The History of 3D Technology

3D technology can be tracked all the way back to the beginning of photography. In 1844 David Brewster invented the Stereoscope. It was a new invention that could take photographic images in 3D. Later, Louis Jules Duboscq took that innovation and improved on it. Louis took a photo of Queen Victoria using the improved technology and exhibited it at the Great Exhibition in 1851. This picture became very famous across the world. Steroscopic cameras began to catch on and became rather normal for individual use by World War II.

In 1855 the Kinematascope, a stereo animation camera, was devised. It was able to make 3d motion pictures. In 1915 the first anaglyph film was produced. Anaglyph technology utilized 3d glasses with two different color lenses which would guide an image to each eye. In 1890 William Friese-Greene, a British film leader, filed a patent for the 3D film procedure. In 1922 the first public 3D film, “The Power of Love”, was exhibited. In 1935 the first 3D Color film was created. Using the technology would stay dormant for more than a decade.

In the 1950s, 3D technology made a return. During this age, TVs had become extremely popular and had began appearing in many families. In the 50s a range of 3D films were being produced. In 1952 “Bwana Devil” by United Artists was shown across the USA. This was the first 3D film of the 50s. The film was shot with a process called Natural Vision. This procedure was pitched to Hollywood studios but they passed. A year later, in 1953, “House of Wax” was released in 3D. “Dial M for Murder” was initially intended to be released in 3D, but Alfred Hitchcock chose to release the film in 2D to optimize profits. Not all movie theaters were equipped with the 3D technology. 3D movies were also being developed outside america. In 1947 The Soviet Union released their first full length 3D film, “Robinson Crusoe”.

In the 1960s a new technology named Space-Vision 3D was released. This technology took two pictures and printed them above each other on one strip. Unlike previous 3D technologies, it took one projector with a unique lens. This new technology eliminated the requirement to use two cameras to show 3D movies. Two camera systems were hard to work with, because it required that the two cameras were perfectly synced. The first movie to utilize this technology has been “The Bubble”. The film was panned by critics, but the 3D experience still attracted huge audiences. It became a profitable film, making the new technology ready for advertising to other studios.

In 1970, Allan Silliphant and Chris Condon developed Stereovision. This was a brand new 3D technology which put two pictures squeezed together side by side on one strip of 35 millimeter film. This technology utilized a special anamorphic lens which would widen the picture by means of a set of polaroid filters. The first film to be released in Stereovision was a softcore sex comedy called “The Stewardesses”. The film cost just $100,000 USD to create and it earned an amazing $27 million in North America.

In the early 1980s many films were released in 3D with the identical procedure as Space Vision. A few of the movies which were published were Amityville 3-D, Friday the 13th Part III, and Jaws 3-D. In the mid 1980s, IMAX started producing documentary films in 3D. IMAx’s 3D technology highlighted mathmatical correctness and this eliminated the eye shadow which was seen in previous 3D technologies. In 1986, Canada had developed the first 3D film that used polarized glasses. It was known as “Echos of the Sun” and was created for Expo 86.

Through the 1990s, many movies were released in IMAX 3D. The most successful IMAX 3D movie released in this time was “Into the Deep”. The first IMAX 3D fiction film, “Wings of Courage” was released in 1996.

During the 2000s, many major studio films were released in 3D. In 2003, James Cameron released Ghosts of the Abyss. This was the first full length 3D IMAX feature film. This film used the newest IMAX 3D technology called Reality Camera System. The technology used the newest HD video cameras and was designed by Vince Pace. This same technology has been used in “Spy Kids 3D: Game over”, “Aliens of the Deep”, and “The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3-D”. In 2004 the first full length animated 3D film was released. It was known as “The Polar Express”. This film was so successful in 3D that it prompted an excellent interest in 3D animated movies. The 3D version of the film earned 14x as much per display as the 2D version. In 2005, The Mann’s Chinese 6 theater in Hollywood became the first commercial movie theater to have the Digital 3D technology. In 2007 Scar 3D was released internationally and it was the first movie to be filmed using an entirely digital workflow.