STEREO video


There are many ways to shoot digital 3D video, some some simpler than others, but of course stereo is always more problematic than mono.


ESPN tried 3D broadcast beginning in 2010, but found that it was extremely difficult on many levels, and never found an audience. This custom side by side rig is bulky, but not as bulky as a beamsplitter rig...


Shown is a relatively compact beamsplitter (aka "image splitter) rig by the 3D Film Factory. One camera looks directly through a "half silver" mirror, the other is reflected from it (perfect 50/50 mirrors are quite expensive). The advantage is a wide choice of interaxial distances, all the way down to zero. This type of rig can produce polarizing artifacts, as the mirror polarizes light differently for each camera.


Side by side rigs are much easier to configure and maintain than beamsplitter rigs. The downside is that the minimum interaxial is limited to the width of the camera, which is usually well over the "normal" distance of our eyes (68mm/2.5").

DUAL LENS 3D Camcorder

STUDIO 3D is currently using this JVC camera, full 1920x1080 30p per eye, though the lenses should really be much wider than they are (42mm) especially with an interaxial distance of only 34mm (half of "normal"). Autostereo screen is a bonus.


STUDIO 3D did use a pair of SONY HDR-HC3 HDV camcorders, which allow interaxial spacing from appx 2.2 inches (with left camera inverted) to almost any distance apart. Cameras both upright yield a 3.5 inch interaxial distance. Cameras sync'd with a LANC controller.


We originally used a pair of Canon Elura mini-DV camcorders which allowed an interaxial spacing of 2.5 inches (normal eye spacing), which facilitated 3d preview in viewfinders. LANC controller used for sync. Cameras shown with wide angle lens attachments.

STUDIO 3D began creating stereovideo with a Toshiba stereo camcorder (SK-3D7K, produced in the early 1990's). With two built-in lenses it was the simplest way to get instant interlaced stereoscopic live action video. The format is NTSC with a lens separation of 2 inches (50mm). The analog video can be output directly to another deck, such as mini-dv via the composite video out cable.Estimates are that only 500-1500 of these cameras were produced.
Additionally, stereovideos can be produced by 3D animation programs- we use 3D STUDIO Max.

With a good computer or Blu-Ray 3D system, dual stream 3D video at up to 1080P HD resolution can be realized.

Usually L and R streams are married into a single "double-size" (side by side or over/under) file and played with special stereo software.

The early standard for stereo video was interlaced (field sequential), which involved using the two fields of each NTSC frame as left and right half-frames. This allowed standard video systems to be used (though resolution of each eye is only half of normal vga: 2x 320x480).

STUDIO 3D Rates the commercial 3D MOVIES



Finally video editing software is accommodating stereoscopic files. We've found Sony Vegas Pro to be the best at recognizing and handling various stereo formats- but beware: the software can be very glitchy and slow. Hopefully future generations will improve... Some claim to have success with Edius and Magix Movie Edit PRO.


After Effects allow you to set up compositions in 3D space and utilize stereo cameras for 3D rendering.


In order to create two separate sync'd stereo video streams, Left/Right clips must be aligned and trimmed, then saved in separate Left/Right folders but with exactly the same names. All the transitions, moves and effects (along with audio) can be applied to all the Left clips (which had been moved to any empty folder) and a Left video stream created. Then the Left clips are removed from that folder and replaced with the Right clips. Another video stream is created with the exact same effects, but this is now the Right video stream.

This technique can also incorporate STILL image pairs.


We are currently using the SONY VAIO F 3D (discontinued) laptop for both viewing stereo and sending 3D to 3DTV and stereo projection systems.

For playing 3D video we have tried several software players that work quite well. STEREOSCOPIC PLAYER is an excellent shareware product, which plays almost any format to almost any format. A freeware program that is quite good is STEREO MOVIE MAKER .


The best current HMD we've seen is the SONY HMZ-T1 (now up to HMZ-T3) It's far from perfect, but there is no question that the technology is catching up with the future. The downside is that the 45 degree field of view lenses have an extremely tight sweet spot, which both eyes have to hit or the stereo image is just not clear. But when you get it, how sweet it is! OLED 720p is beautiful, cross-talk free, immersive HD 3D stereo. With built-in headphones and funky headstrap (curiously missing from this promo image). $800 sounds like a lot of money, but it's a lot cheaper than similar options that didn't view nearly as well.
Zeiss came up with it's own HMD! It's called the CINEMIZER , though it's hard to find now (we've not actually tried one). Specs say 640x480 resolution, side by side format for 3D.
The VIDEO 3D Pro was a very good HMD for interlaced NTSC (or PAL) video... sized them up to the 800x600 pixel per eye resolution- which is surprisingly good. Built-in headphones, too.


The $500 VUZIX Wrap1200 looks good, and seems a lot more comfortable to wear than the SONY HMZ T-1... but the resolution is only 852x480 per eye. We haven't seen them- says it supports side by side 3D (full or half?) and, oddly, 3 formats of anaglyph (!?).
The VUZIX AV920 (formerly ICUITI) is a lower cost solution, they call it "iWear". Picture looks quite good for dual 640x480, with earbud type earphones. Interface powered by 2 AA batteries or adapter... accepts composite video or vga signal. Our biggest complaint concerns design- front heavy, and hinges that move vertically, they don't sit comfortably on the nose. A strap would help.


The eMagin 3DVISOR Z800 sure looks good, but we could not get the previous model (E800) to run on our computer... and their tech support was no help.

Newest I-VISOR FX601 is now called FMD for Face Mounted Display!) works with 800x600 OLED panels, and comes in various configurations to work with PC, video or both. We've not tested yet.
The older I-VISOR DH-4400VPD (newer version called CY-VISOR) handles video as well as PC input- both interlaced and dual stream (of course, dual stream looks a lot better!)

NOTE: Lists as limited stock, no longer manufactured.


Shutter glasses require page-flipped stereo... some video cards from nVidia offer stereo drivers, and some feature mini-din ports for the specific wireless emitters (or wired glasses).

For a list of active and passive 3D monitors, see the (partially) Illustrated 3D monitor list.

NVidia has a kit for Windows 7 (and Vista) which of course runs on specific nVidia graphics cards without the need of mini-din port (usb emitter comes with kit). It's made to run with "3D Ready" monitors, which run at 120hz or better. We like this system, as it's relatively easy to setup, but the 3D mode tends to take over the entire video system (one cannot actually work in 3D mode, from our experience- but slide shows, 3d movies and games look very good, with little cross talk).
CrystalEYES from RealD/Stereographics was the state of the art (although expensive @ $600 each plus emitter) shutter glass setup for the PC or Mac.
Their current model is the CrystalEyes 4s.
Edimensional offers wireless PC glasses.

PASSIVE Monitor for PC

The beauty of passive 3D is that it's always on, and doesn't require full screen view as active often does (taking over entire graphics display) and needs no batteries or charging.


There have been only a few manufacturers making passive PC monitors, we've found the Viewsonic brand to have great 3D as well as being an excellent monitor. Unfortunately, sparse sales have led all manufacturers to cut production.

We've also tried the LG D2343 but it seems the orientation of the polarizers was opposite to what we'd consider "normal". On the plus side RealD circular polarizid glasses work perfectly with this monitor.



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