Movie theater hands out wrong 3D glasses

We attended a viewing of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, in RealD 3D.

The good news first: this movie makes excellent use of 3D and “theater space” placing not only moving objects, but occasionally actors, in front of the screen.  This is perhaps the best done 3D effects and usage we have seen in 3D movies recently. Well done!

Incredibly, the movie theater handed out green/magenta analglyph glasses rather than the polarized clear glasses used for RealD. I took this photo with my smart phone to prove they did this.


As a friend put it, this is both hilariously silly and stupid at the same time. Most of us (me included) had not removed the glasses from the plastic packaging until the start of the movie. Sitting through 35 minutes of 2D commercials and previews, I did not want to smudge the glasses with my fingers.

Why does a theater even stock green/magenta anaglyph glasses? This blows the mind.

It took about 10 minutes into the movie for one staff member to hand out proper RealD glasses in place of the anaglyph glasses. We got to watch the first 10 minutes as a very fuzzy experience.

This was not a particularly “regal” viewing experience (hint hint). Sadly, this sort of mistake may discourage patrons from viewing 3D movies, for which patrons pay a premium price yet receive poor customer service. (Neither the theater nor the national chain apologized for the mistake.)

Snapchat Spectacles support 3rd party prescription lenses

Snapchat’s Spectacles are dark glasses with integrated camera, for recording life’s activities. Interesting idea. Like most dark glasses, they are for those who do not need corrective lenses.

On the plus side, the lenses in Spectacles may be swapped out and replaced with corrective lenses prescribed by an optomerist. You then end up with prescription dark glasses integrated in to the Spectacles:

“To swap out Spectacles lenses for prescription lenses, consult a professional ABO-certified optician for guidance.

Please Note: Rx total power cannot exceed -5 diopter”

Source: Spectacles Support

Those who ordinarily wear corrective lenses typically buy snap on dark lenses that go over their existing corrective lenses. Or purchase a set of corrective dark lenses.

Snapchat Spectacles are targeted at a specific demographic (from the Snapchat web site):


Snapchat recognizes the need to support those wearing corrective lenses, including with in this demographic, by making it possible to use prescription lenses in their product.

Tech companies that miss these large market opportunities risk alienating customers by providing unsatisfactory viewing experiences, which may translate into negative online comments and general disinterest in their products. And that will not be good for profits! I will continue to explore this topic in future posts.

Related: Snapchat Spectacles are not water proof or water resistant which restricts their use cases for those living in wet climates such as the the U.S. Pacific Northwest.

Early VR headset methods to support those who need corrective lenses

“The oculus rift kits come with three sets of lenses-A, B and C. lens pair A is to be used by people who have excellent long sighted eyesight as the rift is focused at infinity. The pairs B and C are to be used by people having problems with near sightedness, though cannot be used by all, especially people with major vision complications.


Furthermore glasses can also be worn along with the oculus rift goggles, provided that the glasses are not huge.”

Desai, P.R., Desai, P.N., Ajmera, K.D., Mehta, K. (2014) A review paper on Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset. International Journal of Engineering Trends and Technology. Retrieved from:

The Homido VR Headset (version 1) included separate lens holders that adjusted the focal distance of the lenses. You can see how that works in this Youtube video review. The Homido features IPD adjustment as well. Homido has since introduce a version 2. The version 1 headset is available from Amazon (I have not tried it myself). The version 2 is said to be “not currently available” at Amazon, and Best Buy says one can only order it online, but if you try, Best Buy then says it is not available for online order – in other words, Version 2 seems not to be generally available.

Majority of Americans may not be able to use VR headsets

Most (nearly all?) virtual reality viewers available online can not be used by those who need to wear eyeglasses, which is a majority of Americans.

The Problem

  • VR viewers lack space on the face side to accommodate the wearing of eye glasses.
  • VR viewers lack diopter adjustments.
  • VR viewers lack inter pupil distance (IPD) adjustments.

Who Does This Impact?

75% of Americans use some form of corrective eye lenses, split as 64% wear glasses and 11% wear contact lenses (Source: Corrective Lenses Statistics – Statistic Brain).

Nearly 100% of those over the age of 45 require reading glasses for close in viewing – or using most any virtual reality viewer. Almost all viewers lack sufficient space to wear reading glasses when the viewer is on the face. Attempting to wear reading glasses with a VR viewer is extremely uncomfortable as the viewer pushes the glasses into their face.

Unlike camera viewfinders that include a diopter adjustment, VR viewers are almost all fixed focal lengths or have limited adjustments (possibly only for myopia but not presbyopia).

Most VR viewers (but not all) have a fixed inter pupil distance (the distance between the eyes is fixed even though people have different distances – think of how binoculars work to address that!).

Consequently, VR viewing is – for a majority of Americans – either impossible or painful.

A few of the higher end viewers have – during the past year – begun to address this problem either by enabling the wearing of glasses while using the viewer, or by adding a focus adjustment.

The focus adjustment, however, is not sufficient. Of the 75% who need vision correction, some have significantly different corrections between the left and right eye. All VR focus adjustments make the same adjustment for both eyes – meaning such individuals can only get a good focus in one eye.

Again, think of binoculars. Binoculars solved this problem decades ago by having a master focus ring that adjust both eye views simultaneously, plus a single diopter adjustment for one eye. The inter pupil distance is adjusted in binoculars by positioning each lens further apart. Through these adjustments, binoculars long ago provided solutions to the majority that need vision correction.

A reasonable guess is that the VR industry views its customers as young gamers and hired young people with excellent vision to design their products, but who are oblivious to real world customers.

If the VR industry does not address these design defects urgently, the future of VR is itself in doubt.

When a majority of potential customers are likely to have unsatisfactory experiences, they will not purchase VR products and content. They will not post positive comments in reviews and online forums.

Media pundits said 3D failed because people had to wear “3D goggles” (their term for 3D glasses). In reality, the problem was a lack of compelling 3D content for consumers to watch at home.

VR, which really does use “3D Goggles” (and helmets too), is headed down the same path to oblivion if it does not deliver VR viewers that can be worn and used by a majority of the population.

Web site new look – Guide to VR, 3D Photos and Video

Am launching a new user interface look to my web site on 3D photography and expanding to include virtual reality, VR 3D, VR 360 and may be augmented reality (AR) too!

My original focus was 3D. However, a couple of years ago, Youtube dropped their Flash-based 3D player and we no longer had a nice way to display our 3D photos or videos online.

Quite some time later, Youtube re-introduced a 3D feature but supporting only red/cyan anaglyph (colored filter glasses) for watching on the computer.

BUT – Youtube also introduced support for the Google Cardboard viewer. Google wanted to make virtual reality accessible to many people at low cost and their solution was to add a viewer that works with your existing smart phone. Apps on the smart phone measure the movement of your head and this is translated into a viewing angle into the virtual reality stream.

Conveniently, this tech also supports viewing 3D in full color. Whereas most people do not have a 3D Monitor or 3D TV, most do have a smart phone. And with a simple, inexpensive phone holder, they now have an easy way to watch full color 3D on their phones.

As a result, 3D is seeing a resurgence now on Youtube. Search for “VR 3D SBS” or “VR 3D SBS CARDBOARD” and you will begin seeing a lot of 3D content, with much of being watched tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of times. Clearly, there is a demand for 3D content.

Sadly, much of the Youtube 3D content is not very good. Let’s fix that by adding quality 3D content of our own!