The Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts Center is sponsoring a free 3D program on Tuesday, Feb. 21, at 6:30 p.m. at the Arts Center Building, 303 Main Street South a block off the Fayetteville square.
Donations are welcome and benefit renovations of the Arts Center building. Local Arts League member and 3D photographer, Andrea Shetley, and fellow stereographer, Lee Pratt from Madison, Ala., will present an evening of 3D photography and videos.
This show consists of the top entrants and winners of an international 3D photography competition, complete with music and narration, several slide shows by presenters, including Shetley’s recent trip to Australia, and videos from around the world.
This 3-D experience will feature some of the newest 3D technologies and is in digital format. There also will be a display, demonstration, and discussion of the equipment and technologies of 3D, and how easy and fun it is for everyone to do these days.
What is 3D?
3D images are remarkable captures of reality, making you feel like you are right there in the scene.
The term we most often hear now is 3D, but the technology is “stereo.” The word “stereo” originates from the Greek and means “relating to space.” Originally, the term was associated with stereoscopic pictures (either drawings or photographs). We live in a three-dimensional, spatial environment. We see and hear the world from two different angles, and our brains process the information into a single picture or sound that has depth and dimension. Stereo audio recordings use two microphones, and stereo photography uses two image sources. In order to avoid confusion with stereophonic sound, the term 3-D (three-dimensional) is usually used.
3D photography recreates the illusion of depth. Human eyes are set about two-and-a-half inches apart, so each eye sees a subject slightly different. Hold up a finger at arm’s length and look at it with both eyes. Then look at it with one eye (the other eye covered or closed), then the other. Notice how the background shifts? The distance between our eyes causes this, enabling us to see depth. By taking two separate photographs the same distance apart as our eyes and using a suitable viewer, it is possible to recreate that illusion of depth.
The normal picture on paper or film is only one-eyed and, therefore, cannot convey a true spatial perception — it is only a “flat” picture. A 3D pair consists of two pictures, one for the left eye and one for the right eye. You can record these two pictures using a 3D camera or using a single lens (2-D) camera with a shift between the exposures. Even though the two pictures in a 3D pair look very similar, they are not identical.
Some speculate that depth perception was studied as early as 280 A.D by Euclid. It also is said that Leonardo da Vinci studied and produced art that showed a clear perception of depth. The true discoverer of stereoscopy is the well-known English physicist Charles Wheatstone, who invented the Wheatstone bridge as well as developing the first stereoscopic viewer, which worked with mirrors.
It comes as a surprise to many to learn that the idea of stereoscopy actually preceded photography. Binocular drawings were made in the 1500s. The first 2-D photographs were made in the 1830s and the first 3-D stereographs were made about a decade later. Through the years, stereo has seen highs and lows in popularity among the public. Queen Victoria visited the World’s Fair in London in 1851 and was so entranced by the stereoscopes on display that she precipitated an enthusiasm for 3-D photography that soon made it a popular form of entertainment world-wide. From 1860 to 1920 practically every middle-class and upper class home had a stereoviewer and a drawer full of stereocards. It was the television of its day and the way we saw the world. At one time, Keystone was making 25,000 cards per day. Millions of stereo views and hundreds of thousands of stereoscopes were sold during this period of time.
The discovery of anaglyphic 3-D appeared in the 1850′s. The first 3-D anaglyphic motion picture was created in 1889 which first went on show to the public in 1893. These anaglyphic films designated as plasticons or plastigrams enjoyed great success during the 1920′s. The films used a single film with the green image emulsion on one side of the film and the red image emulsion on the other. In 1922, an interactive plasticon opened at the Rivoli Theater in New York titled “Movies of the Future.” The film provided the viewer with an optional ending. The happy ending was viewed using the green filter while the tragic ending could be seen using the red filter. You may be more familiar with the red/cyan anaglyph glasses used in the 1950’s to view 3D movies in the theater and comic books.
In 1932, Edwin H Land patented a process for producing polarized filters that eventually led to the development of full color 3-D movies and home projection of slides onto a silver projection screen. This led to the construction of true stereo projectors with two lenses. Land also perfected a 3-D photographic process called vectography. During the second world war vectographic prints were used widely for military applications such as aerial photography.
View-Master is the most popular stereo entertainment systems of all times and the first that brought color into stereo (other than hand-tinted images). It is estimated that over one billion reels and a hundred million viewers have been sold since the system was invented in 1938.
The “Golden Age” of do-it-yourself stereo was the period between about 1950 and early 1960′s. Two main factors were Kodak’s Kodachrome 35mm film and the David White Company of Milwaukee manufacturing their Realist stereo camera. From 1947 until the mid 60s David White manufactured about 130,000 Realist cameras — about half of all the stereo cameras made during that period. Other popular brands included Revere, TDC Colorist, TDC Vivid, and Kodak Stereo. These cameras are still used by many stereo enthusiasts today.
The Future of 3D
3D is back on the forefront of technology and is fast gaining popularity again. Movies are changing right before our eyes as more and more are filmed/created in 3D. In 2009 more than a dozen major motion pictures were released in 3D and in 2010 dozens of films were in 3D. We currently can watch 3D movies at home on affordable 3D televisions. Digital photography also is changing 3D. It is now easy and relatively inexpensive to connect two compact digital cameras together for digital 3-D. Fujifilm’s FinePix REAL 3D W3 compact digital stereo camera is an ideal moderately-priced solution for easily capturing 3D still images and HD 3D video (which can be played directly on the 3D TVs). There also is free software (StereoPhoto Maker —www.stereo.jpn.org/eng/stphmkr) available on the Internet that will align and adjust your 3D images, and allow a multitude of output options.
Local 3D photographer Andrea Shetley moved to Fayetteville from Virginia seven and a half years ago. She is the owner of a computer, photography, and creative arts services company and has been involved in photography for almost 40 years, and 3D photography for the last 15 years. Andrea is a member of the Fayetteville-Lincoln County Arts League and its special interest group, the Fayetteville Photography Club.
She also is a member and past president of the Huntsville Photographic Society, and is a member of several 3D organizations worldwide. She has received several honors and recognitions from the Photographic Society of America for her contributions to supporting, promoting, and teaching photography. Her interests are mostly nature-oriented, with special interests in macro, flowers, and insects (especially praying mantises). Other subjects she enjoys are architecture, abstracts, and black light.
Lee Pratt is a native Texan, but has lived in the Huntsville, Alabama, area for over 40 years. He is a retired physicist and electronics engineer.
His interest in 3D photography started in the 1950′s with his grandfather’s hand stereoscope and his brother’s View-Master viewer and reels. In the 1970′s he started taking his own stereo (3D) photography, collecting 3D equipment, and entering 3D photographic exhibitions. This work continues today. Lee is a member of several 3D photography organizations around the world and the Huntsville Photographic Society. His favorite photographic views are scenics of natural areas unspoiled by humans. But he also does some table top, computer, and other experimental 3D work.