• Wondering which camera, gear, computer, or software to buy? Ask in our Gear Guide.

stereoscopic 3D images and video

It seems that 3D movies have once again died a tragic death but about a year before Avatar came out, I was betting that 3D was going to be here to stay. All of the larger theater chains upgraded their equipment and screens. Software developers were working as fast as they could to create the tool for stereo 3D. Blu-ray had stereoscopic built into it's standard. TVs and Blu-ray players were all there........ But nobody wanted to wear the glasses :lol:

Anyway, I have spent the past 5 or 7 years learning all I could find out about stereoscopy. One of the things I learned right away is that a majority of the people making 3D movie content did not understand what they were doing. They broke some of the most fundamental rules and delivered images that created tremendous eye strain on the view.. The people making 3D pictures (single images) were doing a much better job in most cases. They seemed to understand the process better than film makers.

The easiest and most accessible way to show 3D pictures to most people is to make anaglyph 3D pictures. Those are the one you have to wear red and cyan glasses to view. Here is one that I made.
148.png.jpg

You can buy inexpensive cardboard anaglyph glasses on Amazon.com. Don't buy the more expensive hard plastic anaglyph glasses. You might think that more expensive is better but this is one of the rare cases in life where cheaper IS actually better..... The plastic glasses have lenses that are too thick. They block too much light. The cardboard ones are perfect! Remember Red and Cyan. There are other colors available but red and cyan are the standard that nearly eveyone on the planet uses.

Here is one more that I made. This ones is CGI: View this one from at least 2 feet away (with the glasses on). The farther away, the more the skull comes out of the screen!

153.png.jpg


The other way to view these images that doesn't require special equipment is something called cross eyed 3D.
Here is an example I made:

150.png.jpg

You simply look at the picture and cross your eyes. You will see 3 images, look at the one in the middle... Give your eyes a few seconds to relax when looking at the picture. After that, they will stay focused on the center image naturally.

If anyone wants to discuss stereoscopic 3D images and how to create them, chime in. I love this stuff. Maybe I can help you not make the mistakes that most people make.
 
Last edited:
VR has great potential. I haven't studied it but I believe you're still looking at a screen......

True, lol, but the screen is no longer fixated on 1 location with confined and (if you far away enough) visible boundaries. Like you said: the screen cannot be unseen unless you close your eyes. And when you move your head, the view doesn't end with an edge, but shows the view from that angle.

This technique poses new struggles. At the moment: longer than 3 minutes is nauseating for many people. Having 'no body' while looking down also boggles the mind. So more and more VR experiences are made with a body. Together with gloves and AR, they can give you VR-hands that move like your own.

For this kind of stuff: forget lineair filmtheory. It is a totally different beast.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
I don't mind being challenged. I love defending my position, just make sure the thing you are challenging is real and not the product of not being able to read...ok? :)
Okay, I'll give it a try. I hope I meet your criteria for a real
challenge.

“One of the things I learned right away is that a majority of the people making 3D movie content did not understand what they were doing.”

I read this and reread it. My challenge to you isn't a comprehension
issue, (I am able to read) it's a different opinion. I believe that
the majority of people making 3D movies understand 3D very well.

“there is no difference between making a single 3D image and shooting 3D video”

The difference between a 3D photo and a 3D moving image
is vast. One can't just set up a “still frame” and have things
move around in it. Hitchcock did that in his one and only 3D
film and while the 3D was terrific, as a movie it didn't work.
One of his few failures. You have done both video and stills
– have you made a narrative film? Short or feature?

Just because some people experience eye strain doesn't mean
the filmmakers did not understand what they were doing. No
one looks at single 3D images for 90 to 120 minutes. I think
it could be argued that the movement (which is essential in
a motion picture) and the length of time viewing causes the
eye strain more than the filmmaker not understanding what
they were doing.

What did you think of Scorsese's “Hugo”? A very accomplished
filmmaker working with a very accomplished DP who both spent
a lot of time studying 3D before embarking on the movie.
 
How disappointing. I was hoping this thread would spark conversation and the exchange of real information. Instead it has become an attempt to discredit me by people who don't really know anything about stereoscopy. It seems that your 3D accomplishments are limited to only knowing other people who work with 3D or having seen movies in 3D... so sad..

anyway, here we go.

“One of the things I learned right away is that a majority of the people making 3D movie content did not understand what they were doing.”

I read this and reread it. My challenge to you isn't a comprehension
issue, (I am able to read) it's a different opinion. I believe that
the majority of people making 3D movies understand 3D very well.

Nice general statement. What makes you believe they understand 3D? Because someone is paying them to do it? Is it because a majority of the 3D movies you've seen were immersive and made you feel like you were there? ... I don't disagree that they know how to capture 3D images but that is only the first step if you goal is to create an experience that is more than just images with depth.


“there is no difference between making a single 3D image and shooting 3D video”

The difference between a 3D photo and a 3D moving image
is vast. One can't just set up a “still frame” and have things
move around in it. Hitchcock did that in his one and only 3D
film and while the 3D was terrific, as a movie it didn't work.
One of his few failures. You have done both video and stills
– have you made a narrative film? Short or feature?

You could not be more wrong. Yes, you can set up a still frame and have things move around in it. You don't know this because you don't know anything about stereoscopy.... and just to save you the time of typing a predictable counter-argument, yes, if things are moving around within the frame it may be likely that the dp wants light fixture movement and light modifiers syncronized to the movement to keep things well exposed but that is true of any set up. The 3D camera, once the point of convergence is set up, does not have to change no matter what is going on before the lens and THAT is a FACT.

Just because some people experience eye strain doesn't mean
the filmmakers did not understand what they were doing. No
one looks at single 3D images for 90 to 120 minutes. I think
it could be argued that the movement (which is essential in
a motion picture) and the length of time viewing causes the
eye strain more than the filmmaker not understanding what
they were doing.

Wrong. People experience eye fatigue because their eye muscles can not handle the exertion of having to converge 2 images (left and right) that have too high of disparity. This is a known problem and is easily dealt with using a technique called depth budgeting. It is a simple but important technique that can eliminate eye strain for most people. There will always be some people, like my friend Ian, who can not watch 3D movies for more than a minute or so before he gets a head ache. Those people are in the same group as people who say they can not see the 3D effect in a 3D movie. Quite simply, 3D movies are not for everyone however, depth budgeting make watching 3D for extended periods of time easier for everyone else. What is depth budgeting? As of today there are 2 techniques that I know of: The first is to have some 2D shots in the 3D movie. It give your eyes a chance to rest and, believe it or not, you really can't tell the difference. Your brain fools you into thinking you're still seeing a 3D image. There is nothing jarring about going from 3D to 2D then back to 3D in a movie, but, as is true with anything, you must plan in advance how you are going to use this technique. The second way is to use some sophisticated software that can warp the stereo pair in a way that compressed depth. In essence, if you have a stereo pair that has disparity that ranges from 1 to 4, the software can compress the depth through warping techniques to reduce the disparity range to something line 1 to 1.5 or 1 to 2 (these numbers are not real. I only use them to demonstrate the idea). The idea behind depth budgeting is to use less depth (or none) where it is not needed so the eye muscles can rest thus allowing you to watch the entire movie with no eye strain.

What did you think of Scorsese's “Hugo”? A very accomplished
filmmaker working with a very accomplished DP who both spent
a lot of time studying 3D before embarking on the movie.

I never saw Hugo.
 
Last edited:

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
How disappointing. I was hoping this thread would spark conversation and the exchange of real information. Instead it has become an attempt to discredit me by people who don't really know anything about stereoscopy. It seems that your 3D accomplishments are limited to only knowing other people who work with 3D or having seen movies in 3D... so sad..
I'm sorry you feel my questions are just trying to discredit you.

I'm sad that you take my lack of understanding of something you have
spent 5 or 7 years learning about "so sad". You are correct, I have no
3D accomplishments at all so was hoping to learn a little from you. Instead
you put me down for my lack of accomplishments.

I regret asking my questions and posing my challenges. You did say were
were not expecting to be challenged by a non-practitioner so I should have
just stayed out of it.

I won't ask you any more questions or offer my opinions. A sad day for
this forum.
 
What questions did you ask? 'cause I think I missed them.

Anyway, I've got a few minutes to spare.

Let's start

Introduction

Stereoscopy is more than just taking 3D pictures. To only consider capturing the images that will produce the stereogram will leave you only be looking at half of the equation. The other half has to do with presentation, how will your 3D pictures be seen and under what conditions? There is a lot of talk about not putting too much depth into your pictures or you may cause eye strain but how do you do that? How can you predict how much 3D effect is too much? I have read some general answers to that question that are very unsatisfying but nothing that really tells you anything at all. In this book, we will answer that question. I won’t say there are rules to the question of how much is too much but there are ideas and things to consider. If you want to call these things rules then by all means do but also understand that the rules can and should be broken under certain circumstances.
A wonderful truth about stereoscopy is that it does not require precision. Our two eyes and brain working together are very adaptable and can see past small errors in a 3D image as though they were not there. With this in mind you will see that stereograms are not the product of precise measurements and strict rules. Instead they are a product of basic understanding and estimates. You don’t need to be a mathematician or a physicist to create good 3D images.. Once you have an understanding of Stereoscopy and how your eyes see, all you really need to be is a photographer. Shooting a 3D image is just as easy as shooting a regular planar 2D picture.

We will spend a lot of time talking about 3D images or Stereograms but we will also be talking about 3D movies or videos. Now here is a surprise for you; it doesn’t matter if we talk about images or movies, the theory and application is pretty much the same. What you learn here can be used to make movies or still pictures. That’s up to you. Some of the techniques are specific to movies only because movies are animated pictures and everything can move, including the camera(s).
 
That's just it, directorik. You didn't get involved. You only tried to call me out....

The thing is this; I've been involved in 3D talks on other forums. Some people knew a few things about 3D, others asked questions but nobody said anything like "I don't know anything about 3D but I'm sure you're wrong".. I know you didn't say that in those exact words but you did say that.
 
Instead it has become an attempt to discredit me by people who don't really know anything about stereoscopy.

There are no attempts at discrediting, only attempts at clarifying the accuracy of information. As I've said in previous threads, when attempting to educate clarity and accuracy are vitally important.

You've certainly tried to discredit pretty much everyone making 3D films by suggesting they don't understand what they're doing.

I'll refrain from any further commenting on this thread lest it be misconstrued or lead to personal attacks.

Please keep in mind that discussion should always be civil and to refrain from personal attacks.
 
I agree.

3D window: inside, on screen, outside

The goal of Stereoscopy is to create the sensation of 3 dimensional depth in a 2 dimensional image. Regardless of how the image or video or film is presented or projected, the goal is the same; to capture or create 2 images, a stereo pair, in a binocular fashion that when presented appears as one image, a stereogram, that has the appearance of actual depth. Because we are talking about bringing depth to a flat image we need to understand the relationship between the depth and the 2 dimensional plane holding it. Because a 2D image exists, in a physical sense, in 3D space, our eyes will see it that way. In other words, a stereogram, will appear as a 2 dimensional window into a 3 dimensional world. A small 3D picture that you hold in your hand is a 2 dimensional window into a 3 dimensional world that you are holding in your hand. With this in mind we can say that the 3D window can be broken down into 3 distinct regions of the 3D space; inside the screen, on the screen, and outside the screen. Inside the screen is the same as behind the screen or piece of paper the image is printed on. On the screen is exactly on the screen or paper it is printed on. Outside the screen is right in front of you, inside the theater or wherever you happen to be when viewing it. The object is closer to you than the screen or paper it is printed on. It appears to have come "out of the screen". Objects in the 3D picture can exist in any one of these regions or even in all 3 at once.

Before we go any further I want to make sure you are not confused about the terms 2 dimensional screen or just screen, 3D window, and 3D screen. The 2 dimensional screen is simply the actual physical plane that is being used to present the stereogram. It is the movie screen or the piece of paper the image might be printed on, or the computer monitor screen or the television screen in your home. It is called 2 dimensional because a plane has no depth, only height and width. The 3D window and the 3D screen are essentially the same thing. When looking at a 3D image it appears that you are looking into a window so, you can call it a 3D window. A 3D screen is exactly the same thing except we say "screen" because televisions have a screen, movie theaters show movies on a screen. Your computer monitor is a screen. Almost every way to present a 3D image is via some sort of screen. Yes, 3D images are also printed on paper which is sort of like a screen except that you don't project the image. It simple exists as ink or dye on the surface of the paper.. Anyway, both 3D window and 3D screen make sense and are accurate. I may use them interchangeably.
 

directorik

IndieTalk's Resident Guru
indiePRO
That's just it, directorik. You didn't get involved. You only tried to call me out....

The thing is this; I've been involved in 3D talks on other forums. Some people knew a few things about 3D, others asked questions but nobody said anything like "I don't know anything about 3D but I'm sure you're wrong".. I know you didn't say that in those exact words but you did say that.

I'm sorry you feel I said that. I was expressing my opinion. I was
very careful to NOT say that because I wanted to learn. I have
never made a 3D movie, I have only watched them. I was not calling
you out I was expressing a personal opinion based on what little I
know. I see I was wrong to do that.

You said you didn't expect to be challenged and I did that. I see
I was wrong to do that, too.

I. too, will refrain from commenting on this thread any further.

I suggest you see Hitchcock's only 3D film in 3D and Hugo in 3D. Both
seem to me to be from filmmakers who did understand what they are
doing.
 
..................There is a lot of talk about not putting too much depth into your pictures or you may cause eye strain but how do you do that? How can you predict how much 3D effect is too much? I have read some general answers to that question that are very unsatisfying but nothing that really tells you anything at all. In this book, we will answer that question..................

In 2010 I visited a trade fair where Sony presented a hardware/software tool for on set to predict and manage the 3D effect. Indeed to prevent eyestrain.
Other reasons for that strain: imperfect alignement, non sychronous video signals and unequal focal points.
Sadly, I don't remember the name of this thing, but it was meant to be used for on set real time analysis.

It has been too long ago.
I vaguely remember that 2 diverging cameras will produce headache, because it 'forces' your eyes to diverge, which is impossible for most people.
While converging is less likely to be problem, but still not without a risk.
And something about the distances between the lenses: it influences depth and percieved scale, if I remember correctly.
 
PS.
I've never seen Jax or Rik discredit anyone.
They are among the most constructive members here.
Their opinion might differ, but they can read.
You say they don't know what they are doing in Hollywood, while they have been making 3D for years with less and less headache. (My personal experience: 3D in the 90s was unwatchable for me.)
I would argue that they do know what they are doing within the confines of a static screen and having to be able to watch the movies in 2D as well.
But I sense that you feel they are missing an opportunity in the potential of 3D.
Without clearly explaining what they should do, it will stay in the realm of claiming "the Lumiere brothers had no idea of what they were doing, because their edits suck." while filmtheory about editing was developed after their efferts.

..................

As you guys have already mentioned. You both said it but Walter put it very well "Trying to project a new medium on an existing one." For me, the biggest problem with 3D movies is that they are shot with a 2D mentality. Same camera angles. Same camera movis, and same editing style... and I understand why they still do this; the movie has to show well on a 2D screen as well as 3D. They can't afford to commit to "storytelling -borne out of the technology".

What would a 3D movie look like if the film makers committed to make a true 3D movie that is immersive? I have thought about this for years and I'm convinced that scale would have to be maintained and the editing cuts would have to brought down to a minimum. None at all would actually be the best. In essence, you would be watching a stage play. The people on the screen would have to be seen at true scale; about 6 feet tall. No close ups since there are no close ups in life unless you physically move in closer to someone. The pont of convergence (where the image appears ON the screen) for the stereo pairs would have to coincide with the actual distance between the viewer and the screen. Again, it would be like being present at a stage play.

So much for pure 3D movies. I don't think anyone will sit through a movie like that. Not even me.. So, we compromise. We use close ups and editing and we don't maintain true scale BUT we do modify the editing to make it less intrusive (good editing should not draw attention to itself anyway).. We use a deep DOF, longer establishing shots with fewer close ups, cut aways and all the other techniques that work well in 2D but will remind us in 3D that this is not real.

It seems like a losing battle. It seems like immersive 3D is a pipe dream. Any presentation that reminds us that what we are seeing is not real can not possibly be immersive.

But wait, that isn't true at all. I have been immersed in plenty of films. Everyone has but, here's the thing; none of them were 3D.

Jaws, close encounters, indiana Jones, Star Wars, The Exorcist,Breathless, Alien, Kramer vs Kramer, Wisdom, King Kong 1976. That is a partial list of films that I felt immersed in. Those are films that sucked me in and made me feel like I was there.

STORY TELLING!! that is and always has been the answer to the question 'how do you immerse the audience in the reality of your movie?'. Story telling.... Adding 3D to a so so story leaves you with a 3D so so movie. It won't be elevated by the magic of 3D because 3D is only 'more information' in much the same way that color film is only more information than black and white film.

This might sound strange coming from a guy who claims Hollywood does not understand what they are doing. I still stand by that. I mean, if they did, I think they would at least modify the way they shoot and edit a movie that will be presented in 3D. That is the least they can do. The most they can do is make a pure 3D movie that is designed to be a 3D movie. In the middle ground, they are completely capable of making 2 versions of the same move; a 2D edit and a 3D edit. Good planning and a good editing team could make this a reality.

... but at the end of the day, I believe the true immersive experience hinges on the story and the telling of the story. In conclusion, 3D is just more information.

BUT, if you are going to use it, you should use it well. Stereoscopy offers its own bag of tricks that can be used to help tell a story. Strange, I've discovered these tricks but from what I can tell, other 3D people have not. I never talk about them in detail because I don't want to just give them away. I either want to lay claim to them by using them in a movie or presenting them in my book. After that, anyone can use them. They don't cost anything.

I am sure Jax and Rik were only challenging you to explain what you mean. And not trying to discredit you.
It might feel like that, but that is because you claim it should be done differently, but you keep the tricks to yourself for now. So nobody can see or feel the difference.

I love discussions like this: it forces me to think about the nature of the medium and allows us to filosophy about it's possibilities.
To me the stage play solution does not feel like a step forward. More like going back to old school theater through a new medium. (And closer to the very first movies.)
Also the conclusion that cutting to close up is a reminder it is fake, is not true to me. In 2D movies the suspension of disbelief doesn't end there either.
A good cut will still be an invisible cut in plain sight. And it is indeed the story that justifies the cut, just like it is the emotional connection (plus a plausible world design) that immerges us into the story.
However, I do recognize that not every cut can work in 3D: fast cutting in fistfights like the Bourne trilogy might be too chaotic and desorienting. Maybe a first person POV might be more effective (yet possibly traumatising). The same goes for Requiem for a dream like sequences: will that work in 3D or will it be too fast? (I think that also depends on the plain of convergence: if it changes rapidly: headache!)

So, that was just a train of thought as well.

PS.
I've only seen Hugo in 2D and it is marvellous!
I could see why it was made as a 3D movie.
 
Top