Category Archives: Gear

Wearable Wireless 3D Body Motion Tracking

Funny, I was just thinking of a crazy consumer product where something like this could be put to use (but not saying what that is!):

The world’s first wearable wireless 3D body motion tracking system based on consumer-grade MEMS combo sensors will be on display at Electronica 2012 in Munich, Germany.

via Wearable Wireless 3D Body Motion Tracking | News | Product Design & Development.

At the bottom – huge growth is predicted in the market for “wearable wireless devices in sports and healthcare”.

Some odd tips for shooting #3D stills or video

I have learned all of these the hard way!

The following tips apply to shooting 3D using two cameras.

Got back from vacation 2 weeks ago and discovered that the time settings in my 2 cameras were not the same – making pairing up the video clips a little harder than I wished.

  1. Set the time and date in both cameras to the same settings! Makes it easy during edit to find matching images or video clips between the two cameras.
  2. Simpler cameras with fewer gizmos, gadgets and options generally mean you are more likely to get your 3D shot. Complex cameras have a lot of settings. The main value to shooting 3D with an advanced and complex cameras, I have found, is that you have interchangeable lenses, and its quite possible to adjust zoom lenses “close enough” on both cameras when you can physically see the lens markings as you make your adjustments. But otherwise, 3D likes wide angle and two simple cameras with nice wide angle lenses would be great for 3D.
  3. When taking still photos, you can use the auto-focus, but I recommend you use the pre-focus feature of your camera, if you have it. Most dSLRs will pre-focus the shot if you depress the shutter button part way but not all the way down. Wait for the pre-focus to complete, and then press both shutter buttons simultaneously. This can really help the two cameras fire almost simultaneously.
  4. The experts say to shoot everything in manual mode. That’s how I have been doing it, but on a modern dSLR there are a zillion manual settings that can get turned on accidentally, like programmed shooting modes, custom white balance settings, exposure override, a switch between 720p and 1080p and many more. I ran into this problem today! My thought is that for general hobby shooting, use the full AUTO mode on both cameras.
  5. Output to JPEG image files, not RAW. I shot about 60 3D photos today in RAW mode. Oops. Now I have to convert them all to JPEG before I can do the 3D processing! RAW is nice as it gives a far greater dynamic range – use it where you need it, but if you are shooting 3D, shooting RAW adds a lot of extra work steps.
  6. 3D is complicated enough – keep it simple. (I say after recently shooting 3D video with two shot gun mics, audio mixer, wide angle lens adapters …)
  7. Avoid shooting images that have railings or other items covering up part of the image. For example, the fence railings on th4e image below mess with the eyes. I encountered a similar problem with high school students behind a protective wire mesh used to shield them from some robots they were controlling. The wire mesh ruined the 3D imagery.
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Macro Mondays? Time to ramp up close up 3D photography

Yesterday, on a whim, I shot some 3D close ups using my Canon SX1 IS macro wide angle lens feature. One of the examples I posted yesterday, and repeat again in this blog post.

It occurred to me that we do not, exactly, see good 3D with our binocular vision on extremely close up subjects. In fact, when looking at things really close, it may be easier to shut one eye and focus only with the one eye.

Our eyes are too far apart to see good 3D on very tiny objects at very close range. But a camera can take images just millimeters apart, creating beautiful 3D rendering.

Perhaps we should start a new online meme of “#3DMacroMondays” or similar! If you use Google+ and follow any photographers, you know what I mean – there are days for landscapes, portraits and what not.

I know that I am going to start shooting a lot more 3D close ups. Its easy to carry a single camera while hiking and there are plenty of miniature subjects to choose from!

If you do not have a macro capable lens, you could always pick up some inexpensive extension tubes. For example, here are some micro-four-thirds macro extension tubes – I plan to eventually get these for my m43 camera: Macro Extension Tube Set for Micro Four Thirds Cameras

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Why We’re Switching From Macs « Rocket Jump

FreddieW explains Why We’re Switching From Macs « Rocket Jump.

I reached the same conclusion as FreddieW.

After more than a decade of working on Mac, from the PowerPC to the quad core Mac Pro desktop, I have mostly switched to a quad core Windows 7 machine.

The lack of real AVCHD support in FCP7, the FCP7 to FCP X mess, no 3D video support, the disappearing Firewire ports on new hardware, and Apple’s constant push to nearly force upgrades every 2 – 3 years – and the final blow with Mac OS X 10.8 being crippled so that it will not run on 3 of my Macs, Apple has dampened our enthusiasm.

My main reason to keep a contemporary Mac is for iOS development and to access legacy projects. Other than that, most of my work is now on Windows. Sony Vegas, Magix Movie Edit Pro, Adobe Premiere are all excellent video editors that run on Windows.

Clever way to program a DSLR – by putting the code outside the camera

Inexpensive dongle interfaces between iPhone and certain Olympus and Panasonic DSLR cameras. A software app on the iPhone adds new features including time lapse, motion detection, high dynamic range controls, and other capabilities.

Does it work? E-M5 iPhone controller… | 43 Rumors.

Which camera company will be first to offer their own software development kit for a camera?

3D-Con Announced in Costa Mesa 25-30 July

Wish I could go:

The 38th National Stereoscopic Association Convention “3D-CON” is planned for July 25-30, 2012 in Costa Mesa, California, USA. Come immerse yourself in some spectacular 3D stereo over six action-packed days! This is the place to find cutting-edge stereo theatre, informative workshops, a stereoscopic art exhibition, image competitions, room hopping, a 3D auction, a large trade fair and a technical exhibit of new equipment and displays.

via 3D-Con Announced in Costa Mesa 25-30 July.

“ePhotozine Panasonic 3D lens review. Is the 3D hype over?”

43 Rumors | Blog | ePhotozine Panasonic 3D lens review. Is the 3D hype over?.

I just bought one of these 3D lenses for $50 and so far, I have not quite figured what it might be good for. I thought with the close lens spacing, and a simple trick to use it with video (put tape over the electrical contacts), that it would be useful for close in 3D shots due to the narrow interaxial spacing.

However, since the lens works by creating two side by side images on the 1080p video (a common 3D standard), the video images cannot be correctly stretched in my editor to produce the right aspect ratio.

Normally, we take two full size images 1920×1080, combine those into a single 3D representation, and (for Youtube) output in the side-by-side format. In the side-by-side format, the 3D is represented with a squished left image on the left and a squished right image on the right. These are then stretched to present a full size (albeit, lower resolution) 3D image at 1080 pixels wide.

The problem is that using the Lumix 3D lens, we start with an image of about 960×1080 and that is the correct proportions for the image. My editor can edit proper side-by-side, but it has no idea what to do with the non-squished side-by-side images. For now, it stretches the 960×1080 back to 1920×1080 and yes, this makes everyone look really fat!

For now, I have not yet found a solution to put this lens to work on close in subjects for 3D video. But I will keep trying!