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Re: [Phys-l] A geek's observations on "Avatar"

If the camera was a Nimslo from the 1980s, I saw one on E-bay for about
$179. The more recent 3-d cameras for lenticular prints have 3 lenses. The
lenticular presentation for 3-d goes back to the 1940s, and some large
prints fetch fancy prices. But for home 3-D nothing matches slides taken in
the Realist format on Kodachrome viewed through a good viewer.
Unfortunately many people wanted 3-d photos so they bought the Realist
system cameras, shot a couple of rolls, and then put it on the shelf. They
found the 3-d viewing to be inconvenient. But the 3-d pictures using the
Holmes-Bates viewer continued to be made from the 1800s up through WWI and
later. A large fraction of civil war photos were originally in 3-d, but are
usually not printed in 3-d.

The valuable collectables are often the cheap items that everyone throws
away. So carefully preserved Caruso recordings are cheap, while old dance
78s can be expensive because they were worn out and discarded so the few
remaining ones can fetch fancy prices.

The better lenticular prints were made with more than 4 lenses and can be
viewed well at wider angles. This technology used to be used to print fancy
3-d magazine covers, but not they are more likely to do it with a hologram.

The 3-d craze comes and goes on an approximately 40 year cycle. It is not
clear that the current 3-d movie system will survive. The last big 3-d
craze peaked in 1955 and burst in 1956. Even though the theaters packed in
more people for the 3-d movies, they dropped the system. Rear Window was
filmed in 3-d but only released in flat. It will only survive if the
studios make really good pictures in 3-d. I thought the effects in Journey
to the Center of the Earth were very good, as was Avatar. But fancy
technology can not substitute for good plots and acting. Avatar consciously
milked every cliché, so you really had the feeling you had seen all of it
before. But you can only make just so many successful parodies before you
run out of ideas, and then have to make non-parodies.

For the well heeled there are now 3-d HD home movie cameras.

John M. Clement
Houston, TX

Leigh Palmer wrote:
Have you seen 3D postcards? They can be viewed through a narrow
acceptance angle like the TV you describe. If you examine them closely
you will find an array (I'm tempted to say "grating") of vertical
cylindrical lenses cemented over the picture. The picture itself is
made up of two pictures, a stereo pair, printed in a manner similar to
the old fashioned TV raster tuned sideways. /snip/

(Not proofread - sorry. I apologize in advance, since it's late.)

Leigh's note reminds me that I tossed out a 3-D camera in its original
box a week or two ago, that my wife brought for me as a curio, some time
It seemed to be in 35 mm format, and had four lenses. It took half the
customary number of shots, and the film was to be turned in to a
specific processing center. I believe that they were using the
lenticular presentation he describes here.