3D movies can be a special treat for anyone who loves special effects. The selection of 3D movies available on DVD and Blu-ray is very limited, because a 3D movie has to be filmed using special 3D cameras and techniques. Many people who view 3D movies are dissatisfied with the quality. Ghosting, loss of colors, strange flashes of color, and other anomalies are frequent complaints. Here is how to configure your television for the best 3D effects.
3D movies available for home viewing are currently limited to either anaglyph 3D technology or LCD shutter 3D technology. This article covers anaglyph 3D technology, which requires the use of special colored lens glasses in order to view the 3D effects. It focuses on issues with LCD and plasma HDTVs, although you can apply the techniques to other display technologies if you are experiencing problems.
You will probably experience the best 3D effects with a properly configured HDTV. Older televisions may work, but your options for configuring a special viewing mode for 3D movies are limited. Bringing out the 3D effects while limiting the negative effects of anaglyph technology can be difficult and you may have to experiment. The point is that an optimal screen configuration for viewing movies and television programs is not an optimal configuration for viewing 3D movies using anaglyph technology.
There are two major issues associated with viewing movies using anaglyph technology. The first is the loss of color. That issue cannot be overcome because you are viewing a movie through special glasses with two differently colored lenses. The colored lenses filter out most of the screen colors, so you may have to get used to viewing 3D movies in what is essentially black and white with some colors.
The second issue is ghosting. Ghosting is the most distracting aspect of anaglyph 3D movie technology. Anaglyph technology uses two offset images to produce the 3D effects. The closer objects will have a greater offset (greater distance between images) in order to simulate our stereoscopic vision. One image is intended for left-eye viewing and the other for right-eye viewing. So you are basically dealing with two images on the screen. Ghosting occurs when you can see both images on the screen while using anaglyph glasses. This issue can be overcome, or at least minimized to the point of being almost unnoticeable.
In order to cure a ghosting problem you will need to configure a separate display mode for viewing 3D movies. Most HDTVs have separate display modes that can be switched. Sony display modes typically include Standard, Cinema, Custom and Vivid. The names for the display modes for different brands may be different. Standard and cinema are most commonly used for viewing standard movies. 3D anaglyph technology requires brighter colors and a slightly higher contrast in order to minimize ghosting. While you may think this would make the problem worse, it has the has the opposite effect because brighter colors are a better match for the colored filters in the anaglyph glasses.
Each display mode is configurable, so read your television’s manual to determine how to change the settings. You may have to experiment to obtain the best effect.
When changing configurations, make sure that the room lighting is the way it would normally be when you are watching movies. In other words, if you view movies in the evening in a semi-dark room, do not configure the television during the middle of the day when the room may be very bright. In general, a semi-dark room using normal room lighting will work the best for viewing 3D anaglyph movies on an LCD or plasma television.
There are three settings that need to be altered. The picture (contrast), brightness and color saturation settings all need to be increased to levels higher than a normal viewing mode. If your HDTV includes a configuration for the backlight brightness, you may want to increase that, as well. Be aware that if you increase the settings too much, you will lose the details in your 3D movies and they will begin to look like cartoons.
If your HDTV has a Vivid display mode, the configuration may already be pretty close to optimal for viewing with anaglyph glasses, because this mode normally uses higher settings for picture (contrast), backlight brightness, brightness, color and sharpness. Try that mode first. if you are not having a ghosting problem, then your task is completed.
If you are still having a ghosting problem, then try the following configuration changes until the problem is resolved. One setting can effect another, so you should write down the normal settings before you make changes.
First, increase the Brightness. If your LCD television has a Backlight setting, increase that, as well.
You will have to read your manual to find out which configuration improves the contrast. For most HDTVs, this is called the Picture setting. This needs to be increased. In Vivid mode on my HDTV, this is set to Max, which is the highest contrast setting.
The Color setting increases the color saturation (intensity). This means that reds become redder, blues bluer, etc. Increase this until ghosting disappears.
The trick for configuring optimal settings for your 3D anaglyph movies is to find the right combination of settings that produces the best results for your home theater.