Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Video West, Inc. Three Dimensional Photographic System

Magazine article American Cinematographer

The Video West, Inc. Three Dimensional Photographic System

Article excerpt

An amazing new compatible 2-D/3-D photographic system which produces pictures that look normal to the unaided eye, but which leap into three-dimensional form when viewed with glasses

Since the invention of the stereoscope in 1838 by Sir Charles Wheatstone, there have been innumerable attempts to capture life as we really see it; with the properties of height, width, and depth.

The history and development of "stereoscopy" is most fascinating and would fill many volumes. Throughout the history of three-dimensional viewing, there have been cycles of reviewing, innovating, and inventing involving the different techniques and processes by which a stereo picture is obtained. Sometimes a return to the earliest basic principles of stereo viewing proved the most desirable and often yielded further insight into the fascinating phenomenon of binocular vision.


In 1969 Jimmie D. Songer Jr. completed work on an invention which not only provided a novel approach to three-dimensional photography but utilized some basic techniques as well.

Until that time apparatus for obtaining a stereo image, with an existing single-lens camera and standard single lens, had been placed on the exterior of the lens.

The very concept of this external apparatus precluded obtaining a compatible "two-dimensional/three dimensional" picture. After extensive research and experimentation, Jim Songer took a new approach by placing a special module of his design within the lens itself. The unique value of this concept and design, together with the creation of the "module" and viewing glasses which act as an "encoder" and "decoder", were recognized by the U.S. Patent office. In January 1973, Jim Songer received a patent for his invention. The patent is assigned to Video WEST, Incorporated of Beverly Hills, California.

The Video WEST, Inc. threedimensional viewing system produces a compatible two-dimensional and threedimensional picture. This system offers the viewer the option to view easily in standard two-dimension and then, by using the special glasses, to perceive the picture in cofor and three-dimension.

There is NO modification to any portion of the "photographic or display chain" except for the taking lens of the camera. This is a prime factor in the low cost of the physical apparatus used in the system.

The unique property and innovative feature of the Video WEST, Inc. stereophotographic process is primarily the technique of spectorally separating the two color fields by means of a special module located within the camera objective lens. Prior art has been restricted to attachments to the lens, with attendant limitations to the separations of the color fields at the film plane. This limitation precludes the production of photography which can be viewed both in two and three-dimensional formats, since the color field separation is intolerable for two-dimensional viewing. Satisfactory two and three-dimensional viewing of an anaglyph photograph demands that the misregistration of the two color fields be as small as possible, so that colors fringes are not readily detected by the viewer of two-dimensional photography-but the two fields must be sufficiently separated to produce realistic three-dimensional effects. The Video WEST Inc. process fulfills this requirement completely and provides the additional flexibility of being able to produce exaggerated three-dimensional photography for special effects.

The Video WEST Inc. Three-Dimensional System may be utilized in all color photographic formats, still or motion picture. In the 35mm still format, pictures have been produced by inserting the Video WEST module in standard Nikon lenses such as the 35mm focal length, 50mm, etc. These or any other lenses may be used to produce a compatible two-dimensional/three-dimensional picture either in standard transparency form or in color prints of any size.

For "instant 3-D," the Video WEST module may be inserted into a camera using Polaroid film. …

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