3D Vision Blog

A normal user's look into the world of 3D Stereo Technologies

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Testing the New GeForce Experience ShadowPlay Beta Feature

November 21st, 2013 · 6 Comments · GeForce 3D Vision

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ShadowPlay is an extra functionality that allows the owners of compatible Nvidia Kepler-based graphic cards to take advantage of the built-in H.264 encoder to record gameplay video with hardware acceleration directly into small in size MP4 video files. ShadowPlay is a part of the GeForce Experience software that now comes as a part of the Nvidia video drivers, and although it is still in Beta stage it looks quite promising. And while ShadowPlay was introduced last month with the release of the GeForce Experience 1.7 software I still haven’t been able to try the software, but now I can and since Nvidia just released a new GeForce 331.82 WHQL video driver that comes with an update to GeForce Experience 1.7.1 it is time to try out this feature. Aside from the new version of the Geforce Experience software the new video drivers also come with a 3D Vision profile for the game Assassin’s Creed IV: Black Flag and it is rated as “Good” for playing in stereo 3D with 3D Vision setups.


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Looking at the ShadowPlay interface you can easily see that it is designed with the normal users in mind, by providing you with a simple and easy to understand clickable buttons for configurations. But more advanced users like me will miss some simple things like an option to remap the default ALT + F9 key combination for manual start/stop of the recording for example or an option to control the recording resolution or framerate and so on. Hopefully Nvidia is going to add some more extra controls for the more advanced users as well with upcoming updates.

What I still haven’t mentioned regarding ShadowPlay is if ti supports recording of stereoscopic 3D gameplay videos as this is something that people playing on 3D Vision setups actually do need and can appreciate. Officially before the release of the ShadowPlay feature Nvidia did not say that it will have stereo 3D support, and now that the software is available still no official 3D Vision support. The good news is that ShadowPlay can actually already record stereo 3D gameplay videos, but with one important thing to note – the 3D video you get is also in 1920×1080 resolution meaning that it is essentially recorded in Half Side by Side format (half horizontal resolution per eye). Not that this is a bad thing compatibility wise, but it would’ve been nice if the user can select between Half SbS mode and Full Side by Side (maybe limitation of the hardware H.264 encoder?). FRAPS for example as the only other gameplay video capture software with stereoscopic 3D video recording support does only output in Full Side by Side format, but the major problem with FRAPS is that the video output is hardly compressed and recording 3D video does result in a lot of gigabytes per minute of recording.

So to summarize things, the ShadowPlay feature is apparently intended for gameplay video recording of 2D gameplay, though it also supports 3D gameplay video recording in Half Side by Side format meaning that the two views are squashed in a single Full HD frame and FRAPS on the other hand produces Full Side by Side output when recording stereoscopic 3D video. ShadowPlay does output small H.264 compressed video files that are ready for online sharing, unlike FRAPS that produces multi-gigabyte files for each minute of recorded footage and recording 3D makes the files even bigger, s you need to re-compress them before uploading and sharing them. The performance drop when using ShadowPlay should be significantly less, because the hardware H.264 encoder of the video card is used to compress and output small files, unlike FRAPS where the CPU handles the minimal compression applied and the HDD/SSD needs to handle the serious load caused by the large amounts of data written each second, so the performance drop is more significant. FRAPS has more features and more controls for the more advanced users while maintaining ease of use by the normal user as compared to the way too user friendly and somewhat lacking features interface of the ShadowPlay.

And now for some tests of ShadowPlay and a comparison with FRAPS when both are set to record video at 1080p 60 fps in various conditions in the game Battlefield 4. The game was chosen because it can be quite heavy even for the fastest GPUs when you up the graphical settings to the maximum as in the current case – Ultra Quality with 4xMSAA with a GeForce GTX 780 Ti video card. Battlefield 4 is not recommended by Nvidia to be played in stereoscopic 3D mode with 3D Vision, but it is still Ok for benchmarks and recording, so take a look at the interesting results below.

2D mode:
– 96 fps in 2D mode playing with 3D Vision disabled in the Control Panel
– 90 fps in 2D mode with ShadowPlay recording and 3D Vision disabled in the Control Panel
– 51 fps in 2D mode recording video with FRAPS and 3D Vision disabled in the Control Panel

3D mode:
– 69 fps in 2D mode playing with 3D Vision enabled in the Control Panel, but turned off
– 38 fps in stereo 3D mode with 3D Vision enabled and running
– 36 fps in stereo 3D mode with ShadowPlay recording video
– 25 fps in stereo 3D mode with FRPAS recording video on an SSD drive

File size:
– FRAPS 1 min 2D – 2.8 GB
– FRAPS 1 min 3D – 4.4 GB
– ShadowPlay 1 min high 2D/3D ~ 112 MB (varies based on the content)

As you can see from the results above, by using ShadowPlay you get to loose much less FPS compared to when recording video with FRAPS and also the output video’s file size can be significantly less. Aside from that you can probably notice that Battlefield 4 does not handle that well performance wise with 3D Vision enabled, even when it is not active you still get significant performance drop as compared to normal 2D mode and that is probably half the reason why the game has a Not Recommended rating for 3D Vision and the other half is the visual issues when rendering in stereo 3D mode.

And one interesting observation that I made while testing was the fact that as long as 3D Vision is activated from the Nvidia Control Panel then when you record gameplay video with ShadowPlay you are getting a stereo 3D recording in Half Side by Side format, regardless if you have pressed CTRL+T to enable or disable the display of 3D data on the screen. So you need to be careful when you want to play and record gameplay video in 2D mode you will have to disable the 3D Vision stereoscopic 3D support form the Control Panel before running the game and for recording stereo 3D gameplay video the good thing is that you may not actually play in stereo 3D mode while recording in it.

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GoPro With a New Smaller HERO3+ Cameras, Still No 3D Accessory

October 2nd, 2013 · 2 Comments · Shooting in 3D

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I has been about a year since GoPro has announced the HERO3 action camera and now they just announced a new version called GoPro HERO3+ in Black and Silver edition and only the White edition did not get an updated version. The new GoPro Hero 3+ cameras are a bit smaller in size and lighter and offer better battery life and finally glass optics long with faster WiFi. That is essentially what the improvements are, along with some new accessories, however there is still no official 3D camera accessory either for the older HERO3 or for the newer Hero 3+ camera, so apparently official 3D support for GoPro is not on the list of important things to have as a feature. The good thing is that we are seeing various community developed solutions to use two GoPro HERO3 cameras to record 3D video mostly due to the very compact size that a 3D rig using two GoPro cameras can provide. The good thing about the new GoPro HERO3+ cameras is that the solutions used for shooting 3D video with HERO3 will most likely also work, so imagine using a mini 3D mirror rig using two GoPro HERO3+ cameras for shooting stereo 3D…

GoPro HERO3+ Black Edition
– Innovative new housing yields a 20% smaller and lighter overall package when camera is installed in housing (waterproof to 40m).
– 30% longer battery life.
– 4x faster Wi-Fi for quicker transfer and playback of photos and videos from your HERO3+ camera to your mobile device when using the GoPro App.
– SuperView is a new video mode that captures the world’s most immersive wide-angle perspective.
– Auto Low Light mode intelligently adjusts frame rate for varying lighting conditions.
– A new lens for sharper video and improved image quality.
– The HERO3+ Black Edition camera has a suggested retail price of $399.99.

GoPro HERO3+ Silver Edition
– 2x faster image processor than the HERO3: Silver Edition.
– Enables 1080p60 and 720p120 fps video.
– Innovative new housing yields a 15% smaller and lighter overall package when camera is installed in housing (waterproof to 40m).
– 4x faster Wi-Fi for quicker transfer and playback of photos and videos from your HERO3+ camera to your mobile device when using the GoPro App.
– The HERO3+ Silver Edition camera has a suggested retail price of $299.99.

For more information about the new range of GoPro HD HERO3+ action cameras…

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CyberLink Has Released The New PowerDVD 13 Media Player

April 2nd, 2013 · 5 Comments · General 3D News

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Today CyberLink has introduced their new version 13 of the PowerDVD media player, bringing some new and interesting features and improvements, some of which related to 3D, though not that much is actually targeted especially at stereoscopic 3D support. If you are going to be using the player for Blu-ray 3D movie and would use the player mostly for 3D video playback you’d need the Ultra version as the other two versions of the player – Pro and Deluxe do not come with stereo 3D video support at all.

Among the more interesting features in the new PowerDVD 13 are things like official support for the new AVCHD 2.0 standard (including 3D video support), playback of lossless APE audio (OGG and FLAC are already supported), 4K video support (for bitrates up to 60 Mbps) and a new subtitle rendering engine allowing you to better customzie how the subtitles appear. CyberLink also promises faster startup time for Blu-ray movies, better speed and responsiveness of the playback for various types of media. With the new PowerDVD 13 there is more attention for not only HD and 3D video playback, but for HD audio as well, so if you have a more serious sound system you can enjoy not only high-quality audio from movies, but also play looseless stereo audio and multichannel HD audio as well. It is interesting to note that the new PowerDVD 13 also supports TrueTheater HD for Blu-ray movies and Full HD videos (upscaling resolution) as compared to the previous version 12.

There isn’t much changed on the types of stereoscopic 3D display devices and output modes from the previous version, though they were already quite comprehensive with support for only 3D-capable DLP Link projectors using DLP Link glasses being the only thing that is still missing, though frame sequential mode is supported on a devices using 3D Vision with compatible hardware. PowerDVD 13 Ultra is available with a price of US $99.95 or €99.99 Euro and if you have an older 11/12 Ultra version you can upgrade for half the price of the license.

For more information about the new CyberLink PowerDVD 13 media player…

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