Glasses-Free 3D Classes Down the Metropolitan Opera

The biggest attention grabber at the Met's upcoming production of "Siegfried" won't be some Nordic diva. It's going to be the advanced 3D projections on a 45-ton set that will create an intricate forest scene. Better still: audiences own't have to dawn those geeky glasses:

For its visual sleight of hand, the 3-D technology being deployed at the Met will also interact with the movement of the set. The set uses a bank of projectors, motion-capture cameras and computers to fashion the images. The tilt on the stage allows for hundreds of different projections, changing in slivers of a second, at the different depths to help create, say, the color, shading and contour of a rock, or at least to convince the eye.

The imagery is rendered in realistic detail using fractals: fractured geometric shapes that keep iterating reduced-size copies of themselves according to mathematical formulas. When the fractals are programmed into the computerized light system, the result is a dense symphony of geometric detail, giving the illusion of three dimensions.

Exciting that they can do this! Whether they should, though, depends on just how how big a headache those fake rocks give you by the second act. [NY Times]