RealD 3D eyewear
Photo: Flickr, AleGranholm

What used to be a novelty in the entertainment business is now expected by consumers worldwide. Movies have gone three-dimensional — or RealD as it is now being called — and while a 2-D version of the film is still available for viewing, theaters are offering the 3-D version simultaneously.

The term RealD comes from the leading global licensor of stereoscopic (three-dimensional) technologies. It is with the RealD Cinema System that many consumers now view 3-D motion pictures and alternative 3-D content.

Three-dimensional film has come a long way. It started in the 19th century with a British film pioneer William Friese-Greene, but it wasn’t until 1922 that the first confirmed 3-D film had a paying audience. There was little to no interest in this new development in entertainment, however, until later years.

These days, many who lived through the ’80s and ’90s remember the cardboard and plastic glasses with red and green lenses. They came in magazines with 3-D images, and we put them on to watch the three-dimensional tricks that television shows threw into their programming.

The glasses — along with the filming technology — have  evolved significantly from then. The design of the glasses has been made more fashionable, for one, and the red and green lenses are no longer necessary. It’s almost like wearing regular glasses, and movie theaters make a point to recycle the RealD eyewear.

avatar movie
Photo: Flickr, securecat

Eco-Friendly and more realistic entertainment is what consumers have to look forward to in theater and in the homes now. As technology advances we may have even more to look forward to soon. It is an incredible and unique opportunity that the latest stereoscopic technology has provided us. Sights that were nothing more than 2-D images on a screen are now so realistic that films like Avatar have warnings for viewers who may be afraid of heights.

RealD could help us experience things that are otherwise unavailable to consumers due to physical handicaps or inaccessible locations. The realistic quality of 3-D makes it easier to imagine that what you see is actually there. It has already helped advance fields of science, and, with further distribution, to communities it could help education.