A silver screen, also known as a silver lenticular screen, is a type of projection screen that was popular in the early years of the motion picture industry and passed into popular usage as a metonym for the cinema industry. The term silver screen comes from the actual silver (or similarly reflective aluminium) content embedded in the material that made up the screen's highly reflective surface.
Actual metallic screens are coming back into use in projecting 3-D films.
Silver lenticular screens, while no longer employed as the standard for motion picture projection, have come back into use as they are ideally suited for modern polarized 3-D projection. The percentage of light reflected from a non-metallic (dielectric) surface varies strongly with the direction of polarization and the angle of incidence; this is not the case for an electric conductor such as a metal (as an illustration of this, sunlight reflected from a horizontal surface such as a reflective road surface or water is attenuated by polarized sunglasses relative to direct light; this is not the case if the light is reflected from a metallic surface). As many 3-D technologies in use today depend upon maintaining the polarisation of the images to be presented to each eye, the reflecting surface needs to be metallic rather than dielectric.
Additionally, the nature of polarized 3-D projection requires the use of interposed filters, and the overall image is consequently less bright than if it were being normally projected. Silver lenticular screens help compensate by reflecting more light back than a "modern" screen would—the same purpose they originally served in the early days of motion pictures
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