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.
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
Anyone who has shot video for a while eventually wants a way to create
smoother handheld shots. I do a lot of my shooting while on my feet and walking, just the type of activity for which “steadicam” (steadycam) units are built.
But do inexpensive camera stabilizers deliver real value?
I have not tested them but this guy has and he suggests they are not worth the money relative to the alternatives (yes, there are alternatives!):
For example, I use either my Manfrotto tripod and video head (about 8.5 pounds) or my monopod with a 3 or 4 pound weight at the bottom and get good results. I also have a home made setup with some pieces of pipe from the plumbing shop and a 2 1/2 or 5 pound weight at the bottom – this works best of all! For the monopod weight I use the athletic weight straps designed for walkers and runners. These “rollup” around the base of the monpod and are held in place with Velco linings. Available at any sporting goods store.
The trick is not so much the equipment but how you use it. First, you need a really wide angle lens. I use a c-mount 4mm lens on my GH-2, which works out to about a 21mm full frame equivalent lens. A lot of the really smooth walking scenes you see on TV or the Internet are often done with extreme wide angle lenses, such as a 16mm full frame equivalent. Wide angle lenses make the biggest difference and you are probably better off investing in a good wide angle lens than steady cam.
Heavier cameras also stabilized better than lighter ones. I get better results using my Canon XH A1 (about 5 pounds) than the little GH-2. But you will get physically tired, faster, with the heavier camera (I’ve carried the XH A1, on an 8.5 pound tripod, with a 3 pound weight, for several miles while shooting a parade. Do remember to do strength conditioning starting months in advance!)
Second, you need to learn how to walk, and this takes practice. Bend your knees, may be tilt slightly forward and hold your arms out slightly bent. Roll your feet as you walk (known as “roll stepping”). Walking backwards can be smoother than walking forwards.
Third, you can apply motion stabilization in your video editor. Most software now has good to very good stabilization algorithms. If you do this, use the minimum stabilization possible (too much and you end up cropping or re-sizing your original image and it ends up looking strange).
A good stabilizer, however, when properly used, is going to produce better results than the simple monopod or tripod with a weight. The question of you is, “What is your budget?” and “How often will you use it?”
Update: I have an idea for a simple add on to a monopod that may decouple many walking movements between the camera operator and the camera. I have some parts on order and will let you know how it turns out – if it runs out okay 🙂
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