The movie industry is one of the biggest and most influential businesses in the world today. It does not matter what part of the world you are from; everyone has heard of Hollywood and in all likelihood they have been influenced by some of its movies. Part of what makes the film industry so powerful is its ability to change with the times.
Film has come a long way in the century or so since it was first developed. In fact, it isn’t even really film anymore as most large Hollywood productions are now shot on digital cameras. Advancing technology is at the heart of the film industry’s success. One of the biggest technologies to come out of the movie business was 3D movie glasses.
It is easy to take 3D for granted. After all, what is so special about those silly looking glasses that make it harder to see the screen in an already darkened theater. It is fair to say that 3D has been supplanted by bigger and better technologies in the last few years.
None of it would have happened without 3D first taking a hold however. The first misconception that people have about 3D cinema is that it is a new technology. This is not true as 3D movies have been around since at least the 1950s. IGN provides a good history of early 3D films.
Three dimensional film technology reemerged in the mid 2000s, mostly in films that relied heavily on computer generated imagery. This allowed filmmakers to create images that jumped out of the screen at the audience much more easily, rather than just creating a more detailed background.
More importantly, 3D films allowed studios to make more money than they would on a conventional film. Audiences were perfectly willing to pay a premium for an experience that they felt was more immersive. This was exploited to great effect by James Cameron and his film Avatar. The second highest grossing film of all time (as of writing this) made a large bulk of its money on premium 3D tickets. The highest grossing 3D movies can be found here at Box Office Mojo.
Immersion has since become priority number one in the movie business. Some believe that virtual reality will be the next big thing; this is not too far fetched considering the success of 3D. Right now, IMAX and Dolby Sound are filling the niche that 3D once occupied. Only time will tell what comes next.
The film industry is a business motivated by money and influenced by technology. The development of 3D for entertainment has lead to filmmaking innovation in countless ways. The role of funny looking glasses on a multi-billion dollar industry should not be underestimated.