Tag Archives: American Civil War

World’s First 4K 3D Civil War Battle videos

I realized last night that the 4K 3D videos I posted on Youtube are the world’s first ever Civil War era battle re-enactments posted online in 4K 3D format. Kind of cool.

The videos were created using dual Lumix GH-2 cameras, each shooting a 1920×1080/30p video stream.

These were edited and mastered in Sony Vegas Pro and output as full width side by side videos – meaning 3840 pixels wide by 1080 high.

This is then uploaded to Youtube with several “tags” set to tell Youtube how to encode the video properly. When viewed on Youtube, two new viewing resolutions appear: 1440 HD and 2160 4K. Even if you only have a typical 2K monitor, either of the higher resolutions looks much, much cleaner in 3D!

ImportantThis remains experimental! I can only view the videos in correct format using Firefox. Chrome tells me I do not have HTML5 compliant hardware. I could play all but one video on an LG 3D TV using the LG Youtube app. However, when I played the videos on the same TV using a Sony BluRay player’s Youtube app, the videos have the wrong aspect ratio (3840×1080 instead of 1920×1080). A separate video I mastered as 3840×2160 side-by-side 3D did better, but means I have to double the file size (data rate) to get the same image quality.

We can argue about whether or not paired 2K streams are really 4K video. In one sense, they are half vertical resolution 4K. But when 4K is used to stream 3D, we end up with half size images on the left and right anyway. The effect is therefore the same in terms of what gets delivered.

Additionally, Digital IMAX theaters, as of now, are thought of as 4K theaters but they use dual 2K projectors (they will be upgrading the theaters eventually). Digital IMAX provides a more immersive and louder sound experience, but the Digital IMAX screens are just a little bigger than regular movie screens – and not like the 70 to 90 foot tall original IMAX screens.

In other words, dual paired 2K streams used for 4K 3D end up being roughly equivalent to having been shot in 4K on both cameras due to how the 3D left/right pair has to split the 4K image anyway.

Video: Pvt. Hugh McLaughlin (1835-1906)

A mini documentary I produced today. Was invited to record an honorary ceremony and headstone dedication for Pvt. Hugh McLaughlin (b.1835-d.1906). He was buried in Greenwood Memorial Terrace in 1906 but his grave was unmarked and his Civil War service was unknown. Local Civil War history enthusiasts, re-enactors, and others took part in a graveside ceremony to honor Hugh McLaughlin. In attendance were a granddaughter, great granddaughter, great great granddaughter and other extended family members. Photographed using a Canon XH A1 and AT-835b shotgun directional mic. I also shot some 3D any may edit that at a later date.

Local news story on the ceremony is here and background on how the grave was discovered and the many people who researched the genealogy, the history and worked to obtain a new headstone.

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The 3D rig I used for a Civil War Battle Re-enactment 3D video

I used two Lumix GH-2 DSLRs to shoot 3D video. In this configuration, the lens centers are spaced about 6 inches apart which means that primary subjects need to be at least 15 feet and preferably 20 feet away from the camera to avoid 3D eye strain (convergence going bonkers).

The cameras are screwed into a rail made of aluminum using 1/4-20 knobs picked up at a local hardware store. Audio is recorded using two shot gun mics (bought off EBay, and yes, one has a homemade wind muff) and feeding into a factory refurbished Beachtek audio mixer which connects to one of the cameras. The shot gun mics make a HUGE difference in audio quality. Unfortunately, for the first battle I had left my XLR mic cables in my car so recorded the good audio only on the 2nd battle.

The six inch lens spacing is okay for outdoor landscapes and events where the subject is typically 20+ feet away. But experimenting with the Kodak Playsport cameras that I picked up used, I find the 3″ lens spacing produces a much more pleasing 3D effect. Probably not a big surprise, after all, what’s the spacing between your eyes? Probably not six inches!

But the GH-2 does have some nice features – like being able to align the zooms on the two cameras pretty easily (and good enough). Plus for video, the 14-42mm stock lens provides multiple focal lengths. Not only the 14-42mm range, but also the “Extended Telephoto” mode that crops the 1080 field out of the full image sensor, roughly doubling the focal length at 1080p.

Time permitting, I hope to produce a tutorial on shooting 3D with ordinary consumer cameras. From what I have seen, consumer oriented 3D “all in one” cameras do not deliver the video quality that interest me. While its a little more work, two consumer cameras can deliver surprisingly good 3D results, and results that are clearly better than the “all in one” approach. Plus, I can use external mics which most low end cameras do not support.

In theory, we are supposed to time synch the two cameras for precise frame alignment. But for most activities and viewing on the computer monitor or even the HDTV, frame level synchronization while editing seems plenty adequate. I am not shooting for the local movie theater or IMAX screen!

How do I synch the two cameras? I just snap my fingers to put a pulse on the audio tracks (or in the case of the Civil War battle, musket fire works quite nicely too). Then in the 3D editing software, I use the audio track pulses to align the video segments.

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Civil War Battle Re-enactment video in 3D – Battle of Deep Creek

This is a ten minute teaser – perhaps a lot more to come! – of the Washington Civil War Association’s Civil War era history, camp and battles at Deep Creek Farms, Medical Lake/Spokane, WA. This video includes scenes from two battles combined into one, plus some camp scenes. I have about an hour and a half (times 2!) of 3D video to use in eventually putting more short videos together from this event.

Need to click on the link since the embedded Youtube video player does not yet handle 3D.


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