Tom Corbett Space Cadet® View-Master® Conspiracy Theory
the images on the 1954 View-Master® three-reel set based
on the television show Tom Corbett Space Cadet®
used to condition the public about the possibility of the
existence of alien life on other planets? This conspiracy
theory and a detailed explanation of the images from the Tom
Corbett Space Cadet® View-Master® reels are presented
on the Enterprise
Mission Web site.
The face on Mars at Cydonia, hyperdimensional physics, the
exploding planet hypothesis and tetrahedrons are all part
of the "messages" buried in the 3-D slides of the
1954 packet, according to the Web site. The images show virtually
an entire history of the Cydonia investigation in one form
or another, years before the discovery of the face on Mars
was "announced" in 1976.
In true conspiracy theory fashion, the Web site points out
that the View-Master® reels were produced pre-NASA, pre-Brookings
and asks, "What did they know and when did they know
it?" Was the evidence an outgrowth of data obtained from
the crash of an alien spacecraft in Roswell, New Mexico? Was
it produced to condition the public prior to the release of
evidence of ruins in the solar system? Is the simple existence
of these reels proof in of itself that the makers of this
story had some inside prior knowledge of what was at Cydonia?
Tom Corbett, Space Cadet® View-Master® reels
were released in packet number 970. Solarguard.com
has all 21 images from the packet posted online in non-stereo.
The original images are in 3-D. The adventure consists of
three reels of 21 stereo Kodachrome pictures without an overall
title. However, there is a title for each of the three reels
in the story.
There is no author mentioned for writing the Tom Corbett
View-Master® adventure, but Florence Thomas is credited
with creating the scenes. Much of the science facts in the
story is consistent with theories and known facts of the time
period and some of the language found in the story reflects
the type of language found in material reviewed by the Tom
Corbett series science consultant, Willy Ley.
Visit the Enterprise
Mission Web site and ask yourself, "Do you believe?"
In any case, you'll probably never look at the Tom Corbett
Space Cadet® View-Master® reels in the same way
Viewing the Future
by Joseph Kleiman, World Enteractive Senior Correspondent,
Courtesy of www.worldenteractive.com
past week, I had the chance to experience the future of 3-D.
Not being the world’s biggest 3-D expert, I brought
along someone who very well might be, Ray Zone, author of
3-D Filmmakers: Conversations with Creators of Stereoscopic
Motion Pictures. Ray has written about 3-D for The
Los Angeles Times, American Cinematographer, and The
Hollywood Reporter, as well as specialty publications
such as Stereo World and The Big Frame.
Although the trip included a 1.2K digital viewing of Sin
City at the Arclight in Hollywood and an opening day
2K digital screening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge
of the Sith in the adjacent Cineramadome, along with
a march to the Chinese Theater with a garrison of stormtroopers
to bring back the line for the film’s first showing,
the real treat was visiting Real D and In-Three with Ray.
On Wednesday, Ray and I drove to the Clarity Building in
downtown Beverly Hills. Clarity Building is an appropriate
name as it’s the headquarters for Real D. Founded by
Michael Lewis, producer of IMAX 3-D hits T-Rex: Back to
the Cretaceous and Siegfried and Roy: The Magic Box,
and Joshua Greer, whose former company, Digital Planet, was
a touchstone in interactive internet marketing, Real D plans
to have 1,000 of their systems installed by next summer. The
Real D system includes software, circular polarizers, polarized
glasses and a silver matte screen which is added onto an existing
digital projection system with dual-stream server. Real D
pays for the upgrade in exchange for a share of the box. When
not in use for 3-D, the system can show conventional digital
cinema or live presentations. The first cinema installation
is currently being done at the VIP screening room at Mann’s
Chinese theater complex in Hollywood. We will be returning
in July to witness their system on the 50-foot wide screen.
The screen upon which we saw the demonstration was noticeably
smaller, but the presentation was astounding. The demonstration
was split into two portions. The first involved a number of
clips from Polar Express in 3-D. Wearing polarized
glasses that are some of the lightest and most fashionable
I’ve ever seen, I was able to walk around the room,
with the image remaining centered, no stretching or bending
in any way. This has often been a major issue with large format
3-D and was even noticeable with the ShoWest demonstration,
but Real D seems to have fixed this problem which means that
each and every member of the audience will receive the identical
presentation. The fact that Polar Express was demonstrated
by both Real D and at the ShoWest demonstration leads me to
believe that this winter the 3-D presentation of the film
may not be exclusive to large format screens.
The second part of the presentation was a year old demonstration
reel. It begins by showcasing what 3-D advertising and preshow
entertainment would look like. With Real D’s software,
one can input data onto a template, and within 24 hours have
a specialized message, such as a birthday greeting or advertisement,
appear in 3-D on the screen. They also showcased some of Steve
Schklair’s 3-D photography of an NFL game, along with
some 3-D extreme sports footage, to intimate what a live event
would look like in 3-D.
The films showcased during the reel were all large format
films. Sean Phillips’ work on T-Rex and Siegfried
and Roy looked as astounding and clear in the smaller
frame as on the giant screen. Some of Ben Stassen’s
films were shown, including SOS Planet and Haunted
Castle. There were also some clips from James Cameron’s
Ghosts of the Abyss. As Ben states in Ray’s
book, "Size is everything to the 2-D giant-screen production.
Not so for 3-D film. Even on a smaller screen, 3-D sells……Even
though the screen may be much smaller than what we are used
to in large format venues, the public still gets a fully immersive
experience. That’s the beauty of the third dimension."
It looks like Real D will be proving Ben right.
On Thursday, we drove to Agoura Hills, to the offices of
In-Three. This company, which has worked on James Cameron’s
Aliens of the Abyss and is dimensionalizing™
the entire Star Wars saga for George Lucas, is growing
exponentially. Currently at 100 employees and occupying a
number of buildings, they are constructing a larger facility.
Founded by Michael Kaye and Neil Feldman, whose respective
companies Encore Video and Video Post and Transfer were at
the forefront of video postproduction, In-Three is set to
deliver its first dimensionlized™ film later this year.
The demonstration we saw was on a Christie 1.2K DLP projector.
The quality of the image confirms Feldman’s statement
that any current digital cinema projector, not just a 2K,
with the addition of glasses, can play 3-D. This means that
there are currently around 75 DLP cinema projectors in the
US and Canada with the capability to play 3-D films through
their single lens.
For the demonstration we saw, In-Three played the same clips
shown at ShoWest: Star Wars: Episode II, Top Gun, Lilo
and Stitch, and the opening of Star Wars: Episode
IV.* Additional scenes were just as amazing. These included
a collection of six to eight clips from the original Matrix,
including Neo waking up in his incubation pod and the helicopter
crash at the end of the film; the motorcycle game of chicken
from John Woo’s Mission Impossible 2; the Greased
Lightning dance sequence from Randall Kleiser’s Grease;
the opening of Disney’s Treasure Planet; a
poolside scene from Disney’s Tuck Everlasting,
which Ray mentioned as being nearly impossible to originate
in 3-D filming; and the ending of the original Spider-man,
with Spidey flying through buildings and landing on top of
a building grasping the American flag. The segment was so
exciting that Ray yelled out "Now that’s how that
film’s meant to be seen."
In-Three CEO Michael Kaye told me that they’ve also
dimensionalized™ a number of black and white clips,
including the ending to Casablanca. He also has no
aversion to continued work in large format. This opens the
possibility that classic 2-D large format films from filmmakers
such as Greg MacGillivray, David Douglas and Stephen Low might
experience new life in three-dimensional versions.
The digital revolution is just around the corner. I’ve
heard murmurs that the financing issue may be resolved within
the next month. If this happens, we can look for an acceleration
of digital cinemas worldwide, quicker in international markets
where specifications do not mean as much as offering the newest
and best presentations for their audiences. The successful
opening weekend of Star Wars: Episode III, even with
issues of piracy haunting it, certainly has increased interest
in digital cinema. The successful IMAX 3-D run of The
Polar Express half a year ago has not only increased
interest in large format 3-D, but has accelerated interest
in digital 3-D as well. What Ray and I saw this past week
was only a preview. By the end of the year, the future will
*There were no scenes from Lord of the Rings, as
the conversion shown at ShoWest had been done by WETA, not
Star Wars III-D Items
month's release of the third chapter in George Lucas' Star
Wars saga, Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith brings
with it many 3-D related collectibles.
Here are more of the Star Wars 3-D items available.
Editor's Note: All Star Wars images are © Lucasfilm
2005. All rights reserved.
Guide Features Five Collectible Star Wars 3-D Lenticular Covers
The May 1, 2005, issue of TV Guide featured a series
of five different Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith
collectible 3-D lenticular covers. Images on the covers include
Anakin Skywalker, a duel between Anakin and Obi-Wan, the Emperor,
Padme and Wookies. Another cover featuring the duel image
was sent to subscribers. TV Guide previously did
a series of three 3-D lenticular covers when Star Wars:
Attack of the Clones was released. Click on the thumbnails
to see a larger image.
Enteractive Interview: Rick McCallum, Producer of Star Wars,
talks about 3-D Digital Cinema
by Joseph Kleiman, World Enteractive Senior Correspondent,
Courtesy of www.worldenteractive.com
3-D Review Editor's Note: This interview was conducted prior
to the opening of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the
McCallum began his long and varied career in film production
as assistant to director James Ivory on the 1975 film, The
Wild Party. He has had close relationships as a producer
with filmmakers Nicholas Roeg and George Lucas, and for the
latter has produced Radioland Murders, The Young
Indiana Jones Chronicles television series, the Special
Editions of Episodes IV – VI of Star Wars,
as well as all three films in the series’ prequel trilogy.
McCallum’s newest film, “Star Wars Episode
III: Revenge of the Sith” opens worldwide May 19.
On May 3, 2005, McCallum spoke from his office at Lucasfilm
with World Enteractive’s Senior Correspondent, Joseph
L. Kleiman. The following Q&A is culled from that conversation:
JOSEPH KLEIMAN: Let’s start off with
Episode I. This was the first film to be released
digitally. How many screens was that?
RICK MCCALLUM: It was just 4 screens in
Los Angeles and New York. We shot most of Episode I
on film with about 25 shots shot digitally with the SONY HD
camera and absolutely no-one could tell which the digital
JK: For Episode III, how many digital
screens will there be?
RM: On Episode II, we had 90 digital
screens in the US and 35 in the rest of the world. Unfortunately,
for Episode III it’s dropped to 80 digital
screens in the US, but increased to around 350 in the rest
of the world.
JK: Why are you so insistent that people
RM: Actually, we couldn’t care less
if a filmmaker shoots on film or digitally, but if a director
prefers film then, at the very least, we believe he should
create a digital intermediate and have the film projected
digitally. We were the first to shoot with HD digital cameras,
and we were the first to edit with nonlinear systems. Now,
a lot of people are very excited about the quality of the
latest digital lenses, cameras and recorders. Guess what?
At the end of the day the studios and the exhibitors have
no other choice, it’s an adapt or dieituation. It may
take 2 years, it may take 5 years or even longer but it’s
going to happen.
JK: Walt Ordway of the DCI told me last
week that the digital deployment may take an additional year
due to security issues. You said at the Celebration III Fan
Convention that a base of 3,000 screens are needed before
Episode I can be exhibited in 3-D. Is that really
going to happen by 2007?
RM: What I said was it would be fantastic
if, by 2007, we could have 3,000 screens. We’re very
optimistic about having enough screens but if there are only
1,000 to 2,000 then we’ll just have to see if we can
make it work.
JK: What about the security issue?
RM: Security is a serious and ongoing issue
for every movie and has been for the last decade. But one
of the really cool things about digital 3-D is that you simply
can’t pirate it or copy it in a theatre.
JK: Brad Wechsler, the co-CEO of IMAX told
The Hollywood Reporter they had completed a 3-D conversion
of a scene from Episode III. He said, and I quote
here, “It looked exquisite.”
RM: First of all I’ve never even met
that guy and second of all, what I’ve heard from people
that I trust who have seen it, is that it didn’t look
JK: So are you saying that you have never
met either Brad Wechsler or Rich Gelfond?
RM: Yes, that’s right. Not only have
I never met them but I don’t even know who they are!
I have only ever dealt with Greg Foster. You have to understand,
we didn’t have a great experience working with IMAX
on Episode II. A good friend of ours asked us to
help IMAX out on Episode II.. They needed a big picture
and we wanted to help them. But they promised us the world
on Episode II, and never delivered on the number
of screens they got for us. We still love the idea of large
screen formats, whether they are IMAX or conventional cinema.
The problem we had with IMAX was that, as they are set up
now, they are just simply too expensive to work with. We loved
the work that David Keighley did for us on the DMR processing,
absolutely stunning, but with the rest of the IMAX overhead
it just doesn’t make sense to go through all the trouble.
From what I understand, none of the Disney large format releases
have used their DMR process. The animated movies were recorded
out to film from original high resolution proprietary digital
files that Disney uses for archiving. While DKP did the record
out of Fantasia, it was not the DMR process. In fact,
I’ve heard that Rick Gordon at RPG handled all of the
postproduction for almost all of Disney’s large format
films after Fantasia, not IMAX. All of Disney’s
non-animated features including Young Black Stallion,
Ghosts of the Abyss, Aliens of the Deep, and I think
even the upcoming Mars used original capture on various
film or video formats, none of them used the DMR process.
As good and efficient as David’s set-up is, you have
to stop and ask, why is anyone paying millions of dollars
for their overhead?
JK: So why did you even consider working
with IMAX on Episode III?
RM: The reason is very simple, we had been
working with In-Three for a couple of years and they had proved
to us that they have a real technology that actually works
and that could be done in a cost effective way. They can take
any 2-D movie and with their unique technology and turn it
into a realistic 3-D movie. We gave them 10 minutes of New
Hope footage and just weeks later they were back with
the most astonishing 3-D footage I have ever seen. Out of
nowhere, IMAX got in touch with us, but we made it perfectly
clear that we were not interested in working with them again
in a 2-D environment. IMAX suggested a gimmick of showing
the last 20-30 minutes of Episode III in 3-D and
having In-Three dimensionalize™ it. We were interested
in that suggestion but only if In-Three did the conversion
using their process, which we were so impressed with. The
only Episode III footage I gave directly to IMAX
was just 3 minutes for them to do a comparison test of full-frame
to 16:9 aspect ratios so that we could work out the transition
between the 2-D and 3-D sections of the movie if we went ahead
with their suggestion. In the end of the day it was too much
of a gimmick, and it all become too much of a drama, which
was a shame because I was really excited about the idea.
JK: Have you seen the clip that Wechsler
RM: No I haven’t, nor am I interested
in seeing it. And the reason is, I was very upset that IMAX
had the audacity to show it to a group of executives from
another studio without asking for our permission or even telling
us about it!
JK: But Star Wars and IMAX have
a long history together. Ben Burtt’s worked on a number
of IMAX films, and the opening scene from Episode IV was reshot
for the IMAX screen for Ben’s film Special Effects.
RM: No, that’s not right. Ben Burtt
is one of the most versatile and consummate filmmakers in
the business. He was hired to direct a film about the history
of visual effects by Nova Large Format Productions who financed
and produced the film. Lucasfilm gave Ben and Nova permission
to include Star Wars clips in that film. There were
other studios’ films included in that movie as well;
it wasn’t just Star Wars. The relationship
between Nova and IMAX was a strict distribution deal and IMAX
had nothing to do with the making of the movie whatsoever.
JK: Do you believe that IMAX can do a live
action 3-D conversion for a feature film?
RM: To tell you the truth, I have no idea.
There’s a lot of confusion about who converted Polar
Express. It was rendered to 3-D in CGI by Sony Imageworks
and not by IMAX. But even if IMAX could do it or have done
it, the problem for them is that they are always going to
be limited by the number of screens they have. The fact is
that the technology now exists to show 3-D movies digitally
in any conventional multiplex cinema which means hundreds
of screens now and eventually thousands of screens. On another
note the technology is very complex and takes years to develop
and I think it’s going to be difficult for anyone to
suddenly jump on the bandwagon.
JK: Let’s move on to television. You
produced one of my favorite series, The Young Indiana
Jones Chronicles. Will you be producing the Star
Wars television series as well?
RM: Really, I don’t know what I’ll
be doing after this. I’m not sure if I’ll be involved
in the series. We’ll be regrouping in September and
will figure out then what we’re doing.
JK: Back in 1998, Tony Baxter of Walt Disney
Imagineering told me that a new Star Tours film was in the
works. With the ride coming on being 20 years old, and George
confirming that if it ever happens, it will use a digital
projection system, when is this new film going to premiere?
RM: We’ve been working on getting
a new film in there for the past 16 years. This ride is definitely
starting to look its age. But you need to ask Disney. They’re
the ones in charge, Lucasfilm just licenses the Star Wars
property to them for the ride.
JK: Any final words?
RM: We had a Digital Conference last week,
here at Skywalker Ranch, with 60 great filmmakers who were
all completely blown away with what In-Three did with our
footage. And at the ShoWest conference in Las Vegas recently,
we also showed 10 minutes of New Hope, which In-Three had
dimensionalized™, to Jim Cameron, Robert Rodriguez,
Randall Kleiser and Bob Zemeckis. They were stunned by the
quality and I think everybody, including all the theatre owners
who were there, is very excited about the future of 3-D movies.
All we care about is making movies look better in cinemas
and we all need to work together – exhibitors, studios
and filmmakers - to finally give the audience an experience
that’s worth leaving their plasma screens and DVDs at
home for. The digital 3-D process offers a whole new revenue
stream for theatre owners and also gives audiences an exciting
new way to look at movies.
Color of Gold in 3-D DVD
Color of Gold in 3-D is now available
on DVD. The Color of Gold in 3-D is a documentary
featuring hundreds of actual 3-D images taken during the Klondike
gold rush. The film is narrated by Norman Mailer, G. Gordon
Liddy, Dr. Ruth Westheimer, Robin Leach, James Randi, Linda
Taylor, Jerry Harper and Gov. Tony Knowles. The 3-D portions
of the DVD must be viewed using LCD field-sequential 3-D glasses,
which provides 3-D viewing much superior to anaglyphic 3-D.
The story of the gold rush plays out like an episode of HBO's
Deadwood. Thousands of people made their
way to the gold fields to find riches, poverty, death, greed,
sin and glory. The well researched documentary reveals historic
tidbits you might not know all with the enhanced feeling of
being there through the 3-D images.
The Color of Gold in 3-D is available from several
online 3-D vendors including www.berezin.com
The 45-minute DVD plays in U.S. Region DVD units and retails
The DVD features an excellent video transfer and well balanced
audio quality. There was no problem playing back on a regular
DVD unit going to TV. One technical note: The two review copies
we received had problems playing back on a computer DVD player.
On the computer, the disk launched as if it were an audio
CD. We did get it to play in one of the three different DVD
software packages we had installed on the computer. Another
note about an Easter Egg on the DVD. If you let the DVD continue
to play after the feature ends, it goes to Chapter Five, which
looks like some leftover video from another movie showing
an ill elderly woman being cared for by a Jamaican nurse followed
by a scene in a bar. The Easter Egg is unrelated to the 3-D
EC Comics Three
Dimensional EC Classics #1 Brings Large Price at Auction
recent collectible comic book auction included the EC Comics
file copy of Three Dimensional EC Classics #1.
This comic book was the Gaines File pedigree (EC, 1954),
which means it came from the office file copies. Rated CGC
FN/VF 7.0 Off-white to white pages.
A cool Harvey Kurtzman cover fronts this interesting book.
It contains previously published stories that have been redrawn
in 3-D format, often by a different artist than the original.
Artists for this issue include Wally Wood, Bernard Krigstein,
George Evans and Graham Ingels.
According to Overstreet's Price Guide, this book
is "rare in high grade due to unstable paper." The
two pairs of 3-D glasses that came with the comic are included
Note that while CGC has certified this book as a Gaines File
copy, no certificate accompanied this lot. Overstreet 2005
FN 6.0 value = $270; VF 8.0 value = $563. CGC census 2/05:
1 in 7.0, 7 higher. The current bid on May 19 was $850.
3-D comic book in the auction was Dell's 3-D-ell #1 Rootie
Kazootie. Published by Dell in 1953. Condition: GD/VG.
3-D glasses included, but not still attached. Overstreet 2005
GD 2.0 value = $39; VG 4.0 value = $78. From the Larry Jacobs
Collection. On May 19, the bid was at $8.
An office copy of Dell's 3-D-ell #1 bound in with other Dell
titles had a bid of $300. Dell Miscellaneous Titles Bound
Volumes (Dell, 1953). These are file copies which have been
trimmed and bound into four hardcover volumes.
The comics included here are 3-D-ell #1 Rootie Kazootie;
note that the two pairs of 3-D glasses are detached but are
included with this lot); Flash Gordon #2; and Four
Color #451, 453-455, 457, 459, 460, 462, 464-466, 487,
488, 490, 491, 493, 494, 496, 497, 499, 500-504, 506, 508,
510, 512-516, 518-523, 525, 527, 528, 530, 533 and 543. Approximate
Overstreet VG 4.0 value for group = $750. From the Random
Original Movie Poster Art sells for over $1,300
May 11, 2005, Gary Meyer's original artwork used for the movie
poster for 1983's Jaws 3-D was sold at auction for
a final bid price of $1,314.50, including buyer's premium.
Five bids were received during the auction.
The original movie poster illustration was created with mixed-media
on a 40" x 28" board and was signed in the lower
left by Meyer.
The final 40" x 30" Jaws 3-D movie poster
contained this striking image of skiiers being menaced by
a shark within the boundaries of Sea World and a large shark
image on the horizon.
The poster also included three dimensional lettering super-imposed
above the shark.
The same image was used for the cover art for the Jaws
3-D original motion picture soundtrack released by MCA
Records in 1983.
3-D Stereo Drivers Allow Anaglyphic Stereo Conversion of Almost
Any Video Game
you have a NVIDIA video card installed in your computer, you
might be able to see your favorite video game in stereoscopic
3-D by installing free 3-D Stereo drivers available from NVIDIA's
Web site. We're giving you links to the drivers as well as
the 3-D Stereo User's Guide for each operating system.
downloading and installing the proper 3-D Stereo drivers,
activate the drivers in the stereo settings and configure
the stereo driver to use the red/blue glasses. Now all you
have to do is start up a game and press Ctrl+T to activate
the stereo. Press Ctrl+ (F3, F4, F5, or F6) to change the
way it looks.
Download the stereo drivers appropriate for your computer's
Stereo Driver Windows 9x/ME - 61.76 3-D Stereo
Note: 61.76 3-D Stereo drivers require 61.76 ForceWare Graphics
drivers to run. Please download those here.
A 53-page ForceWare
61.76 3-D Stereo User's Guide is also online in Adobe
Acrobat PDF format.
Stereo Driver Windows XP/2000 - 71.89 3-D Stereo
Note: 71.89 3-D Stereo drivers require 71.89 ForceWare Graphics
drivers to run. Please download those here.
A 53-page ForceWare
71.89 3-D Stereo User's Guide is also online in Adobe
Acrobat PDF format.
According to NVIDIA's Web site, the drivers do not work with
Rubbishes Nintendo 3-D Rumors
No "patented stereoscopic 3-D technology" for Revolution,
at least not from this lot
Gaming and virtual reality accessories manufacturer eDimensional
has dismissed online rumors that it is in licensing talks
with Nintendo with a view to using its patented "stereoscopic
3-D technology" in future console systems.
eDimensional currently uses the technology in its Gaming
Glasses and VirtualFX TV converter, designed to bring games
to life in glorious 3-D.
However, the technology won't be making an appearance in
Nintendo's Revolution console, despite reports to that effect
in a number of online publications this week.
"Due to the overwhelming number of phone calls and e-mails
inquiring about this we felt the need to acknowledge that
eDimensional is in no formal discussion or negotiation with
Nintendo regarding our stereoscopic 3-D technology,"
eDimensional CEO Michael Epstein explained.
Rumours that Nintendo is going 3-D with its next console,
eDimensional and its Gaming Glasses aside, seem likely to
persist regardless and for some time, if it's true that Nintendo
won't be showing anything of the Revolution at this year's
E3 apart from some rolling in-game footage.
3-D Notebook Awarded NASA Tech Briefs Product of
the Year Award; DDD TriDef® Software Solutions Power 'Gold
Group plc, the 3-D software and content company, is proud
to congratulate Sharp Corporation for taking top honors as
the Gold Winner of the NASA
Tech Briefs 10th Annual Readers' Choice Product of
the Year Awards. The Sharp Actius RD3D is powered by a range
of DDD's TriDef® software solutions supplied under license
The award is voted upon by the readers of NASA Tech Briefs
from 12 nominated Products of the Month throughout the year.
The award was presented to Sharp during a special reception
at the top of the John Hancock Center in Chicago, IL. NASA
Tech Briefs is the largest-circulation design-engineering
magazine, with more than 190,000 readers.
Digital Depth (DDD Group)
United States of America
Dynamic Digital Depth USA Inc.
3000 Ocean Park Blvd., Suite 1025
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Fax: (310) 566-3380
Toll Free: (877) 884-4333
Founded in Perth, Western Australia in May 1993 as
TrueVision, with a subsequent name change to Xenotech
and, ultimately, DDD, the company’s guiding mission
has been to transform the visual experience by bringing
glasses-free 3-D to the mass market.
In the early years, the focus was on research and development
with commercialization occurring when the company licensed
its TriDef® suite of software to Sharp Corporation
of Japan in September 2003 for deployment on Sharp’s
revolutionary 2-D/3-D switchable, glasses-free, laptop
PC; the Sharp Actius RD3D.
The Sharp RD3D notebook PC combines Sharp's advanced 2-D/3-D
switchable LCD with a range of DDD's TriDef® 3-D enabling
software solutions aimed at users in the professional visualization
market. Sharp recently introduced the successor to the Actius
RD3D, the second-generation 3-D Actius AL3D notebook. Building
on the foundation laid by its groundbreaking predecessor,
the Actius AL3D represents a significant step up in power
and style for Sharp's 3-D notebook line. Powered by Intel's
brand new Pentium(R) M Processor 750, the new NVIDIA(R) GeForce(TM)
Go 6600 graphics processor with 128 MB Video RAM, and stocked
with 1024 MB of DDR2 SDRAM the powerful Actius AL3D is geared
for high-end mobile performance.
DDD's TriDef® software supplied with the Sharp 3-D notebooks
includes TriDef® Visualizer for OpenGL that enables the
use of popular scientific visualization software packages
without requiring the software packages to be rewritten for
use with 3-D displays. One such enabled package is Mercury
Computer Systems TGS amira®, that allows scientific three
dimensional models to be simply and easily downloaded and
viewed on the Sharp notebook for applications as diverse as
medical imaging and engineering.
DDD and Sharp recently announced that they had expanded their
licensing agreement to include DDD's new TriDef® DVD Player
that allows any DVD movie to be converted to 3-D in real time
as it is played on the Sharp 3-D notebook, further broadening
the potential audience for Sharp's innovative 3-D LCD display
"Sharp is honored that the readers of NASA Tech Briefs
have chosen the Actius RD3D as the product of the year for
2004," said Ian Matthew, 3-D Business Development Manager
at Sharp Systems of America, after the event. "Sharp's
3-D LCD Technology has gained acceptance by professionals
who need the advanced stereoscopic displays for their research
and development applications." Matthew added, "DDD's
TriDef® software solutions are an important part of our
powerful 3-D solution and clearly demonstrate to prospective
customers the ease with which scientific data and models can
be viewed on our 3-D notebooks and desktop PC displays."
"We are pleased to congratulate Sharp on the well-deserved
award for their groundbreaking 3-D notebook PC," said
Chris Yewdall, Chief Executive of DDD. "The award recognizes
the combination of substantial research and development efforts
by both Sharp and DDD and provides a further endorsement of
the growing popularity of 3-D displays within the business
and scientific communities."
Center of Art and Photography Shows Dimensions in Politics
and More 3-D Sea Adventures in May and June
"Dimensions in Politics" by Ernie Rairdin,
May 20 through June 26, 2005
Ernie Rairdin has the unique opportunity to chronicle political
history as it passes his Iowa doorstep every election year,
and he’s been making stereoscopic images of candidates
since 1987. Dimensions in Politics captures the atmosphere
as well as the personalities in this collection of photojournalistic
"Further 3-D Sea Adventures" by John Roll,
May 20 through June 26, 2005
The stereo theatre will present Further 3-D Sea Adventures,
a chance to marvel at the beauty of ocean creatures without
getting wet. Photographed by John Roll, this excursion into
the depths of the sea will be shown hourly.
An opportunity to see the beauty and majesty of ocean creatures
without getting wet! The show is a breathtaking look into
John is an Interventional Neuroradiologist from Portland
. He and his wife, Dace, have traveled extensively. John enjoys
trying to use various camera systems, depending on the subject
mater. This has led to many modifications and experiments
with equipment. He is a part of a small group of underwater
stereo photographers. The peculiar demands of taking good
images underwater have led to his development of his own set
of cameras and housings.
His stereo photography is not limited to underwater subjects
and his shows have been presented by the National Stereoscopic
Association and International Stereoscopic Union. Many have
been award winning presentations; all have been a visual delight.
His wife, Dace, is the membership treasurer of the International
Stereoscopic Union. She shares his enthusiasm for stereo photography
and often helps find music and offers advice about the choice
of images for the shows.
The 3-D Center of Art and Photography is located at 1928
NW Lovejoy in Portland, Oregon. Call (503) 227-6667. Hours:
Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. and every first
Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m.
Stock Market Tourism: BOVESPA Through 3-D Glasses
by Bill Hinchberger Courtesy of brazilmax.com
are sometimes accused of seeing the world through rose-colored
glasses. But it was a pair of 3-D ones that the attendant
handed me as I entered the São Paulo Stock Exchange.
Yes, it was a pair of those throwaway spectacles with their
flimsy cardboard frames, the ones made infamous by fifties
movies like The Creature from the Black Lagoon. Here I was
in the trading pit of the Bovespa (the institution’s
Portuguese acronym), fumbling to fit this friggin’ contraption
over my ears.
About two dozen people were milling around, like me, trying
on their glasses. A few rows of seats lined one side of the
room. One set was occupied by three generations: flabby grandma
in flip-flops and Bermuda shorts, mom in copycat garb, and
a cutely swaddled baby in mom’s lap. Young couples distanced
themselves in self-contained clusters. Above, along one wall,
I spotted the electronic board with numbers left over from
Friday’s trading session. On the opposite end, at ground
level, cabinets not unlike those in the locker room at my
health club occupied the wall. Each sported the name of a
Brazilian brokerage: Itaú, Planner, Fator, Ativa, Theca...
José Luiz Sanches, a former pit trader downsized out
of the Theca locker in 1999, slid up to the microphone at
the podium. Front and center, below the electronic board.
He announced the main attraction. It would be a 3-D educational
documentary about the stock market and how it works. When
the movie started, I half expected a bull from the old Merrill
Lynch spots to charge out at me, or Yogi Bear to reach out
to grab my wallet. Instead I saw a Carnavalesque ox costume
from the bumba-meu-boi festival in Maranhão, an image
that illustrated one of Bovespa’s “social investment”
Few regular people understand how stock or futures markets
work. Yet we’ve all seen the movie Trading Places: we
remember Eddie Murphy and Dan Ackroyd among the floor traders
muscling in on each other, their arms outstretched, frantically
waving strips of paper, outdoing Max Cavalera with their frantic
screams. Some of us have even read accounts by Ivan Sant’Anna,
the Brazilian trader-turned-novelist and author of Rapina.
With the growing dominance of electronic trading, the pit
trader has become just another Brazilian endangered species.
Over one thousand populated the Bovespa floor a decade ago;
their numbers have dropped to under a hundred today. Yet,
with the upstairs windows that line the area, allowing visitors
and clerical workers the chance to gaze down for a voyeuristic
thrill, the pit remains one of those mysterious inner sanctums,
something like the turf at Maracanã.... Well, you get
Bovespa is capitalizing on the pit’s allure as part
of its “popularization” scheme. On weekends its
Bolsa Aberta program transforms the pit into a financial Discoveryland,
allowing all-comers a chance to play Murphy and Ackroyd. The
3-D short explains the basics of equity investment. Former
floor traders like Sanches, together with current brokers
and representatives of listed companies like mining giant
Vale do Rio Doce, stand by ready to answer questions. “I
was curious,” explained one visitor, Carlos Alberto
D’Annibale. “I knew about all the craziness. Now
I understand a little about how it works.”
During the first 35 days of Bolsa Aberta, some 12,000 folks
like Carlos Alberto donned their 3-D glasses in the pit. Leading
Brazilian tourism agencies like Andanças and CVC have
begun to include Bovespa on their weekend downtown circuits.
“People come from all income groups, from A to Z. Many
have little sense of how things work, but they are very interested,”
said Alice Bueno Moraes, a broker with Novoinvest.
According to the broker, the first question is nearly always
the same: “Is there a minimum investment?”
That gives her an opening to tout Bovespa’s investment
clubs. Under the scheme, like-minded people (from a workplace,
a neighborhood, a social club or whatever) can pool resources
in an exclusive equity fund. Since Bovespa began its drive
to attract individual investors in 2002, the number of investment
clubs has grown from under 400 to over 1,000. Over that same
period, the percentage of individual investors in Bovespa
has jumped from 18 percent to 30 percent. “This is striking,”
said Deiwes Rubira, Brazil country manager for the Amsterdam-based
ING Bank. “The people at Bovespa have gotten it right.
The market is small, and the risk has decreased as shareholding
has become more widespread.”
The Bolsa Aberta grew out of another program called Bovespa
Where You Are. That initiative sends a Bovespa van to
public areas, from busy summer beach resorts to Amazon hideaways,
spreading the good word about equity investment. Many people
expressed interest in seeing the pit, noted Luis Abdal, Bovespa’s
marketing and communications manager. After a stock market
honcho visited the Kuala Lumpur bourse learning of its annual
weeklong on-site public education programs, Bovespa officials
launched the weekend open house.
So far pit visitors seem relatively knowledgeable compared
to some who saunter up to the far-flung van. In Portuguese,
of course, “bolsa” can mean both stock market
and handbag. Imagine how the ex-pit trader at the van felt
when he heard the question: “What materials are your
‘bolsas’ made of?”
3-D Film and The Creature From the Black Lagoon
Editor's note: The following article is
a university paper that contains several factual errors. It
is presented here in it's original form. Source: Nicholas
see at a distance...that was the essence of the audio- visual
perspective of old. But to reach at a distance, to feel at
a distance, that amounts to shifting the perspective towards
a domain it did not yet encompass: that of contact, of contact-at-a-
distance: tele-contact. - Paul Virilio
Initially seen very much as a novelty item, as but one more
element of the American film industry's response to what Annette
Kuhn terms "the audience-stealing appeal of television"
(26), 3-D cinema of the 1950s has typically been dismissed
as a gimmick by critics and historians. Since it was used
largely in fantastic genres (indeed, its most famous examples
are probably from science fiction It Came from Outer Space
and the horror film House of Wax, required viewers
to wear unwieldy cardboard glasses, and seemed insistently
to depend on effects that intruded into the audience's space,
it came to be identified as a disconcerting if not quite threatening
technique, and its quick disappearance seemed evidence of
general audience dissatisfaction, especially with the sense
of physical discomfort it caused, which pointedly flew in
the face of its supposed rationale of luring audiences back
into theaters. Yet this typical historical account of the
form omits one of 3-D's more interesting effects, one that
must have functioned as both an invitation and an imposition,
an attraction and part of the disconcerting effect 3-D had
on audiences. Paul Virilio's recent work on how the cinema
and other modern communication technologies have affected
our sense of reality might offer an interesting lead in this
regard, adding a bit more depth and understanding to the historical
view of 3-D film, particularly as it flourished in the early
1950s. By looking at one of the most famous 3-D films, Jack
Arnold's The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954),
in terms of Virilio's notion of "tele-contact,"
we might better gauge both the appeal and disturbance of 3-D,
perhaps even understand how part of what it offered was also
part of its problem.
upon the development of new technologies of vision and contact
in the twentieth century, Virilio has noted a "crisis
of the conceptualization of 'dimension'" (24). The automobile,
airplane, our various audiovisual systems (including film),
even contemporary architecture-all of which he groups under
the heading of "means of communication"-have produced
what he terms a "collection of spatial and temporal mutations
that is constantly reorganizing both the world of everyday
experience and the aesthetic representations of everyday life"
and, in turn, affecting our very "perception of the environment"
(21) we inhabit. And while our popular entertainments, especially
film, have variously pursued Andre Bazin's famous formulation
of the "myth of total cinema"-a myth involving convincing
representation, including a natural "relief or depth
in reproduced images (20)-we have ironically produced a kind
of "lost dimension" or draining of reality in Virilio's
eyes. An element of that irony, I would suggest, shows up
in one of the preeminent efforts at achieving that Bazinian
"relief," 3-D film of the 1950s.
Three-D film processes have a long history predating the
brief industry fascination of the 1950s, and in light of Bazin's
assertion about film's driving "myth," this interest
seems quite natural. Prior to the appearance of the movies,
Sir Charles Wheatstone had already developed the stereopticon,
providing for three-dimensional viewing of photographs as
a popular entertainment. And with film's introduction came
periodic efforts at achieving that Bazinian ideal. The Lumire
brothers experimented with 3-D for one of their early shorts;
a feature film, The Power of Love, along with several
short subjects, appeared in 3-D in 1922; throughout the 1930s
the MGM shorts department offered a number of Pete Smith Specials,
or "audioscopiks," using the process (Cook 466);
and in 1939 the Chrysler exhibit at the New York World's Fair
offered a 3-D film that drew an estimated 1.5 million viewers
(Kerbel 12). The greatest surge of 3-D production, though,
occurred in the early 1950s, sparked by the box office success
of Arch Oboler's B-film Bwana Devil in 1952 and the
simultaneous industry-wide drive to combat television. A measure
of the form's early success can be seen in the low-budget
horror film House of Wax. One of 23 3-D features
released in 1953, it proved to be the year's seventh-highest
grossing movie, an accomplishment all the more remarkable
given the Hollywood emphasis that year on big budget epics
such as The Robe, Titanic and From Here to Eternity.
wide variety of 3-D movies that appeared as the film industry
sought to cash in on such early successes ranged across the
spectrum of popular genres. Among the most noteworthy of those
appearing between 1953 and 1955 were musicals like Kiss
Me Kate and Those Redheads from Seattle (both
1953), horror films such as House of Wax and The
Mad Magician (1954), westerns like Gun Fury
and Hondo (both 1953), thrillers such as Alfred Hitchcock's
Dial M for Murder (1954), and science fiction films
like It Came from Outer Space (1953) and Gog
(1954). Yet by 1954 when Creature from the Black Lagoon
was released both audience and industry interest in 3-D
was already on the wane, with only 13 films made in the process
that year and but one in 1955, and many of these were only
released in standard format.2 The form would not be significantly
revived until the early 1960s in such films as September
Storm (1960), The Mask (1961), and another Arch
Oboler effort, The Bubble (1966), and then again
in the early 1970s in works aimed at an exploitation or specialized
market, such as Andy Warhol's Frankenstein (1974)
and soft-porn efforts like The Stewardesses (1970)
and Prison Girls (1972). More recently, 3-D's place
has largely been usurped by IMAX presentations, which do not
require wearing special glasses, or it has become a feature
of amusement-park attractions, such as those at Walt Disney
World and Universal Studios.3
Of course, wide screen technologies like Cinemascope were
also marketed at this time as offering a 3-D effect. As John
Belton notes, Fox advertised its Cinemascope process in precisely
this way as it sought "to distinguish its new product
from traditional flat films," while also hoping to exploit
the public's fascination with the novelty of 3-D photography
(114). The problems with that association were, first, that
wide-screen films, including those done in Cinerama, did not
employ a true binocular stereo photography process, and second,
that the wide-screen narratives of the time played off of
a rather different emphasis than did 3-D products. With a
few exceptions (such as Kiss Me Kate), most of the
1950s 3-D efforts were cheaply and quickly made, more in the
vein of traditional B-films than of the spectacles that Fox
and other major studios were producing to take best advantage
of their wide-screen processes. Visual spectacle or richness
was, consequently, neither the emphasis nor the strong point
of most 3-D productions. While the new wide-screen films mainly
exploited the cinematic capacity that Virilio might term "to
see at a distance"-hence, the debate during the period
about the ability to shoot close-ups or two-shots in wide-
screen-the 3-D films actually mined a different effect, the
seemingly individualized ability to "reach at a distance,"
along with what I see as its correlative, the capacity of
what we saw to "reach" each of us in various ways.
Certainly, much of 3-D's appeal, both then and now, lies
in the way in which, like a kind of amusement-park thrill
ride or attraction, it almost intimately addresses and exposes
each member of the audience, placing each viewer in what seems
a rather precarious position. This situation results partly
from what Michael Kerbel describes as the sense that "the
screen assaulted us with whatever wasn't nailed down,"
as 3-D narratives drew on every opportunity to have various
objects hurtle or project toward the camera. That emphasis
followed from the form's unusual level of subjectivity; as
Kerbel puts it, this "was the era of the gratuitous point-of-view
shot" (15). But that technique simply exploited the basic
3-D impression: that each effect was precisely aimed at the
individual viewer, as if a kind of personal contact was possible.
Through that impression the audience, like the on-screen characters,
could seemingly have, as the poster for Bwana Devil
promised, "A lion in your lap...a lover in your arms."
Yet obviously, the payoff was never as advertised-no lions
or lovers, just a different sort of narrative experience,
and one accompanied by those uncomfortable glasses, some eyestrain,
and possible headaches. While such things might go unnoticed
or simply be accepted for the brief duration of a thrill ride,
they are difficult to put up with for a feature-length narrative.
is precisely the nature of that special sort of narrative
experience that I want to explore here with The Creature
from the Black Lagoon, partly because it was one of the
more successful entries in the 3-D craze, but also because
its narrative repeatedly foregrounds and explores this "contact
effect." Director Jack Arnold came to this project with
an unusual level of familiarity \with 3- D, having already
made two films in the process, the film noir The Glass
Web and the science fiction movie It Came from Outer
Space (both 1953). As a result, he probably understood
better than most filmmakers of the time both the strengths
and possible drawbacks of the process. Certainly, he was familiar
enough with 3-D to begin considering what sort of thematic
possibilities might be mined from it, particularly since,
as we noted, by 1954 its appeal was wearing thin. If the technology
seemed invasive, registering with audiences as a kind of threat-and
not just to the self but, as Virilio argues, to our sense
of the fabric of reality-then perhaps that effect could be
turned into a benefit; the technology and the monstrous presence
at the heart of a film like Creature might be profitably linked.
The new creature that, as Rick Altman notes, Universal Pictures
had decided to market not as a traditional monster but as
a "science- fiction creature" (78-79), a new sort
of hybrid menace starring in a generic hybrid of science fiction
and horror, might tap or even embody the discomfort bound
up in this cinematic hybrid, that is, in the 3-D experience
that seemingly linked seeing and feeling. We might find in
the creature-a figure that scientists set out to capture,
only to find that it tries to capture them-a commentary on
this technique's problematic character.
Peter Biskind has pigeonholed The Creature from the Black
Lagoon as typical of what he terms "centrist films"
of the 1950s, works that are essentially conservative warnings
about "nature run amuck" (107)-here rendered a bit
more vividly and dramatically through 3- D. And there is much
reason to this view, since, as Erich Kuersten points out,
"conservation was entering public consciousness in a
big way" at the time with the formation of the Keep America
Beautiful organization, the Water Pollution Control Act and
various other environmental initiatives (29). Set in the remote
reaches of the Amazon, in an area that time has seemingly
forgotten, Creature tells a story of modern scientists
who intrude into a natural world, respond to it with violence
as they try to take back part of it for study and/or exploitation,
and in turn suffer the consequences of their actions.
Yet a further dimension of that environmental narrative,
one that explores why we respond to nature in such problematic
ways, gets overlooked from this vantage. As David Skal offers,
many of "the shudders" found in these films "come
from the implied question of humanity's ultimate place in
the ecosystem, where we are already entangled with a complex
web of insects, microbes, and other 'insignificant' life forms,
of which, science tells us, we may be just another passing
example" (192). Thus Creature makes its greatest
visual capital, that on which 3-D depends, by emphasizing
the threatening side of a realm that has not evolved like
the rest of our world and thus poses a challenge to it. While
the "gill man" that is discovered in this environ
is categorized as an evolutionary "dead end," it
is nonetheless disturbing to modern humans who seek to understand
their own past, to assert their position as evolution's ultimate
achievement, and to identify themselves as the knowers-and
thus, after a fashion, as the controllers-of that evolutionary
mechanism. The film's focus, consequently, is just as much
on mankind's own threatened situation, particularly problematic
in an era when we were faced with possible extinction through
our technological prowess, with, in effect, being possessed
by our atomic technology. Of course, Creature-and
no less the two sequels that would appear in short order-does
emphasize our own dangerous nature, our tendency to intrude,
to interfere, and to attempt to profit from the natural world,
particularly through the scientist Mark Williams, who is pointedly
concerned with how much foundation money he can attract by
discovering an evolutionary missing link. In the process the
film reveals another conservative dimension at work, as it
explores the consequences of our crossing forbidden borders
(implicating our newfound atomic capacity for rendering our
own species extinct), of trying to see into areas we were
not meant to probe, or seeing in ways we traditionally had
not-all elements in which we can see Creature's narrative
trajectory and its 3-D techniques intersecting.
Creature begins to establish that intersection in
its opening sequence, as it uses 3-D effects to visualize
evolutionary theory. A smoky backdrop of the heavens initially
obliterates any real depth cues, while a voice-over describes
the evolutionary development of life on Earth, culminating
with a "big bang" that sends rocks and debris hurtling
toward the camera. A series of dissolves and tracking shots
follows, as the narrator describes the development of life
"of infinite variety" in Earth's seas and, through
the mobile camera that follows tracks leading from water's
edge to land, suggests that the record of that "variety"
of life is "written on the land" in the fossil record.
A dissolve leads to another tracking shot through a jungle
encampment to a riverbank, which moves in for a close-up of
a fossilized clawing hand, protruding from the bordering rock
and reaching directly towards the camera, toward the audience.
The flying debris, repeated tracking shots and reaching hand
capitalize on 3-D's depth illusion in generally expected ways,
while also suggesting that the ensuing narrative may be about
depth as well, what the world around us might yet reveal,
and particularly about the implications for modern life of
what our probings might still discover-the implications of
that reaching hand.
The subsequent introduction of the central figures, the Ichthyologist
David Reed and his assistant Kay Lawrence, develops both the
opening theme and the narrative's implicit concern with depth.
For we meet them on the Brazilian coast with Mark Williams'
expedition, as David practices scuba diving, "getting
used to the changing pressure" of the deep, as Kay explains,
and an underwater shot underscores her point by showing David
slowly ascending along a line to the surface marked with depth
indicators. Here and back in their lab, the film further plays
off of that depth experience, lets us get "used to"
it as well, by shooting through the water and through an aquarium
tank in the latter scene's foreground, to place us in that
same alien environment, while taking advantage of the water's
near-transparency to create the impression that fish are swimming
all around and towards us. By concluding this sequence with
a jarring cut back to the opening archeological site in Brazil,
the film reminds us of the menace implicit in that other depth
experience, as a live version of the creature's hand surfaces
from the water and the creature then attacks the natives attending
to the camp. For much of this final scene, as was at times
the case in Arnold's previous 3-D feature It Came from
Outer Space, we share the creature's point of view, particularly
as the Indians in turn look in terror directly at the camera
and the creature's claws reach out to make contact with them,
grabbing each by the face and killing him. Here and elsewhere,
the thrill of seeing in depth leads to a disturbing contact
with that threedimensional world, or rather, its very dangerous
contact with our world.
The subsequent expedition to the archeological site sketches
the larger terms of this dramatized tele-contact, as the expedition's
boat, the Rita, makes its way first to Professor Carl Maia's
base camp and then into a dark Amazonian backwater, the aptly
termed "Black Lagoon." In the first part of the
trip, the overhanging vines and branches of the jungle fully
exploit the 3-D effect as the Rita glides through the water;
and a series of looks of outward regard from David and Kay
and their accompanying subjective views, particularly of vines,
broken limbs and obstacles protruding from the water, stretching
towards the camera, as if inviting our touch, further to lure
us into the depth illusion. At the end of this passage, though,
lies the grisly evidence of the dangerous contact awaiting
them, as they discover the bodies of Carl's Indian workers.
The journey's second part involves going into the Black Lagoon,
as Lucas, the boat's captain, carefully steers it through
various obstacles and finally between two large outcroppings
into what Kay terms "another world." The repeated
tracking shots, marked by protruding obstacles, again emphasize
the tele-contact impulse at work here, while also adding a
further forbidding note, as Lucas points out that the Lagoon
was rumored to be "a paradise," but that, like the
dead Indians, "no one has ever come back to prove it."
emphasis that follows from this entry into the Lagoon is,
fittingly, on the near and pointedly disconcerting contacts
that the scientists experience in this other world, one judged
to be "unchanged since the Devonian period." As
soon as they arrive, Mark and David don scuba gear and explore
the Lagoon's depths, surveying the area, collecting rock samples,
and nearly encountering the Creature, whose claw again reaches
out as they pass, fails to make contact, but once more projects
towards the camera, recalling the fossil seen earlier. When
Kay decides to go for a swim, the Creature moves closer, mimics
her motions just beneath the water's surface, and, when she
begins to tread water, reaches for and touches her foot, momentarily
giving her a start at what might be within these depths. Following
her back to the boat and again reaching for her, the Creature
runs afoul of the Rita's net and is nearly brought to the
surface before it rips the net and escapes. This sequence
of increasingly close encounters or near contacts ends with
the net being hoisted into the air to display a gaping hole,
one that serves not only as a sign of the dangers of these
depths and of a disconcerting contact with its denizens, but
also as a mark of the real disturbance here: something unaccounted
for, a possible hole in the very fabric of reality for these
scientists who can only ask, in wonder, "What was it?"
The answer to that question surfaces in the subsequent debate
between Mark and David about how to deal with this phenomenon,
as well as the play of capture and escape that the rest of
the narrative describes. For Mark, who is focused on the money
and fame that a key find might bring, the creature is something
to make contact with, in fact, to bring back at all costs;
"Dead or alive, what's the difference?" he offers,
as David likens him to a "big game hunter." In contrast,
David simply wants to find evidence of the creature, to see
it, preferably at a properly scientific distance. Fittingly,
he cautions Mark in a way that draws the lines between observation
and contact, between older and newer perspectives: "We're
out for photographs for study, not trophies." And the
tools each takes into the depths of the lagoon underscore
this distinction, as David carries an underwater camera, while
Mark bears a spear gun, a weapon repeatedly pointed towards
the camera during the dive, thereby gaining the maximum dimensional
effect from the device, while also, and perhaps ironically,
placing the viewers precisely in the position of greatest
jeopardy. By all visual evidence, this contact, this movement
into the depths of another world, seems a more dangerous than
the more subtle sort of danger involved here has to do with
what the creature represents, with another version of the
hole these hunters find in their net. Thus Mark argues for
capturing or killing the creature on the basis of science
itself and how it customarily deals with such gaps. As he
tells his companions, "They won't believe it back home,
none of them," without the creature itself as proof,
precisely because the scientific world deals "with known
quantities, with knowledge we've accumulated up to now,"
while the creature represents something unaccounted for, a
hole in human knowledge. It is an argument that wins out,
particularly when Lucas, the Rita's captain, suggests a sort
of compromise, the use of rotenone, a native drug, an element
of this world that might allow them to capture the creature
without killing it, that is, to make contact and study the
That approach is figured on the basis of the creature being
much like a fish or even a primitive reptile throwback, something
epistemologically unthreatening. Yet what quickly becomes
clear is that this figure is a fish of another sort, in many
ways a mirror image of man, a link to another history. It
embodies another possible evolutionary path, and one not as
easily dealt with as those fish the scientists kill or stun
with rotenone. The film develops this possibility through
a series of pointed links between the gill man and humans,
such as when David describes how "it appeared to be human,"
when Lucas recounts a legend about "a man who lives underwater,"
and when Kay, as she swims through the waters of the lagoon,
evokes an explicitly human response from the creature, which
seems sexually attracted to her and subsequently repeatedly
pursues her.4 The cumulative effect of these incidents is
to suggest another sort of depth here, one that cannot be
so easily measured and a contact that finally might not be
desirable. For the creature's response to the group develops
in parallel to their own, as he kills off the expedition members
one by one, tries to capture Kay-thereby replacing her fiancee
David-and then tries to ensnare them all by closing off the
lagoon, filling its mouth with tree limbs like those we initially
saw projecting three-dimensionally from the river banks, seemingly
inviting contact as the Rita had edged its way into this other
world. In effect, much like 3-D, it turns that experience
of depth back upon the scientists, as they experience the
potential for that missing link to reach them, as it does
when it kidnaps Kay and kills Mark and Lucas' crew.
resolution to this round of parallel contacts and efforts
at entrapment is fittingly played out in another sort of inversion.
For after the gill man captures Kay and takes her down into
the depths of the lagoon, it surfaces in a hidden grotto that
opens onto the beach; the movement into its secret depths
ultimately leads back to the surface world. There David, Carl,
and Lucas find it, shoot it, and rescue Kay, as the final
shot shows the creature sinking down into the dark depths
of the lagoon, apparently dead at last and the contact between
these two worlds definitively shut off. But that visual mapping
out of the way in which the surface and water worlds intersect
through an underwater hole in the rocks-a connection previously
played out for us when David and Mark had chased the creature
over this same route-seems the more telling part of this narrative's
conclusion. For it brings these two worlds into contact, affirms
the link between the humans and the gill man-a link that would
eventually provide the plot for the sequel The Creature
Walks Among Us (1956) and underscores the dangers of
crossing the various boundaries that have been dramatized
here, boundaries based on the Earth's evolution, on physical
barriers, and on biology.
And as I have suggested, they are also boundaries that attend
the sort of contact implicated in 3-D's illusion of depth.
For the very hallmarks of the technique, at least as it was
employed in its 1950s heyday-here, seen in such effects as
firing spears towards the camera, emphasizing the branches
and vines that dangle towards the camera and tease at contact,
or placing the camera in the position of a character like
Kay as the gill man attacks her-offer more than simple visual
frissons. They pointedly work to violate our space, only to
then leave us sensing something amiss, something unaccounted
for, as if there were a hole in our world and our experience.
For in appropriating a representational or symbolic space,
that of the film narrative, and offering it to us as a tactile,
lived (or livable) space, those effects engage us in a risky
game. They hold the potential for draining the depth from
our own world, suggesting a level on which it too might be
little more than representational.5
Here is the larger implication of Virilio's analysis of contemporary
culture's increasing "cinematization," and the link
between his critique and the problem of contact foregrounded
by 3-D technology. He observes a subtle fallout from postmodern
culture's increasing emphasis on tele-contact: a general distortion
of our traditional sense of space, and particularly "the
decay of visible markers, the loss of sensible referents"
(140)-the creation of holes or gaps in our experience of the
world. Narratively, that "loss" is here figured
in an alternative evolutionary history, that is, in gaps in
the Earth's and mankind's history. As those gaps surface and
become insistent, they trouble our own position as evolution's
seemingly ultimate product, suggesting that we are but one
more instance ofthat "infinite variety" of life
conjured up in the primordial soup, and an instance that might
yet have to struggle for survival and supremacy with other
creatures potentially more powerful than us. Technologically,
it suggests the unsatisfying nature of the 3-D effect, what
Wheeler Winston Dixon terms its "central problem,"
that "once the 3-D illusion is intellectually surrounded
... we realize we are not 'at risk' at all" (91). The
many reaching hands here, whether the creature's or our own,
make no real contact, and while that empty relationship might
produce a brief thrill, it also generates a sense of disorientation,
as if we too were lost in the very "lost dimension"
that Virilio cites.
Creature from the Black Lagoon did spawn several
sequels, Revenge of the Creature (1955) and The
Creature Walks Among Us, only the first of these was
shot in 3-D and it was not released in that format. Yet both,
after a fashion, continued the story of the two disturbing
hybrid creatures discussed here, of the gill man and of 3-D.
For each film further explores not simply, as Biskind would
say, "nature run amuck," but rather the menace implicit
in breaking down the boundaries between different worlds,
different realities, even different modes of perception simply
because our modern technologies let us do it. We might well
be able to re-engineer nature, to give a gill-man lungs and
have him "walk among us," as the last of the series
offers, and to have those images seem to extend into our world.
But in so doing, we also risk the consequences of opening
onto that cinematic reality, the risk not of gaining a sense
of dimension but of losing it or punching holes in it by,
as Virilio theorizes, making our world and our selves seem
less substantial, as if both were little more than a "phase
or reflection" of light. It is a fate, of course, that
we have continued to tempt, as we have explored other ways
of reproducing our world's depth: rendering everything digitally,
constructing virtual worlds and situations, making our world
and our very lives seem ever more cinematic. Walking among
those shadowy images and breathing their atmosphere somehow
seem like desirable goals today, yet they are precisely the
ones against which, in a subtle and technical way, The
Creature from the Black Lagoon and some of its 3-D brethren,
in the best horror and science fiction tradition, once provided
us a most graphic early warning.
- Over the years the story of Bwana Devil's success
seems to have become rather exaggerated. As Michael Kerbel
notes, the bottom line for this admittedly cheaply done
production was somewhat less spectacular than rumored. It
brought in a $2.7 million gross on a $300,000 production
cost, ranking it behind twenty-five other domestic releases
in earnings for 1953. \see Kerbel, p. 14.
- In his study of the changing movie box office, John Izod
argues the Hollywood studios "were so keen to exploit
the system" of 3-D that "they killed it by sacrificing
plot, character and quality to cheap screenplays that arbitrarily
contrived a succession of excuses for hurling objects at
the audience" (140).
- As examples we might note the Disney EPCOT attraction,
Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, a filmed presentation
that draws on the popular Honey, I Shrunk the Kids
films, the Disney-MGM Studios show, Muppets 3-D,
a development of the Muppets television series, and the
Disney Animal Kingdom's It's Tough to be a Bug,
which was developed from the studio's animated film A
Bug 's Life. Universal's best-known attraction in this
vein is the James Cameron-created combination of live action
and 3-D film, Terminator 3-D.
- Several commentators have noted the erotic dimension
the narrative develops between the creature and Kay Lawrence.
In a broader discussion of sexuality in science fiction
films, David Thomson, for example, describes how the creature
"has the look of a surreal phallus as it rears up toward
the swimming spread-eagle of actress Julie Adams on top
of the water" (60). While the swimming scenes were,
in fact, done by a stand-in, Ginger Stanley, Adams herself
has recognized the erotic power of this and similar scenes
in the film; as she aptly notes in a recent interview, "the
white bathing suit became famous" (Michalski 71).
- For parts of this discussion I am indebted to Anthony
Vidler's account of the "production and reproduction
of space" in contemporary architecture, and especially
the sense of "anxiety" that derives from certain
constructions of space (12).
- Altman, Rick. Film/Genre. London: BFI Publishing,
- Biskind, Peter. Seeing is Believing: How Hollywood
Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties. New
York: Pantheon Books, 1983.
- Dixon, Wheeler Winston. It Looks at You: The Returned
Gaze of Cinema. Albany: State U of New York P, 1995.
- Izod, John. Hollywood and the Box Office, 1895-1986.
New York: Columbia UP, 1988.
- Kerbel, Michael. "3-D or not 3-D."
Film Comment 16.6 (1980): 11- 20.
- Kuersten, Erich. "Between the Jungle and the
Stars: The Creature Trilogy." Scarlet Street 46
(2002): 28-31, 40-42,46-48, 52-53, 56, 72-74.
- Kuhn, Annette. "History of the Cinema,"
in The Cinema Book. Ed. Pam Cook. New York: Pantheon
Books, 1985. 2-49.
- Michalski, Michael. ""Bathing Beauty and
the Beast: Julie Adams Interviewed." Scarlet Street
46 (2002): 32-34, 70-71.
- Skal, David J. Screams of Reason: Mad Science and
Modern Culture. New York: Norton, 1998.
- Thomson, David. "Sex in Science Fiction Films:
Romance or Engineering?" Omni's Screen Flights/Screen
Fantasies: The Future According to Science Fiction Cinema.
Ed. Danny Peary. Garden City: Doubleday, 1984. 56-66.
- Vidler, Anthony. Warped Space: Art, Architecture,
and Anxiety in Modern Culture. Cambridge: MIT Press,
- Virilio, Paul. The Lost Dimension. Trans. Daniel
Moshenberg. New York: Semiotext(e), 1991.
- Copyright University of Texas at Brownsville Fall 2004.
Is Used to Bring Businesses to Polk County Florida
by Kyle Kennedy - The
Ledger, Lakeland, Florida
latest thing showcasing Polk's business community doesn't
look like it belongs in an office or boardroom. In fact, you
probably last saw one stuffed in a toy box. But Fisher-Price's
classic 3-D View-Master® is the centerpiece of a marketing
campaign headed by county economic development and tourism
"The idea is to have new businesses take a look at Polk
in an unconventional way," said Tom Patton, executive
director of the Central Florida Development Council. "It's
to have them gain an awareness of who Polk County is and let
them know that we want to recruit their next project,"
About 4,700 View-Masters have been sent to companies in five
industries targeted by the CFDC: Food processing, electronics,
medical, business and professional services and manufacturers
of home construction products.
Each toy comes with two reels of 3-D slides that feature
local meeting and convention sites, as well as Fortune 500
companies that have facilities here (e.g. Publix Super Markets,
State Farm Insurance).
Patton hopes that recipients will like what they see, and
consider Polk as a place to expand their business or host
company functions. Something like the View-Master® helps
to distinguish Polk and keep the attention of busy executives,
"These guys don't make decisions every day" on
where to expand or hold meetings, Patton said. "We have
to be in their face, let them know we want them."
Early stages of the marketing campaign featured economic
fact sheets and postcards of Polk executives swimming, fishing
and playing golf. Altogether, the effort has cost about $70,000,
Patton said, with roughly $47,000 of that spent on View-Masters.
Patton said the response has been good so far. A handful of
companies have expressed interest in doing business here,
Fisher-Price spokeswoman Dana Marciniak said the toymaker
gets regular orders from businesses that want to use View-Master®
for new product promotions and contests. The 66-year-old gadget,
encased in signature red plastic, is surprisingly quite effective
as a marketing device, she said.
"You get all that material and envelopes in the mail,
but no one is going to resist looking at a View-Master®,"
Mark Jackson, director of Polk County Tourism and Sports
Marketing, said the View-Master® has special appeal for
those who grew up with the toy.
"A lot of people from that era are in decision-making
positions now," he said. "There's a bit of nostalgia
built in there."
Patton said he used the View-Master® for a promotion
years ago, when he was an advertising manager for John Deere®.
Before that, he had one during his boyhood. "You know
what the slides were? Cypress Gardens," he said. "I
loved it. I guess it must have carried with me for a long
Decision Theater ushers in new age of public policy
new age is dawning on public policy, one based on advanced
scientifically informed decision making, with the May 23,
2005, opening of the Decision Theater at Arizona State University.
The Decision Theater is an advanced visualization environment
that will enable policy makers and others to literally see,
in detailed, three-dimensional representation, the consequences
of their actions. It will feature a 260-degree “immersive
environment” where researchers will be able to view
the effects of public policy decisions played out before them.
“The Decision Theater is an exciting new concept that
melds science with public policy in a novel way, which we
expect will have a huge impact in a number of socially important
areas,” says ASU President Michael Crow. “The
Decision Theater will provide informed analysis based on scientific
evidence to key public policy experts, who then can use that
analysis on which to discuss issues and provide a basis for
sound policy decisions.”
a tool designed to aid the public, the Decision Theater will
focus on real-world issues relevant to today’s society.
Using computer models and computer visualization techniques,
the Decision Theater will enable researchers to test the outcomes
of decisions made on such topics as urban growth and water
usage, and the effects of policy decisions on public health
and on a myriad of environmental and social challenges.
“We are connecting science to the community with this
new facility,” says Decision Theater Executive Director
Rick Shangraw. “The Decision Theater will be an important
resource for policy makers by providing interactive forums
to identify and assess probable outcomes of real-world decisions,
review the potential impacts of varying policy decisions,
and provide visualizations of alternative scenarios and scientific
analyses produced by complex and integrated computer models.”
The Decision Theater will be used in several targeted research
- Enabling policy makers, business leaders and government
officials to explore the outcomes of possible scenarios
of urban development, such as water availability, urban
heating, land-use patterns, transportation networks, air
quality and homeland security.
- As a forum where decision makers and scientists meet
to discuss and explore integrated environmental, economic
and social challenges to arrive at optimal decisions through
the use of models and dialogue.
- In simulation games, or “what if” scenarios,
to model and visualize otherwise unimaginable outcomes of
the many factors that affect our society and possible “breaking
points” of our critical infrastructure. For example,
ASU researchers will be able to simulate metropolitan Phoenix
in the year 2040, when it is expected to include a population
of 7 million people, by inputting the known and expected
growth patterns and associated demands for water and other
Decision Theater will be a key tool to be used by researchers
who are part of the Decision Center for a Desert City, a recently
funded $6.9 million National Science Foundation center at
ASU. Decision Theater is located in the Brickyard complex
in downtown Tempe.
the core of Decision Theater is the “drum,” a
theater area for up to 20 people, a significant advance in
three-dimensional immersive environments, which are usually
limited in the number of participants. In the Decision Theater,
groups of people can experience the simulations in the drum
and then use the analysis toward more informed decision making.
The Decision Theater employs seven digital-image projectors
to beam stereo images onto seven high-definition screens to
achieve the 260-degree image surround. Hardware design and
system set up is provided by Fakespace Systems Inc. of Marshalltown,
Iowa , a leader in virtual reality and immersive environments.
“ASU will have one of the highest-performing and most
state-of-the-art virtual reality systems in existence today,”
says Chris Clover, president and chief executive officer of
Fakespace Systems Inc. “The ASU system will have the
largest number of stereoscopic imaging channels, with advanced
high-resolution and high-brightness projectors with more than
10 million pixels (seven channels at 1400x1050 resolution
and more than 7,000 lumens of brightness each) to be installed
and integrated in the virtual reality field.
“What also makes the ASU system unique is its use of
advanced PCI Express video graphics technology from NVIDIA
Inc., into a seven-node PC cluster. This will be one of the
earliest systems to make use of this technology, especially
in a multichannel virtual reality system. Fakespace is proud
to be a key partner in deploying this system.”
Anshuman Razdan, director of research and technology at the
Decision Theater, says a key capability of the facility is
its ability to incorporate and integrate complex multidimensional
data from a variety of sources, such as numeric and spatial
data, into models and simulations for display in an immersive
“With this data fusion, we can take data from different
sources, which oftentimes are gathered and presented in specific
and varying ways, and integrate them to provide a complete
picture of the scenario we are monitoring or simulating,”
Initial funding for the Decision Theater came from Ira A.
Fulton ($3 million) and ASU ($3 million). Shangraw says they
are looking into additional individual and corporate sponsors
for the facility with the overall goal for it to become self-sufficient
in a couple of years.
Decision Theater researchers already have begun one project
with the East Valley Water Forum, a regional cooperative of
city planning managers in the eastern suburbs of Phoenix.
This group is developing data-driven scenarios for ground
water policy issues under a variety of drought scenarios.
These scenarios will allow decision makers to investigate
options and potential impacts of coordinated water management
plans. Their work will assist them in reaching informed planning
decisions as the eastern portion of Maricopa County continues
its explosive growth.
Shangraw says officials at Decision Theater also are in discussions
with federal agencies on additional uses.
“This powerful tool will be an important element to
any public policy researcher or agency that needs to project
the impact of their decisions into the future,” Shangraw
says. “The Decision Theater will help those people understand
the full extent of their policy decisions and help provide
scientifically based informed analysis that has never been
available before in this type of forum.”