Lenny Lipton

 Inventor, Author, Songwriter and Filmmaker


Recognized as the father of the electronic stereoscopic display industry, Lenny was the lead inventor of the current state-of-the-art technologies that enable today's theatrical filmmakers to project their feature films in 3D.  His work is also the basis for much of today’s 3D TV technology. He is a Fellow of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers and of the SPIE (International Society for Optics and Photonics). He has 53 patents granted with many others pending.


Lenny received the Society for Information Display Silver Display of the Year Award, on behalf of RealD, for his contributions to the digital stereoscopic cinema. In July of 2007 he was the physicist of the month in Physics World magazine. In 2011 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International 3D Society and he was profiled in The Wall Street Journal (illustration © WSJ). The year before was an invited speaker at the Cinémathèque Française.


After founding StereoGraphics Corporation in 1980 he led the team that invented the ZScreen electro-optical modulator, at the heart of today's 3D theatrical projection. During his tenure as Chief Technology Officer of RealD, which acquired StereoGraphics in 2005, Lenny helped perfect the projection system (based on the ZScreen) which is installed in 20,000 cinemas worldwide. After more than a century of effort 3D has become, a standard filmmaking tool.


Lenny received an award from the Smithsonian Institution for StereoGraphic’s invention of CrystalEyes, the first electronic eyewear for computer graphics and video applications such as molecular modeling, aerial mapping and medical imaging.  CrystalEyes remained in production for two decades and is the basis for current 3D TV viewing technology from Sony, Panasonic, Samsung, and others. NASA selected it to remotely pilot the Mars Rovers and it was used by Lockheed to design the upgrade for the Hubble Space Telescope.


He has independently produced 25 films that have aired on PBS, Italian television and the BBC, and are now in the Pacific Film Archive collection at the University of California. His film Let a Thousand Parks Bloom was selected for the Summer of Love exhibition at the Tate Liverpool Museum (2005) and the Whitney Museum of American Art (2007). In the 1970s he received a grant from the American Film Institute to produce his film Revelation of the Foundation. He has acted as cultural representative for the State Department on trips to Venezuela and Brazil and has been a juror at film festivals around the world.


Lenny created Puff the Magic Dragon, Jackie Paper, and the Land of Honalee, when as a college freshman in 1959 he wrote the poem which became the song made popular by Peter, Paul and Mary.  The childrens’ picture book of Puff has sold over a million copies and has been translated into fourteen languages.


His book, Independent Filmmaking, was in print for 20 years and he is the author of Foundations of the Stereoscopic Cinema, which remains the definitive book on the subject, wherein he enunciated the creative method of stereoscopic cinematography used by theatrical filmmakers and also the principal of binocular symmetries, the fundamental engineering theory for stereoscopic system design.


He has written articles for American CinematographerThe Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers Journal, and other industry-related publications, and was an editor at Popular Photography. During the chaos and adventure of 1960's American counterculture, Lenny was the film reviewer for the Berkeley Barb underground newspaper, hung out with Timothy Leary and Ken Kesey, and was a contributor to Paul Krassner's satirical magazine The Realist.


Lenny Lipton was born in Brooklyn, New York, and graduated from Cornell, where he majored in physics. He has lived in California since 1965, and makes his home in Los Angeles's Laurel Canyon with his wife, three children, two dogs, cat, fish, and ill-tempered bird.


     Lenny's News, Blog & Archives

     Lenny's Gallery of Paintings

     Lenny's Collection of Poems



Copyright © Lenny Lipton.  All rights reserved.¹


¹Nonexclusive Permission to reprint the above photograph of Lenny, or any text appearing on this page, is hereby granted for the sole purpose of reporting on Lenny Lipton or his work.