Lenny Lipton

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Leonard "Lenny" Lipton (born May 18, 1940 in Brooklyn, New York) is an author, filmmaker and stereoscopic vision system inventor.

Lipton wrote the lyrics to the song "Puff the Magic Dragon" as a 19-year-old at Cornell University, where he majored in physics. The song was a hit in 1963 for Peter, Paul and Mary. Two of Lipton's books, The Super 8 Book (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books. 1975) and Independent Film Making (San Francisco: Straight Arrow Books, 1972) have become known as classics in the world of independent filmmaking.[1]

Lipton is also a prolific filmmaker, having independently produced 25 films, including Far Out, Star Route and Children of the Golden West. Lipton has been granted twenty-five patents in the area of stereoscopic displays.

He has written many articles and four books, three of which were published by Simon & Schuster, including Independent Filmmaking, which was the standard text on the subject for twenty years. In 1982 Van Nostrand Reinhold published his book, Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema, which provides a wide ranging analysis of many stereoscopic topics. The book's primary focus is the stereoscopic cinema, however the book's many background sections are equally relevant to the many different types of stereoscopic display devices available today. This book provides a wealth of information for both the novice and also those already active in the field of stereoscopic imaging.

He has also been a contributor to national magazines such as Popular Photography and American Cinematographer. He is a member of The Society for Information Display, is a Fellow of the SPIE and the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and a former chairman of the SMPTE working group that established standards for the projection of stereoscopic theatrical films.


Lipton independently produced twenty-five short films between 1965 and 1975, all of which are in the collection of the Pacific Film Archive of the University of California. His films have been shown on PBS, Italian Television, and the BBC.

In his role as a filmmaker, on two occasions, he was a representative of the U.S. Department of State to countries in Latin America.


He founded StereoGraphics Corporation in 1980, and created the electronic stereoscopic display industry. He is the most prolific inventor in the field and has been granted twenty-five patents in the area of stereoscopic displays. In 1996 he received an award from the Smithsonian Institution for this invention of CrystalEyes LCD shutter glasses, the first practical electronic stereoscopic product for computer graphics and video applications. StereoGraphics was acquired by Real D Cinema in 2005.

Lipton served as Chief technical officer of RealD through 2008 and has 31 patents in the field of stereoscopy and another 40 pending applications. The RealD 3D system now showing in theaters uses technology he invented. It is based on the push-pull electro-optical modulator called the ZScreen. More recently, he left RealD to start a new venture, Oculus3D, that has developed a low-cost 3D theatrical format that works with the installed base of 35mm movie projectors.

He has lived in California since 1965, and now makes his home in Los Angeles with his wife, three children and pets.

Film work[edit]

Title Year Duration 16mm S8mm
Adirondack Holiday 1975 17 min x
Below the Fruited Plain 1966 9 min x
Children of the Golden West 1975 59 min x
Cornucopia 1968 8 min x
Doggie Diner and The Return of Doggie Diner 1969 7 min x
Dogs of the Forest 1972 5 min x
The Dunes of Truro 1966 7 min x
Far Out, Star Route 1971 64 min x
Father's Day 1975 9 min x
Happy Birthday Lenny 1965 8 min x
Hilltop Nursery 1975 24 min x
Ineluctable Modality of the Visible 1966 9 min x
The Last March 1970 11 min x
Let a Thousand Parks Bloom 1969 27 min x
Life on Earth 1972 58 min x
LP 1969 33 min x
Memories of an Unborn Baby 1966 4 min x
My Life, My Times 1955–1970 11 min x
Nadine's Song 1975 12 min x
People 1969 3 min x
Powerman 1966 5 min x
Revelation of the Foundation 1975 68 min x
Show and Tell 1968 24 min x
The Story of a Man (Going Down in Flames) 1975 11 min x
We Shall March Again 1965 8 min x


  1. US patent 7808708, "Aperture correction for lenticular screens" 
  2. US patent 7804995, "Stereoscopic format converter" 
  3. US patent 7775387, "Eyewear receptacle" 
  4. US patent 7760429, "Multiple mode display device" 
  5. US patent 7760157, "Enhanced ZScreen modulator techniques" 
  6. US patent 7679641, "Vertical surround parallax correction" 
  7. US patent 7671889, "Autostereoscopic pixel arrangement techniques" 
  8. US patent 7670004, "Dual ZScreen.RTM. projection" 
  9. US patent 7633666, "ZScreen.RTM. modulator with wire grid polarizer for stereoscopic projection" 
  10. US patent 7616228, "Hardware based interdigitation" 
  11. US patent 7616227, "Hardware based interdigitation" 
  12. US patent 7583437, "Projection screen with virtual compound curvature" 
  13. US patent 7524053, "3-D eyewear" 
  14. US patent 7517081, "Low-cost circular polarizing eyewear" 
  15. US patent 7508589, "Soft aperture correction for lenticular screens" 
  16. US patent 7502003, "Method for eliminating pi-cell artifacts" 
  17. US patent 7477206, "Enhanced ZScreen modulator techniques" 
  18. US patent 7375886, "Method and apparatus for optimizing the viewing distance of a lenticular stereogram" 
  19. US patent 7184002, "Above-and-below stereoscopic format with signifier" 
  20. US patent 7099080, "Autostereoscopic lenticular screen" 
  21. US patent 7088515, "Autostereoscopic lens sheet with planar areas" 
  22. US patent 7002618, "Plano-stereoscopic DVD movie" 
  23. US patent 6985296, "Neutralizing device for autostereoscopic lens sheet" 
  24. US patent 6975345, "Polarizing modulator for an electronic stereoscopic display" 
  25. US patent 6850210, "Parallax panoramagram having improved depth and sharpness" 
  26. US patent 6519088, "Method and apparatus for maximizing the viewing zone of a lenticular stereogram" 
  27. US patent 6388797, "Electrostereoscopic eyewear" 
  28. US patent 6366281, "Synthetic panoramagram" 
  29. US patent 5757546, "Electronic stereoscopic viewer" 
  30. US patent 5686975, "Polarel panel for stereoscopic displays" 
  31. US patent 5572250, "Universal electronic stereoscopic display" 
  32. US patent 5481321, "Stereoscopic motion picture projection system" 
  33. US patent 5463428, "Wireless active eyewear for stereoscopic applications" 
  34. US patent 5416510, "Camera controller for stereoscopic video system" 
  35. US patent 5327269, "Fast switching 270.degree. twisted nematic liquid crystal device and eyewear incorporating the device" 
  36. US patent 5239372, "Stereoscopic video projection system" 
  37. US patent 5193000, "Multiplexing technique for stereoscopic video system" 
  38. US patent 5181133, "Drive method for twisted nematic liquid crystal shutters for stereoscopic and other applications" 
  39. US patent 5142357, "Stereoscopic video camera with image sensors having variable effective position" 
  40. US patent 5117302, "High dynamic range electro-optical shutter for steroscopic and other applications" 
  41. US patent 5063441, "Stereoscopic video cameras with image sensors having variable effective position" 
  42. US patent 4967268, "Liquid crystal shutter system for stereoscopic and other applications" 
  43. US patent 4884876, "Achromatic liquid crystal shutter for stereoscopic and other applications" 
  44. US patent 4583117, "Stereoscopic video camera" 
  45. US patent 4562463, "Stereoscopic television system with field storage for sequential display of right and left images" 
  46. US patent 4523226, "Stereoscopic television system" 
  47. US patent 4472037, "Additive color means for the calibration of stereoscopic projection" 
  48. US patent 4418993, "Stereoscopic zoom lens system for three-dimensional motion pictures and television" 

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Great Big Story (2016-04-19), How 'Puff The Magic Dragon' Came to Be, retrieved 2017-09-16 

External links[edit]