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Entertainment in various dimensions

For years, movie enthusiasts have put on 3D glasses for what has been known by many as the ultimate cinema experience. However, all that is about to change as Dayline Addis Fun Zone is poised to usher in a new age in cinema viewing—the 9D action cinema. However, as much as there are enthusiasts of the whole third dimension experience, critics say that the negative sides are being ignored, writes Samuel Getachew.

This afternoon, a new cinema in Bole will inaugurate one of the latest technologies in the world – 9D - to exciting movie goers that are increasingly being exposed to western technological advancements. This in a nation that is yet become fully familiarized to the 3D (three dimensional stereoscopic films) technology, after Edna Mall introduced it almost a decade ago debuting the Hollywood blockbuster Avatar.

This made Edna Mall the first cinema in the country to do so.

That was seen as a pioneering venture to capture the dwindling movie goers and earn interest a segment of society that was increasingly having options the way it was being entertained. The 3D experience was seen as a unique experience that has viewers wear a VR glasses, giving them a rare, intimate experience.

An attractive entertainment with “360° rotation function, immersive glasses, breakthrough VR entertainment content platform” – Edna Mall advertised then, in 2010, as people lined up for hours to enter their premise at a premium price. Long in the memories were the old movies that did not come with the new modern experience.

A three-dimensional stereoscopic 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.

While many people embraced 3D movies in the capital, replacing the status quo, what was and still missing in the narrative that these technologies have health risks. “I come to experience 3D, and that is the reason I come to the cinema in the first place,” an adolescent girl who refused to give her name told The Reporter. “You know, I can easily download the latest movie from my lap top

For Hewan Tadesse, a 20 something waiter at one of the boutique hotels, on a free weeknight, the experience of 3D is wonderful yet the health risk is still unknown to her. “If it has health risks, why it is still being experienced around the world,” she asked. “Shouldn’t less people choose it instead of the other way?”

“People think everything has health risks these days, we are becoming too protective to enjoy life,” she protested.

There has been less interest of 3D in the world, but not in Ethiopia. In North American for instance, audiences are choosing not to watch 3D movies fearing the negatives that is associated with it. While the science is still an open debate, the rumors are leading the success of the now older technology.

The New Daily newspaper in the United States recently reported how “side effects symptoms of acute motion sickness and nausea and oculomotor (moving eye) disorientation, especially in susceptible women” and gave examples of how Samsung officially warns the vulnerable segment of society such as those who are pregnant women, the old, young children and those with medical conditions to avoid the 3D experience.

At Edna Mall, where the cinema occupies several floors, last night, customers were still choosing 3D movies, turning back when told the next 3D movie will not be shown until this morning. That is to be a Hollywood cartoon.

“Come tomorrow morning”, an attendant tells a couple holding hands. “We will be showing a cartoon 3D movie.” “Do you think we should go to Alem Mall or where are they showing 3D movies,” the woman asked, looking disappointed as if 3D movie is the absolute necessity of watching a movie in the capital.

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 It would be almost a century until it was introduced in the Addis Ababa.

The other form of entertainment is the 4D experience. Effects simulated in a 4D film may include rain, wind, temperature changes, strobe lights, and vibration. Seats in 4D venues may vibrate or move a few centimeters during the presentations. Other common chair effects include air jets, water sprays, and leg and back ticklers. Hall effects may include smoke, rain, lightning, air bubbles, and smell.

Now Addis Ababans are set to experience a new technology – 9D – but the health risk is still an open question. Those who are for the whole experience says that the main reason is to make the customer be intimate with the movie that is being shown, including feel the accidents, the emotion and the happenings closer to the viewer than ever before.

A cashier confirmed to The Reporter, the reason they are showing the 3D movies at the cinema is so young families with children and expectant mothers can fully enjoy the experience. This are the same group that are staying put of this impasse technology, it seemed the message has not yet reached them in Addis Ababa.