News > Crazy little thing called 3D: Queen guitarist Brian May plans to put Freddie Mercury in a new dimension

Added on 16-Jun-2011

Ever since boyhood, I have been quietly fanatical about 3D photography.

So I can't quite believe the technical progress that's been made over the past few years to bring us to where we are now — a moment so exciting I have to pinch myself to believe it's arrived.

For the first time, 3D could actually become more than the passing fad it has been since first becoming popular in the Fifties and make the leap into everyday life.

Our cinemas are full of 3D films and our electrical stores are packed with 3D TVs, which people are buying in serious numbers.

We are at the tipping point.

I've been obsessed with 3D photographs since a cardboard viewer with coloured lenses fell out of my Weetabix packet when I was eight, in the mid-Fifties. I loved the new world it opened up.

I learned to take stereoscope pictures — a basic form of 3D — with a camera I bought from Woolworths for 12-and-a-half pence.

You lined up the first picture with your left eye, then the next one with your right.

Once the pictures were developed, you put them next to each other and when you looked through a stereoscopic viewer, there was a 3D image leaping out in front of you!

All through the Queen years, I was passionate about 3D, meeting specialist dealers as we toured the world.

Childhood fascination: 'I have loved 3D photography since i was a boy'

Childhood fascination: 'I have loved 3D photography since i was a boy'

By then, I'd trained my eyes to 'free view', the same focusing technique you need to see Magic Eye images.

So I could rummage through photographs and instantly pick out the stereographs I wanted.

A lot of people don't realise, but 3D photography has been around since 1838. I soon became an avid collector of one of its hugely-talented 19th-century pioneers, T.R. Williams.

Two years ago, I co-wrote the words for a book of his beautiful stereographs, A Village Lost And Found, something I'm almost as proud of as everything we achieved with Queen.

But Williams is part of 3D's past. It's future, I'm convinced, lies with film-makers, such as James Cameron (Avatar), Lee Unkrich (Toy Story 3) and Robert Zemeckis (Polar Express).

I vividly remember going to see Avatar and being blown away by the 3D effects. It was something I'd been waiting for my entire life.

I've interviewed these guys for a Sky documentary I've been making about the history of 3D and they're so excited about its potential.

We've had 3D films before, of course, with short-lived fads in the Fifties and Eighties, but this time I'm convinced the 3D effect is simply too good to throw away.

Last year, I was one of the 140,000 people in this country (double the market's expectations) who bought a 3D TV — the LG passive system — and it's a great bit of kit.

Of course, there's only one channel to watch, Sky 3D, but I'm loving the sport, films and wildlife documentaries. They're exquisite and the photography is stunning.

But I confess I do still have doubts about 3D TV.

Not that it will give people headaches or be poorly executed — those days are long gone.

No, my doubts are about the way we watch television. The days when you sat in a darkened room watching in respectful silence are over.

These days, people multi-task while they watch TV — chatting, tapping at their computer, reading a newspaper. You can't do any of that if you're wearing 3D glasses.

But I'm convinced, given the current rate of technical progress, 3D TVs that don't require special glasses are not too far away.

One of my regrets is not having 3D footage of Queen live, in all our glorious, theatrical pomp. That really would have been a spectacle.

But thanks to that boyhood passion of mine, there are some really good 3D stills of the band.

My next project is to make a book of these, to be sold with my special Owl stereoscopic viewer attached.

Freddie in 3D... now, that's going to be quite a sight.

• Brian May's Brief History Of 3D will be shown on Sky 3D on July 7.

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Submitted by: mickyparise

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