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YouTube Now Offers 2D to 3D Video Conversion Functionality

September 25th, 2011 · 5 Comments · 2D to 3D Conversion


YouTube has announced new interesting functionality for the stereo 3D community, namely the ability to convert the 2D videos you have uploaded into 3D format automatically with just a few clicks. This is of course a beta functionality and as with other autoconversion solutions it might not work perfect with all kinds of videos, so you should try with different videos and see what works best for you. You should also be aware that the level of quality that the 2D to 3D conversion YouTube offers will not be as good as properly shot video with a 3D camera. But since still not a lot of people do have 3D-capable recording hardware YouTube’s 2D to 3D conversion feature probably is a way to help push more 3D content. The embedded video above is something I’ve shot with a 2D camera and converted into 3D using the YouTube 2D to 3D conversion feature. Have in mind that when you request a 2D to 3D conversion your original 2D video will remain and it will get a 3D button available in the YouTube player. And when you hover your mouse over the 3D button it will say “Converted from 3D”, a good way to differentiate 3D videos uploaded as such as converted to 3D videos, but probably not good enough to quickly differentiate them. The conversion process currently can take a while, especially if you have a longer video file that you want to see converted to 3D, so be patient…



And now for a quick guide on how to use the 2D to 3D conversion feature of YouTube. First off you need to login to your YouTube account and open the video you want to convert into 3D from the list of videos you’ve uploaded. You need to be on the page with the video details that you normally open when you are watching a video on YouTube, not on the page with all your uploads listed in your account. What you need to do now is click on the “Edit info” button that you will see right below the YouTube logo (the first button), make sure you click this one and not the Edit video button.



after clicking the “Edit info” button you will see a new menu shown at the position you’ve had the button you’ve just clicked. Now you have on the “3D Video” button in order to tell YouTube you are going to be working with a 3D video, this is also the new way of telling YouTube that a video you have uploaded is in 3D format and not using the yt3d tag anymore. For the 2D to 3D conversion feature to appear you need to select the “Single image in frame (normal video)”, if you select the 2 images in the same frame it would mean that a video you’ve uploaded is already in 3D format and you just need to let YouTube know what is the right format.



Now what is left to do is click on the tick the box in front of the “Enable 3D conversion for this video” and then click on the “Save Changes” button. It is very important that you save the changes, because unless you do that the conversion to 3D of the video will not start. After clicking the Save button you will see a message that the conversion has started and it will take a while, and it does take a while, especially for longer videos, so you can take your time and do something else and not stay on the YouTube page constantly refreshing. It is good idea to start with shorter videos at first just to experiment and not wait that much time for the conversion to finish just to see that the 3D effect isn’t that good after the conversion.

Have in mind that while YouTube’s 2D to 3D conversion feature does quite good it is not a complete and recommended replacement for a standalone software that does a 2D to 3D conversions, especially if you want to convert long and high-resolution videos or even movies. When you upload a video to YouTube it gets recompressed to further reduce size and there is some loss of quality and 2D to 3D autoconversion solutions are sensitive to image quality. So if you try to autoconvert a lower resolution and not very good quality video to 3D due to the processing by YouTube after the upload and in the 3D conversion process (you have no control whatsoever on that at the moment) the resulting clip may be a total disappointment. And with all that said, you should also be well aware of the fact that although autoconversion solutions making 3D video from a 2D source may seem quite convincing at times it is still inferior to video shot with a real 3D hardware. So don’t go converting 2D to 3D video just so that you can complain it isn’t very good, we all know that very well already…


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5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Nick 3DvB // Sep 25, 2011 at 20:42

    It’s a shame about the 720p limit, any way around that? I hope they keep working on their conversion proccess, you would think that will all their server power they could eventually produce much better results than consumer conversion tools…

  • 2 josh // Sep 26, 2011 at 08:31

    what are some “standalone software that does a 2D to 3D conversions”?

  • 3 3Dphile // Sep 26, 2011 at 13:01

    Here is a sample and comparison

    http://www.youtube.com/user/3Dphile?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/7dN4M1VoKx4

  • 4 gordy // Sep 26, 2011 at 21:42

    Could there be a better way to hurt the 3D industry than by pumping out crappy 3D conversions to muddy the experience?

    Youtube’s 3D-enabling feature was fantastic.

    This is an awful idea.

    All of the people who hate 3D will now have millions of crap “3D” videos on YouTube to prove it. Thanks for nothing, YouTube.

  • 5 Max // Sep 27, 2011 at 13:08

    Yeah, like made a color film from black and white.

    Youtube: wrong idea :-(

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