AVS Club Gold
Join Date: Jun 1999
Location: Jacksonville, FL
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There was a period in the late 80's where popular VHS format was being used to distribute a new technology for 3D presentation called Field Sequential.3D. There were many films that were transferred to VHS back then that used this better looking format as opposed to anaglyph ( red / cyan glasses) as 3F for the home weren't ready for polar twin projectors in the home such as the ones used in the movie theaters. As the VHS format began to die, companies transferred many of these to DVD and they still worked. The technology is based on the field interlaced trace scan of CRT TV's. It uses special shutter glasses, pulsed at 59.94 fields per second, a sync box, and your CRT TV.
While the DVD's are still available, and you can also find the glasses and sync box on places like ebay, few people have the CRT TV sets required to make the system work.
I have a couple of these old DVD's such as The Haunted Castle and Encounters in the Third Dimension There are about 30 titles that I know of and they are pretty cheap to buy on Amazon etc. You can also rent many of them from Netflix. Until yesterday, I have never seen these in 3D!
To view them on modern Digital TV's requires an FPR ( Film Patterned Retarder) Passive TV set such as an LG passive or Vizio Passive. First insert the DVD with Field Sequential 3D video in your computer with a DVD player and Windows Media Player 11 that is set to play DVD's from your drive. Your computer needs to be 3D ready and connected to a Passive 3D monitor. Do not put the TV in 3D mode. Leave it in 2D mode but put on your 3D glasses. Now, move the WMP playing the DVD to your passive monitor and allow the image to size naturally on your HD screen to it's native 720x486 frame size. The image will blow out to full 3D with excellent depth. The image will not be full screen but you can sit closer. You cannot resize the scale because that will destroy the 3D effect. The trick is to display the Field Sequential video in sync with the FPR coating which is at the native resolution of the monitor which is likely 1080 x 1920. If you resize the screen to 486 x 720, that will not work because now the FPR will not be in alignment with the fields in the DVD. The image will be resized to full screen but will lose it's 3D effect as the. The math just doesn't line up. Allowing the DVD frame to sit on the larger screen can line up somewhere in the middle easily because all it needs to do is find a location where the lines converge which is not difficult at all. Pretty much an automatic process.
Until now, it was thought that the display of this format was impossible unless you had a traditional CRT TV set. Now you can view the movies on your 3D passive TV.
I have been trying to work with using a set top 3D BD DVD player but so far these have not permitted proper display of the 486 x 720 image without rescaling. It may have a chance with using composite video out, not HDMI. If you want to try it, I'd suggest starting with composite video output from a regular DVD player that won't rescale. I haven't tried that yet. So far only the computer and windows Media player or the preview screen in Vegas set to Line Alternate works but WMP is easier.
While none of these movies are of Avatar 21st century quality, if you want to recover some old films that were made in 3D you now have a way to play them.