The compact and powerful GoPro cameras that started as action sports oriented products are now also starting to find their place in video and movie production mostly thanks to their good image quality, rich feature set and affordable price especially compared to expensive movie cameras and other professional equipment usually used in movie productions. The high resolution, high framerate and high bitrate that the compact GoPro Hero 3 cameras offer is making them an interesting solution to work with and even modify to further improve the quality or useability. Not only end users, but also professionals are hacking their GoPro cameras in order to use them for some specific project such as the Novo Digital Cinema Camera that is based around GoPro Hero 3: Black Edition. But things are happening not only for the use of these small action cameras for shooting in 2D, but in stereo 3D as well. If you were following the development of the GoPro cameras there was an official GoPro 3D Hero accessory for using two GoPro Hero 2 cameras to shoot 3D video, but after the release of the new more compact and powerful Hero 3 cameras that accessory no longer worked and there is still no new version being released. This, along with 3D printing becoming more widely spread and accessible has helped many users to thinker with their GoPro Hero 3 cameras rebuilding them and making them into something new or improving them to be able to shoot in 3D.
Here is an interesting recent example of two GoPro Hero 3 cameras getting hacked into a more compact stereo 3D camera with a smaller interaxial distance for a project that required shooting miniatures in stereo 3D. This project has been realized by Anthony Shafer who is a stereoscopic 3D professional, and while there are not to many details about the process of rebuilding the cameras, there are some interesting pictures of the process including the actual shooting of stereo 3D footage that you might find interesting to take a look at.
The other fresh example of using GoPro Hero 3 action cameras in order to make them shoot in stereo 3D comes from Al “3DGuy” Caudullo, another stereoscopic 3D professional, who has managed to build multiple custom 3D camera rigs for using two GoPro Hero 3 cameras to shoot in 3D. This not only includes the enclosures, one with fixed interaxial of 32mm and another with variable interaxial between 38mm and 64mm, but also come with a custom sync solution in order to have the best possible solution (though it probably “syncs” the two cameras as the cable from the 3D Hero accessory does). The 3DGuy is apparently also working on a very compact beam splitter rig for Hero 3 cameras and the good thing is that if you are interested you can order any of the two other rigs, they are available for $250 and $350 USD respectively (without the shipping).
– More about the Hacked GoPro 3D for Miniature Shoot by Anthony Shafer…
– More about the miniature stereo 3D rigs for GoPro Hero 3 by Al Caudullo…
Tags:3D HERO·3dguy·Al Caudullo·Anthony Shafer·GoPro·GoPro 3D·Hero 3·Hero 3 3D·stereo 3d
In an interview for the BBC Microsoft’s corporate vice-president for Skype, Mark Gillett mentions something very interesting, namely that the company has been working on a technology for providing stereoscopic 3D video calls for a while now, however such feature may take quite some time before we see it released to the public (if at all).
“We have it in the lab, we know how to make it work and we’re looking at the ecosystem of devices and their capability to support it in order to make a decision when we might think about bringing something like that to market.”
The actual problem in realizing 3D video calls over Skype is not the part where you need to display the stereoscopic 3D data on the screen, but in capturing it in a 3D format. There are already quite a lot of 3D-capable computer displays, a lot of 3D HDTvs, even a few smartphones and tablets, so many people already could be able to see a 3D video chat if there is a means to capture it in 3D on the other side. Unfortunately there are just a few 3D-capable webcams out there (Minoru 3D for example), and only some devices with built-in stereoscopic 3D cameras (Lenovo L2363dwA 3D Vision monitor for example) available that could capture 3D video to send over Skype. There are however no 3D HDTVs equipped with a stereo 3D camera and generally we are just now getting webcameras integrated or available as an option for start TV sets and these are all standard 2D cameras. As for smartphones with 3D capabilities, there are just a few such as the LG Optimus 3D smartphone – equipped with an autostereoscopic 3D display and dual cameras, however the stereo 3D camera is on the back of the phone, so not very convenient for use for a video call.
Apparently Microsoft is well aware of the current hardware limitations, especially regarding the 3D video capture, and they are not in a hurry to bring a new feature that will provide an option to have 3D video calls while the 3D video capture hardware is not yet available on the market. Unlike some other companies Microsoft is rarely seen as a technology leader that will push new technologies such as 3D video calls ahead of time and thus create the demand and the market not only for the service, but for compatible products as well. Instead they are more conservative in their approach and will most likely wait for the technology to be ready and widely available before making Skype able to be used for 3D video calls. What is not taken into account here is that meanwhile some competitor may actually take the lead or a new company may come out and present a whole ecosystem for 3D video calls especially on the mobile devices side where things are happening very fast nowadays.
We should also consider that one of the main problems preventing the stereoscopic 3D technology to really boom is still the general lack of good content. Without enough good 3D content it is hard to convince anyone to buy a 3D-capable computer, 3D HDTV, 3D smartphone or a 3D tablet, and making good 3D content for such devices requires quite a lot of money to be invested. Furthermore the current not so good economic situation worldwide and the fact that the recent boom in stereoscopic 3D technology coincided with the financial crisis of 2007–2008 did not do any good. Yet again there are visionaries like James Cameron who believe in 3D’s future and are able not only to pioneer 3D technology, but also make big profits out of the good work they are doing. So it is possible to be done, though you may have to risk more than you are willing to at this moment and in the end you may still either succeed or fail.
In the end if you are excited about the possibility to have 3D video calls over Skype soon, then you should not get your hopes too high, this is something that may or may not happen, but if it does it will probably take a few more years. What sounds more reasonable is to see Skype celebrating its 15th birthday with the addition of 3D video calls and they are just at their 10th year at the moment, then again in five years Skype may not exist or they may not present 3D video calls at all.
– To read the full interview with Mark Gillett about 3D Video calls and not only over at BBC…
Tags:3D video calls·Mark Gillett·Microsoft·Skype·Skype 3D·Skype 3D video calls·stereo 3d
The stereoscopic 3D photo sharing service Phereo has just announced beta support for the Oculus Rift, adding one more supported 3D viewing method to their list that also includes 3D Vision support all right from the Internet browser. Phereo offers a free service for uploading and viewing stereoscopic 3D photos with some limitations most notable of which is the 300 MB upload limit per month, but that should still be Ok for most normal users. There is a Pro account that allows you to remove that limitation and also adding some extras that might be of interest to professional 3D photographers for example. For example you can take a look at the Phereo Pro account of Cesar Sommer whose professional stereoscopic 3D work was published here on the blog on multiple occasions.
But back on the support for the Oculus Rift for viewing the stereoscopic 3D photos on Phereo. As already mentioned it is in beta stage at the moment and although it may work quite well it is not yet perfect. In order to activate the Oculus Rift viewing mode you need to open an image and click on the Oculus Rift link at the top right corner of the image, switching to full screen mode you will see the left and right views of the selected 3D image next to each other. There is currently no image distortion applied to the two views of the 3D photo for the perfect viewing experience with the Rift, furthermore as with wider aspect 3D videos watched on the Rift you may also see distracting back bars on the top and bottom with viewing 3D photos with wider aspect, so for example 4:3 works better than 16:9 for viewing on the Rift. When you are in full screen mode for viewing the image in the Rift you can use the arrows to view the photos one after another without having to enter and exit the full-screen mode for viewing on the Rift in order to switch to another photo. Also since it is in beta apparently the Oculus Rift viewing mode is not yet available everywhere, so for example on the Cesar Sommer’s portfolio page you don’t get the Oculus Rift viewing method available yet. Anyway if you have an Oculus Rift Development Kit in your hands you may want to check out Phereo.
– You can check out Phereo and the just announced Oculus Rift beta support here…
Tags:3D photo·3D photo sharing·cesar sommer·Oculus Rift·Phereo·Rift support