In the past year Nintendo UK and the British Film Institute (BFI) have been working together on 3D film content, promoting not only 3DS but film-making in a broader sense. A number of collaborations have taken place, most notably a contest where a winning film-maker could produce a 3D video that was premiered at the 56th BFI London Film Festival.

The latest project is perhaps one of the most interesting yet, as two of the very first 3D films from the 1950s are going to be available for free via Nintendo Video in the UK and Europe. These will be A Solid Explanation, released in 1951 and showing footage from London Zoo, and Eye On The Ball, a short film from 1952 that explains the rules of various ball games. Not only will these videos give a glimpse of a past time, but they represent some of the earliest uses of 3D, which were shown at a special venue in London at the time.

A Solid Explanation will be available on Nintendo Video from today until 17th April, and Eye on the Ball will be on the app from 24th April to 8th May. The press release below has additional details.

Available to view for free via Nintendo Video, these films have been preserved in the BFI National Archive since they were first screened in the early 1950s. After being restored to their former glory they offer a fascinating glimpse into some of the earliest steps into the world of 3D cinema, from over 60 years ago.

A Solid Explanation was produced especially for the Festival of Britain in 1951, and gave many attendees their first exposure to the new medium. Presented by the mirthful Desmond Walter-Ellis, it used footage of London Zoo’s exotic animals to introduce the audience to “the theory of stereoscopic transmission.” Sports documentary Eye On The Ball, meanwhile, used the 3D format to demonstrate the rules of a number of popular ball games. Transporting viewers back to the long shorts and knee high socks of the 1952 football league and the gentlemen’s googlies of a classic English cricket match, Eye On The Ball is a nostalgic adventure in time travel in 3D.

‘The BFI commissioned the first ever programme of British 3D short films in 1951 to promote innovative advances in film production. Shown at a futuristic cinema on the Southbank – the Telekinema, the forerunner of today’s BFI Southbank venue, the screenings were an enormous hit. Audiences queued around the block to don special Polarizing glasses and experience the stereoscopic sensation. Now, 60 years later, these films are about to astonish a new generation, viewing them on Nintendo 3DS. The incredible thing is that no glasses are needed.’ Jan Faull, BFI Archive Production Curator

Shelly Pearce, Director of Marketing and PR commented "We are proud to be working with the BFI to launch such historical 3D content via SpotPass on Nintendo 3DS and bring two unique films to a new audience. Make sure you keep checking Nintendo Video on your Nintendo 3DS for regularly updated content for you to enjoy."