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 Post subject: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 09:03 
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I wanted to type out some more on this disc in the "what laserdisc you bought last" thread but I figured I have enough to say about this one to give it it's own thread.

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I expected this to be the kind of static "virtual aquarium" you can buy to this day on varying formats, but it's actually just diving footage shot with a special camera and you see a diver exploring some reefs and messing with the fish. The disc is single sided CAV and clocks at about 20 minutes worth of content but in reality it's really less than ten minutes because the same footage is duplicated across two different sections called "Zone I" and "Zone II", and the necessary glasses are provided for both. The Zone I glasses' arms simply fold while the Zone II ones require assembly.

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Zone II is essentially just your bog standard red and blue anaglyphic 3D and while it works at some points, a lot of the time it doesn't because anything too close to the camera is too far apart in either field, making it impossible for your eyes to focus on them the right way, thus ruining the effect. I actually tried standing away from the TV but at the point where I could almost focus on it properly, I had my back against a wall and might as well had been looking at a postcard at an arm's length. It's also technically in monochrome and the composite video renders the fields extremely blurry, neither of which help. Luckily the disc is encoded in CAV so you can probably get some decent 3D stills to freeze frame on.

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Zone I in the other hand uses something called the Pulfrich effect (you can read more about it here; I only learned what it was because the provided insert had the name in the description) and the glasses only have a darkened lens over the right eye, and somehow this produces the impression of 3D. While due to the nature of the Pulfrich effect, detailed in the wikipedia article, the 3D effect is relatively subtle and only works with objects that are in motion which makes everything else in the scene look flat, the fact that this half of the video is presented in full colour makes it look a bit more convincing and a lot clearer.

Overall, I wouldn't really recommend this title. While the amount of footage provided is kind of pathetic, it does strain your eyes quite a bit even after the ten minutes of a single chapter, so maybe they chose to keep it limited for that reason. Knowing what I now know about this disc, I certainly wouldn't go out of my way to buy it unless I could get it really cheap in a lot or something. It's really only interesting as a novelty and underwhelming for it's price.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 14:11 
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Very cool.
I sort of remember that zone I glasses back in the day when they would play films on TV, they tried some other version but
I don't think it worked as well? Can't remember but do remember owning a pair of glasses as a kid with black and clear.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 15:12 
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Yeah, that affect can work really well. Coke gave them away one summer...probably 89/90 as part of some sort of NFL thing. It works well with sports.

The red/blue system works best with non-colored comic art but after the development of computer tools that help separate the lines. Before that there were some inconsistencies and such usually.

I quite enjoy early 30 technology but only in bursts usually.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 18 Aug 2019, 16:06 
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I'd hardly call this "early" since it's from 1994 and 3D movies have been made at least since the 1950s. If I remember correctly, VHD 3D uses proper, active shutter glasses too, and that was in the 1980s.

I'm still waiting for a 3D release of Robot Monster...
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 07:25 
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There were 3D movies in the 50s and they used the same red blue 3D system found here. That’s why I consider it early 3D movie technology, I can’t think of anything earlier.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 08:06 
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Stereoscopy goes all the way back to the 1800s with photographs that basically just relied on the viewer focusing their eyes (like you do with those weird computer-generated images you see in books and stuff), it's just become a lot more sophisticated since then.

3D in movies seems like one of those gimmicks Hollywood pushes out every time there's any serious competition to people just going to the movies; in the 1950s it was the TV, in the 1980s it was home video, and the most recent one is...streaming I guess? While you can now have a 3D experience at home, I doubt a lot of people can afford the equipment or are even interested in it. My copy of Zootopia came with a 3D version but I've got nothing to watch it with. For a modern 3D you need to buy a player AND a TV that can actually display the higher frame rate required for the active shutter glasses, and at this point I think most people would rather just spend that money in 4K instead.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 16:54 
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There were 3D viewers in the 19th century but not movies, that’s why I consider red/blue to be early 3D movie technology, I can’t think of anything earlier.

There are, IIRC, zero 3D TVs on the market at the moment. The trend has blown over once again. Kinda sad. The best use of it during this wave was Wim Wender’s Pina or maybe some Pixar thing. Most of the time in theaters you just get bored or tired of it, especially after 2.5 hours of Potter or Superman or something.

The producers of Freddy’s Dead knew what they were doing making only the last part of the movie in 3D! That way it’s still thrilling when the movie ends!
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 17:15 
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It's kind of funny, in the 50's and the 80's the movies that got a 3D release were often really crappy and it really was used as just a gimmick to push otherwise mediocre movies, but probably thanks to advances in computer graphics, you no longer need to shoot the whole movie around the gimmick so even major blockbusters could get in on the game at little added expense, and you actually had some decent movies come out that utilized it. I think my copy of Zootopia comes with a 3D version but unfortunately I got nothing to watch it on.

It's just a shame that they didn't include the 3D ending for Freddy's Dead on the blu-ray. I used to have the DVD but I couldn't watch it because it used a different colour combination than I had glasses for - red and green I think?
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 19 Aug 2019, 18:13 
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I can’t remember. I saw it in the theater. I know the LD comes with glasses.

I don’t really subscribe to your theory that 3D movies became real movies. Pina, sure, but most of it is just the current generation version of Creature from the Black Lagoon. Loads and loads of superhero garbage made the most of it with those horribly bloated Hobbit movies being a big part. Computer animation is basically one click away from being rendered in 3D so that stuff came along for the ride.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2019, 02:08 
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I never felt compelled to go see any of them in the theaters (I wear glasses so I figured that wouldn't be very comfortable) so I'm not gonna argue you on that. I mostly just remember some of them getting good reviews.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2019, 06:09 
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I guess they were at least major studio efforts and not like the 50s stuff. Movies that bad don’t really get released anymore at all really.
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 Post subject: Re: Virtual Sea (3D) (1994) [TOLS-1249]
PostPosted: 20 Aug 2019, 11:15 
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Yeah, now they're worse than bad, they're just completely forgettable.

Apparently the original Creature From the Black Lagoon, it's immediate sequel, and Dial M For Murder (an actually good movie) were also shot for 3D, while the '80s films were mostly schlocky horror films, even if they did have studio backing.
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