shoot Ghosts of the Abyss

Rear projection
DLP units for the home with a TV shaped box containing a projector which throws the image a short distance onto the back of the screen; contrast with front projection



S

S3D Gaming
true stereoscopic immersive 3D gaming rathern; contrast with 3D graphics which allow you to examine the depth of an object on screen but in only one 2D plane at any one time

Side by side
stereographic material where the similar left and right images are presented next to one another; defocusing or crossing eyes is used to create their 3D effect in stills and an anamorphic lens when through a cinema projector

Silver screen
a quite literally silver painted screen used to reflect light without degrading any polarisation; key in 3D IMAX and other RealD cinema types

Space-Vision
the first single strip solution to 3D film projection as invented by Arch Oboler in the 60s; uses an over and under technique of each eyes frame placement a a special lens on the projector which polarises each one in the opposite direction to the next

Stereoscopy
any technique used to create the illusion of depth from flat images or video; eg: anaglyph, Magic Eye, polarising glasses, etc

Stereoscope
any device used to view side by side stills images for a 3D effect; popular from the 1850s onwards

Stereovision
format of 3D film produced in 1970s which ran both left and right eye images side by side on the same strip and used an anamorphic lens to widen the squashed frames before being independently polarised and projected onto the same screen



T

Teleview
the earliest form of alternate frame sequenced 3D stereoscopy invented in 1922; required shutter glasses fixed to cinema seats and was only ever installed in one cinema



X

XpanD
lesser used 3D cinema system involving LCD shutter glasses and rapid alternate frame projection to form the stereoscopic effect