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In movie theaters, 3d movies are achieved by projecting two different images, with differently polarized light, while the audience wears polarizing lenses so that each eye sees only one image.
I propose bringing this technology to live theater.
The simplest application would be to give audience
members glasses with vertically polarized lenses. The whole stage would be dimly lit with horizontally polarized light, while spotlights on the actors (and active scene components) would use vertically polarized light. The actors and stagehands could see each other, and the entire stage, relatively clearly, but to the audience, everything not lit with vertically polarized light would appear dead black. Scenery could be moved about quickly and safely, with little risk of accidents due to working in the dark.
A second possibility would be to combine live actors with 3D projections. For this application, the audience would wear conventional 3D polarized lenses, with the two lenses having polarizations 90 degrees from each other. The 3D projections might be filmed (or computer generated) beforehand, or they might be created in real time, with digital puppetry.
||I can't really imagine how this could be pulled off but it's a
cool idea. [+]
||Does the polarized light trick work for illuminating 3D
environments? I would think the angle of incidence would
mess up the effect.
||What about the other 3D cinema technology (not sure what
it's called)? I believe it uses several bands from the spectrum
for one eye and complimentary bands for the other. So like
red-blue glasses but with smaller granularity. But then you're
stuck with all your actors having to wear all white.
||Appropriate lighting and glasses that obscure one eye could give the impression of watching a movie - 2D glasses!
||I guess theatre-going audiences would resent wearing special glasses, but for the non-3D-projections first part of your idea, it would be sufficient to have a huge pol-filter in front of the stage.