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      The IMAX system was developed here in Montreal at the National Film Board (NFB). The first showings were at Expo 67 in Montreal, with Man and his Polar Regions and Labyrinth. The equipment was lent to Disney Studios, where it was used with little mention of NFB. The Dream is Alive, currently showing at Expotec in Montreal, filmed mainly by the astronauts in three flights in 1984, suggests that the technology was developed in the United States. The relationship between the two countries is nicely encapsulated in the image in that movie of the Challenger shuttle waving the Canadarm. We should be more aware that this is a Canadian contribution to film. It was invented here and is being developed by an all-Canadian company - the IMAX Corporation based in Toronto.

      More emphasis should also be placed on the NFB contribution. Through IMAX, the NFB goes to the general public which finances it. It is a public organization yet the public rarely gets to see their products. Though everyone pays for them, only the elite who go to film festivals get to see them. In 1989, the Year of the Film in Canada, the 50th birthday of the NFB, the 25th birthday of CinÈmatheque QuÈbËcoise, three-dimensional film could be viewed as a uniquely Canadian niche in the high-tech future of media. A 3-D niche is the best kind to have.

      The film industry is not the only one exploring three-dimensional imaging systems. A spate of recent papers suggest that perhaps 3-D will make its comeback on television rather than in film.3 When the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) relaxed their rules about the broadcasting of material which required the audience to wear special glasses in 1982, the rebroadcast of 50s 3-D films was incredibly successful.4 The nuoptic system, used for the 3-D halftime show at the Superbowl on 22 January 1989, allows those without glasses to view the show normally. This vitiates the argument that 3-D showings force people to acquire and wear weird glasses. 3-D technologies using lenticular screens, which do not require glasses at all, are evolving. 5 A 3-D version of the Camcorder, recently developed by Toshiba, should also increase public interest in 3-D video.

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