3-D films have come a long way since Creature from the Black Lagoon, thanks in large part to technical innovations like the new virtual camera pictured here. The device is basically a monitor that translates motion-capture data into computer rendering in real time. (Imagine watching an actor playing a scene against a green screen--at the same time, the monitor shows a CGI doppelganger imitating her movements exactly.)
But that's not all the virtual camera does. Motion-capture cameras ringing the soundstage track its position and use that data to compute a realistic virtual image displayed on the monitor. The game controller-style joysticks and buttons allow the camera operator to change perspective within the virtual 3-D space; move the camera down and tilt it up and the monitor displays a CGI character from below, just as if you were pointing a real camera at a real actor.
The camera is currently being used to shoot James Cameron's Avatar and Peter Jackson's Tintin.