The most popular form of 3D entertainment to date has been films for theaters. However, 3D television programming, sports, concerts, performances, personal videos and nature shows are quickly coming online. 3D content is created using a blend of 3 different techniques, live action footage, computer-generated images, or by adding depth to 2D images.
The first technique is 'live action' where a scene is shot as it appears to someone watching it being filmed. A professional 3D camera is handheld or mounted on a 3D rig which allows very precise control of the 2 camera lenses. Creators can stop right there and prepare the content for distribution - as you would with a live event - but more likely the digital files are edited to enhance sound and picture qualities, and to add special effects before distribution.
CGI or 3D Rendering
Computer-generated images, or CGI, has enabled the creation of most 3D content to date. Generally-speaking, it is easier to create 3-dimensional objects and add depth to scenes in the computer creation process - or to content that were previously created in CGI. In fact, many PC games are easily rendered in 3D while the game is playing. Software to render 3D views has been available, and steadily becoming more user friendly, in both the consumer and professional realm for over 10 years.
2D to 3D Conversion
The process of adding depth to content previously shot in 2D is called conversion. Using special algorithms developed for this process, the digital files can be edited to add a second view and provide separate left eye and right eye images. Results from conversion can be problematic. Most filmmakers are calling for careful and prudent use of conversion techniques, as, if not done carefully, the process can create discomfort for the viewers sensitive to 3D imperfections. Content creators and CE manufacturers are carefully examining new algorithms for automatic conversions.
3D for Learning
A quick word about 3D learning. Testing of 3D in schools - most often with 3D projectors and 3D eyewear - has shown fantastic results. Students in courses that utilize 3D for math, geometry, geography, physics, biology and many others, show much higher retention rates and comprehension of the materials presented. These successes will likely result in educational software and programs that take advantage of 3D hardware.
Preparing 3D Releases for the Home
Making 3D TV Programs
3D Video sharing services