(I had this idea in June 2011 and wrote this post in Oct 2011, but I decided to wait with publishing until my lovely colleague Sylvia could get the scoop and use it for a marketing action).
A 3D display lets you experience 3D images by letting your left eye see something different than your right eye (‘stereoscopy’). Most technologies for this (certainly the ones used in cinema) use special glasses. Active/passive, based on colours, polarisation, timing… It’s fascinating, but that’s not what I want to address here. What intrigues me, are less common usages: what if instead showing something different to eye1 (left) and eye2 (right), you show something different to person1 and person2?
Split screen gaming
This is what inspired me for this train of thought: in Feb 2011, Sony showed a gaming set-up where player 1 and 2 watch the same screen, but each see their own point-of-view. In this case, it was based on the angle of view: sit in the middle and you see both views at the same time and get a head-ache. I want to consider the 3D screens used with glasses (e.g. Dolby, RealD)
“LL” and “RR” glasses in the cinema
Let’s take two pairs of 3D glasses. Each of those has 2 different lenses (‘L’: lets through the left image; ‘R’: lets though the right image). Pop out the left lens of the first one and switch it with the right lens of the latter.You now have an LL-pair and an RR-pair. A person with an LL pair will only see the image destined for the left eye, and the RR pair will only let you see the ‘right-eye’ image. Now imagine a cinema theater with one LL group and one RR group of viewers. You can make them see different things on the same screen. What could you use this for?
- Split the audience: gender (men vs women), generation (kids vs adults), language (FR vs NL natives), random (A / B group testing)
- Differences: just the subtitles (different languages, different narrator, different level of humour); small image differences (censored/not censored, different logos, high contrast for visually impaired); completely different image (man vs woman point-of-view, two sides of a story), …
- “Boy meets girl” story, with a conversation between both. Simultaneously, the guys in the audience see the subtitles of what the boy is thinking, and the women see the girl’s thoughts. Or vice versa. She says “Wanna come up for some coffee?” (she thinks: “OMG, am I wearing matching underwear?” / he thinks “What? I just drank 3 liters of beer. This better be innuendo.“)
- “Kids vs parents“: a kids movie that’s also for parents, because they get more grown-up jokes (in subtitles or in image), while the kids get a couple of side stories or kiddie jokes, that are double funny, because the parents don’t get it.
- “Whodunit” story, with 1 half of the audience seeing only some clues, the other half seeing the rest, and they have to communicate to understand the plot, to know what the whole story is
- “Capture the flag“: see two teams fight for a certain prize, and the LL/RR group sees what team 1/2 sees. You could make both sympathize with ‘their’ team, and spark some fierce discussions afterwards while both try to understand the other side’s POV.
- “Concurrency“: make two completely different stories, that share the same sound track. Group RR might see one scene as funny because of what they saw before, and group LL might be baffled. “Dude, why you laughing? The guy just died!” “I know, but come on, he’s a zombie, right?“
- “Lost in translation“: take an indian or chinese movie (i.e. in a language your audience does not speak) and show group LL different subtitles than group RR. Make them see the same scenes, same people, but feel very different because of how they interpret what is being said. Remember the Buffalax’ed videos?
Secure laptop viewing
You want to work on your secret document in a public place? Put on the screen obfuscator on your 3D laptop screen, and only you, with the AA glasses, are able to see what’s happening on the screen. Someone without the glasses just sees a garbled mix of your actual screen and a random sequence of images, and the combination is impossible to make sense of.