3D Television?

Doing a pub quiz last night, and one of the categories was old TV theme songs. This led me to think about the shows I grew up with, among them That’s Incredible! One night they had a segment about being able to televise three-dimensional images on our ordinary TV’s at home. And then they showed it; it was two clips, IIRC: someone throwing a frisbee with zero effect, and a American football pass play – and that worked. I was really, really surprised at the time, especially as I was watching on a 13" black-and-white set up in my room.
Does anyone else remember this? I tried searching for it, but got nothing. What became of this technology? And why was Fran Tarkington called in to do That’s Incredible!? :stuck_out_tongue:

I don’t recall the episode. But I just can’t imagine how this would be possible at all. For true 3D, or stereoscopic vision, each eye needs a separate image of the same scene. These 2 images point’s of view need to be offset by the distance between the human eyes (or more for greater effect). Without these two fields being directed toward the appropriate eye, how could an effect like this be achieved over a mono-vision TV? That would be like trying to receive stereo sound over one speaker.

Could have been the Pulfrich Effect - that can work with a monochrome image shot with a single camera - you just put a piece of smoked glass over one eye.

Huh… that’s an interesting way of faking it. But it wouldn’t be true 3D. Maybe that’s not what the episode of TI claimed, anyway?

No. you’re right - it’s not true 3D, but I can tell you it’s a pretty profound effect, and it does quite closely match the OP’s description (esp. that it was moving objects depicted).

They used Pulfrich effect 3D for the halftime show at the SuperBowl several years ago. I didn’t have the required glasses, so I couldn’t tell you how well it worked.

The “required glasses” for the Pulfrich effect is any pair of sunglasses. Just hold one lens over one eye, and nothing over the other. But it only works for objects that are moving at a constant rate across the screen. It’s an effect with very limited applications.

I remember a news report on this; one clip they showed was of some trees. It wasn’t true 3D, but was close enough. There were no special glasses required. IIRC they used a stereoscopic camera and broadcasted the left and right images alternately at 1/60 sec or whatever the TV refresh rate is. This was between 1992 and 2002.

I do remember seeing exactly this on TV a long time ago. I don’t remember the name of the show but I do remember seeing 3D images on my TV without using any special glasses.

I remember this as well. IIRC the left and right camera angles alternated 1/4 of a seconf from each other.

Aside from the footbal player and the frisbee, a molecular model was also displayed.

Here’s a (static) example of this effect. http://www.moillusions.com/2006/04/stereo-3d-animated-images.html Extending this technique to moving images, with two synchronized cameras and a video multiplexer, sounds perfectly possible.

3D television is suddenly a hot topic. Samsung’s high-def televisions are already 3D-ready and the new LED DLP will get the upgrade first this fall:

I see here that many manufacturers are gearing up.

The occasional broadcast in 3D might be fun, but I don’t think I would want it all the time.

Ok, great – so I wasn’t hallucinating! There was certainly no use of special glasses involved, and the effect - when it worked - was quite striking.


It sounds like the Samsung is using flicker-glasses. I’ve seen that years ago used for photogrammetry and it was very nice for static images. I have no idea how well it’ll work with motion.



Sorry to resurrect, but I devised a technique to view true 3D without any need for glasses. Just cross your eyes, until the two images merge into one. Concentrate only on the one it the middle… kinda when you’re in a drunken bar fight.

I made it using Cinema 4D, a model of a BMX I had built a while ago, two virtually offset cameras, and Final Cut Pro to put em beside each other.

Here’s YouTube as well, but the crappy compression and cutting out at the end kinda make it hard to utilize.

Sure, that technique works great for those “Magic Eye” (Random-dot stereogram) pictures. Not everyone can do it, though. And, I wouldn’t want to watch TV that way…

aaaaaactually… Those magic-eye things, for some reason, require you to “anti-cross” your eyes. That is, rather than tightly focus on the something in front of you, you have to make like you’re looking beyond that surface at something behind it. It’s like crossing your eyes, but in reverse. That’s why it’s much trickier. Once you grok that, it’s a lot easier. But, this doesn’t use that technique.

FWIW, I don’t think I’d want to watch TV that way either. But it works! :smiley:

You’re not claiming you invented the cross-eyed viewing technique are you? Because I’ve seen and used examples of it for years.

And of course, the real problem with it is…

If the wind changes while you’re doing it, you’ll stay that way forever!

Heh, I’ve always wondered why the standard for magic-eye was un-cross. I simply can’t do it, and looking at those things in negative is rather disappointing. Good for you for being sensible and choosing crosseyed!

Apparently, some people find it easier to go crosseyed, and some find it easier to go walleyed. Myself, I can’t cross my eyes without focusing on some nearby object (the tip of my nose, say, or a finger held in front of my face), which puts the image beyond out of focus. But I can walleye out to infinity and beyond with no difficulty at all, and while focusing at any distance at all. Presumably, the fact that most Magic Eye images are walleyed rather than crosseyed indicates either that they did some sort of study and found that more people could walleye, or just that the folks who invented the technique found walleye easier.