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Feature: How To Watch 3D Movies On Your Smartphone

Cardboard v. Gear a.k.a. Organic v. Artificial.
Some people may think 3D filmmaking is just a fad, that it'll go away soon. Well let me tell you that stereoscopic (that's the proper technical name for 3D) films have been here as early as a hundred years ago, and according to Matthew Bristowe, "3D is not going away. It will continue to evolve and be part of the filmmaking process."

Apart from the cinema, you can also view 3D movies in your own home. I'm not even talking about 3D televisions that might be a bit too pricey especially to unemployed bums who have all the time and none of the money to enjoy home 3D. But there is a cheaper way. It'll still cost you, but not as much as maxing out your credit card to purchase a 3D TV. All you need are these things:
  1. A smart phone;
  2. An Internet connection
  3. A VR device
The smart phone will of course be your little TV, the device that will playback and display the 3D content. My phone's a Samsung Galaxy S7, although I'm not sure which other smartphone models are capable of viewing movies in stereo. That of course is the first requirement you need to check: if it's capable of playing stereoscopic videos, you're all set.

Stereo images look like this.
You'll be needing the Internet connection for two things. First, you'll need it to download a video player that can play stereoscopic videos. I use VLC for Android, which is available on the Google Play Store. Second, you need the Internet connection to download your movies.

Finally, you need a VR device. A low-end (but in no way inferior) device would be Google's Cardboard apparatus (literally made out of cardboard), while at the opposite end of the spectrum would be Samsung's Gear VR headset, which runs on Oculus. Yes, I know we're talking about 3D movies and not virtual reality films, but the essence of 3D is binocular vision, and the VR device is simply to split your vision into left and right inputs.

Awww, doesn't it look cute? Like Wall-E.

So which one is the better device for viewing 3D? Well, both have their pros and cons, which I have taken the liberty to list below.

See? Literally made out of cardboard.
  1. Easy to slip phone in and out
  2. Plays 60 fps (frames per second) videos
  3. Can be viewed while lying down
  4. Eliminates 3D window
  5. Plays movies from external storage
  1. Distorts aspect ratio
  2. Doesn't strap on head

Googly eyes not included.
  1. Preserves aspect ratio
  2. Includes several viewing backgrounds
  3. Straps on head
  1. Cannot play 60 fps videos
  2. Uncomfortable to wear
  3. Only accepts straight-jack earphones
  4. Can only be viewed in an upright position
  5. Preserves 3D window
  6. Only plays movies in internal storage

It's up to you, really, which device you'd think would suit your interests and your budget. The only thing you should remember is that when viewing 3D on your smartphone, the shared experience is lost. Which means you and you alone can view the movie, and no one else. In that regard, I think 3D TVs would still be the closest to a shared cinematic experience. And that these devices would be best suited for 3D porn home viewing. Kidding.

Cardboard retails at ~P999.00 while the Samsung Gear VR at ~P4,999.00.


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