Tag Archives: Stereoscopy

The opportunity for 3D is much larger than 3D movies and pictures

With our interest in 3D photography and video, we can get stuck on thinking 3D is just

English: A 3-D solid model of a jack inside a ...
English: A 3-D solid model of a jack inside a cube. Modeled and ray traced using Cobalt. Animation is 120 frames at 25 fps. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

about photography or movies.

But the future of 3D is vastly larger. As 3D monitors and 3D TVs become wide spread – which is likely a few years out yet – consider the impact this could have on line shopping. And especially when glasses-free displays are common on computers, tablets, phones and HDTVs and the use of 3D is no longer a gimmick but the ordinary.

No longer would we expect to look at a little photo on the web site when choosing a product. Instead, we will likely look at a large 3D view or 3D model that we can rotate and examine, almost as if it were in our hands.

True 3D is also coming. Think “Holodeck” at a small scale. I know people working on this type of technology and for now, the goal is desktop sized “Holodeck” perspectives that enable engineers to design parts in their CAD system and then create a view – not just a mapping of 3D to a 2D display (like the image that accompanies this article) – but a volumetric display which you can walk around and see from all sides.

Add in 3D scanning technology – its available off the shelf today from Microsoft and its called Kinect. Use future 3D scanners to capture information about parts and components or the layout of a kitchen that is to be re-modeled. Or to capture a 3D model of yourself to then use in a virtual clothes fitting exercise where 3D modeled clothes are mapped to your body and checked for size, before you purchase online. So much for retail show rooms? And of course, this can all tie in to 3D printing. Or deliver a 3D virtual world to use from our remotely controlled 3D-seeing robot.

Even traditional 3D imaging can provide us with new perspectives. I enjoy shooting macro 3D – which is close ups of small objects in 3D. Because they are so small we have to get our face so close to the subject that we lose 3D depth perspective. But our camera can capture 3D depth at close range and enlarge it for our viewing.

Similarly, what about slow motion 3D? While we are used to seeing 2D slow motion in sports, 3D slow motion may reveal new insights. And then, what about slow motion macro 3D? Now we may be able to see things that we miss entirely today because we cannot see depth at close range, and definitely not in slow motion.

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Online 3D Photo Web Sites

The following web sites are more than just Flickr – they provide online 3D editing tools. You typically upload two images, a side by side 3D image or an MPO file – and then make alignment and other changes “in the cloud”. Once done, your finished 3D image can be stored in your online photo gallery and viewed in multiple formats, as selected by the viewer – such as side by side cross eyed views or anaglyph.

  • Phereo.com
  • Dualfoto.com
  • 3dMedia.com (uses offline composition software, web site does not display photos on my NVidia GPU – because I do not have a stereo monitor)
  • This list is to be continued …
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Fujifilm W3, Lumix 3D1 and Toshiba Z100 3D cameras all appear to be “discontinued” but…

In the last two weeks, many 3D cameras have been marked as discontinued or their price has been slashed, suggesting they are being discontinued, or their availability has been sharply curtailed.

It is likely that vendors are clearing out inventory the week before Christmas in anticipation of announcing new 3D cameras at the 2013 International Consumer Electronics Show during the 2nd week of January.

B&H Photo has marked the Fujifilm Finepix 3D W3 camera as “discontinued”; Walmart.com says the same thing. I own this camera and find it a lot of fun for shooting quick 3D stills. A lot easier than my dual camera setups!

Amazon has marked the dual lens, dual camera 3D Toshiba video camera down to $159.95; B&H was at $149.95Toshiba Camileo Z100 3D Digital Camcorder Camileo Z100

That is a remarkable price for a stereoscopic 3D video camera recording dual video channels (at 960×1080) – and amazingly, the Z100 includes an external mic input too. Main drawback is lack of image stabilization to control for shaky handheld shots.

The Panasonic Lumix 3D1, which was carried by Amazon itself until a few weeks ago, is now only carried by resellers: Panasonic digital cameras Lumix 3D shooting black DMC-3D1-K. And B&H Photo lists this camera as “discontinued”.

My guess: We will see many new 3D cameras at the 2013 CES!

I plan to be at CES and will be filing reports on cameras, especially micro-four thirds systems, 3D photo and video cameras, and tablet computing devices. Some of my camera items will appear here and at least one other web site. More info as we get closer to CES!

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Fujifilm 3D W3, Lumix 3D1, Toshiba Z100, Sony Bloggie 3D specifications

A comparison of inexpensive, consumer level 3D cameras in terms of the specifications that matter for 3D photography and video. There are other cameras besides these but these are affordable and available from many vendors. Another day I will look in to specifications of higher end cameras, such as the Sony TD10/TD20 3D video cameras.

Update: Since posting this item it appears that most of these cameras are in the process of being discontinued and you can find some great half price deals right now. It is likely that new 3D cameras will be introduced in a few weeks at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show.

Fujifilm W3 Lumix 3D1 Toshiba Camileo Z100
Stereobase 6.5 cm 3.0 cm 3.0 cm
Focal length 35-105mm 35mm equivalent 25-100mm 35mm equivalent Fixed lens, 4x digital zoom in 3D, 35mm equivalent unknown
Stills 2x 10.0 MP Sensor3D Resolution
7.2 MP in 16:9 ratio
8.9 MP in 3:2 ratio
10.0 MP in 4:3 ratio

Stills recorded in full size side by side MPO format

2x 12 MP Sensor3D Resolution
6 MP @ 16:9
8 MP @ 4:3

Stills recorded as full size
Side-by-Side MPO files

2x 5 MP sensor3D Resolution
4 MP @ 16:9
(2D 5M 2592 x 1944, and an “interpolated” 16 MP 4608×3456)

Stills recorded in  full side-by-side JPEG

Video Video
1280×720/24p
MP4 encoding3D HD Resolution
two separate video streams recorded as 1280×720/24p for left
1280×720/24p for rightEncoding
AVCHD or MJPEG
3D-AVI format
Video
1,920×1,080/30F
in either AVCHD or MP4. Sensor is progressive but video is encoded as 1080i – end result is basically the same as 30p.
1280×720/30p
1280×720/60pEncoding
AVCHD or MP43D Resolution
960 x 1080 for left
960 x 1080 for right
Video
1920×1080/30p
720/60p
MP4 encoding,3D file format is one half side-by-side formatmeaning 960×1080 for each halfFeatures external mic input plug
LCD Glasses free 3D 2D only Glasses free 3D
Image stabilization No, CCD imager Yes, CMOS imager No, CMOS
Battery user replaceable user replaceable user replaceable

 

 

Sony Bloggie 3D
Stereobase 2.0 cm
Focal length 16:9 stills and video: 47mm (35mm camera equivalent)
4:3 41mm (35mm equivalent)
Stills 2x 5.15 MP sensor
(3.1 MP @ 16:9)
(5 MP S 4:3)3D
2 MP (1920x1080x)Encoded as full size MPO side by side images
Video 1080
720/60p
720/30p
3D: 1080/30p onlyEncoding
MP4Encoded in half size side-by-side 3D format for 960 x 1080 resolution per side
LCD Glasses free 3D
Image stabilization Yes, CMOS imager
Battery internal, not replaceable

An interesting observation – some of these cameras have 1920×1080 image sensors but actually cut the image in half when encoded into video. The reality is they are not 1920×1080 but 960 x 1080 x 2.

In addition, the frame rate offers additional temporal resolution.

Let’s compare the image quality in terms of actual resolution, as well as resolution in time by calculating a “mega pixels per minute” rate:

  • Fujifilm W3: 1280 x 720 x 2 x 24 fps = 44.2 MP/minute
  • Lumix 3D1: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
  • Toshiba Z100: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
  • Sony Bloggie 3D: 960 x 1080 x 2 x 30 fps = 62 MP / minute
  • Generic 1280 x 720 x 30 fps = 55 MP / minute
  • Generic 1280 x 720 x 60 fps = 110 MP / minute

Interestingly, depending on many factors, your highest image quality might come from 720 x 60 fps because it delivers more potential information to your eyes over time.

Shooting 3D with my two Kodak Playsport Zx3 cameras, I think the 720/60p dual camera view looks on par with the 1080p/30p view. But that is also because after editing and 3D processing, the output of a 1080p video often ends up as a 960x1080p side by side video (as needed, for example, to upload to Youtube).

Figuring out which is best can get complicated!

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3D isn’t awful – its the bad 3D that’s awful!

I went searching through Youtube this evening for 3D content and found plenty of it – and plenty of it was basically awful!

Badly misaligned left and right eye views, edge violations, poor quality 2D-to-3D conversions. Not the sort of quality that will encourage others to enjoy 3D.

It is good to see people trying to do 3D – but it will take time for new enthusiasts to learn how to shoot and process 3D correctly. As 3D hobbyists ourselves, we need to help teach others how to create good quality 3D.

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Felts Field, in #3D anaglyph

Two photos taken using dual Kodak Playsport Zx3 cameras with their tiny wide angle lens adapters. Not bad for a 5 MP camera – I bought two of them, used, for $75. The little wide angle adapter were practically given away by Kodak as they have left the digital capture business and I was lucky to rummage through their online store as the price went down to really low.

Both photos are red/cyan anaglyphs – you’ll need a pair of red/cyan glasses to view in 3D.

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[singlepic id=235 w=640 h=480 float=]

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