A three-dimensional stereoscopic film (also known as three-dimensional film, 3D film or S3D film) is a motion picture that
enhances the illusion of depth perception, hence adding a third dimension. The most common approach to the production of 3D films
is derived from stereoscopic photography. In it, a regular motion picture camera system is used to record the images as seen from
two perspectives (or computer-generated imagery generates the two perspectives in post-production), and special projection hardware
and/or eyewear are used to limit the visibility of each image in the pair to the viewer's left or right eye only. 3D films are not
limited to theatrical releases; television broadcasts and direct-to-video films have also incorporated similar methods, especially
since the advent of 3D television and Blu-ray 3D.
3D films have existed in some form since 1915, but had been largely relegated to a niche in the motion picture industry because of the costly hardware and processes required to produce and display a 3D film, and the lack of a standardized format for all segments of the entertainment business. Nonetheless, 3D films were prominently featured in the 1950s in American cinema, and later experienced a worldwide resurgence in the 1980s and 1990s driven by IMAX high-end theaters and Disney themed-venues. 3D films became more and more successful throughout the 2000s, culminating in the unprecedented success of 3D presentations of Avatar in December 2009 and January 2010.