We know that Google has been trying to improve and most of all make more user friendly the upload of 3D videos to YouTube for a while already and while they manage to do quite well in that, they seem to miss some really basic stuff that can result in the 3D video not being displayed properly. It is quite nice and easy to just select from a drop-down box that “This video is already 3D”when uploading a 3D video to YouTube from the Advanced Settings tab under 3D Video (just avoid using the “Please make this video 3D” option as this will use 2D to 3D conversion in order to convert a normal 2D video into a stereoscopic 3D one simulating the feeling of depth).
Then from the second drop-down box right below the first one you choose “Side by side: Left video on the left side” or another type of arrangement form the available ones either Side by Side or Top to Bottom with the correct frame order for left/right eye and when the video uploads you expect that everything will work fine. That however may not happen exactly like you thought it would, as for example if the video you uploaded was 1080p in resolution with full frames for both left and right eye (total resolution of 3840×1080) then the result you’d see in the player may not be the one you would want to see. If you uploaded a 3840×1080 resolution 3D video in Side by Side format, going trough the simple drop-down configuration of the type of the video may not be enough as YouTube will still not show it with the correct aspect ratio and you’d need to fix that in order not to have black bars at the top and bottom of the player…
And here I though that adding extra tags for 3D video uploads is something that we’ve left in the past, but no, you may still need to add the good old yt3d tag to make things work properly and the good news is that it actually still works. In the above real world example I’ve had to add “yt3d:aspect=16:9” (no need to use the quotes) in order to get the 3D video displayed with the correct aspect ratio in the player, again this aspect ratio fix is intended for when uploading 3D video clips in Side by Side format with 3840×1080 resolution in YouTube. Lower resolution 3D videos and/or clips with horizontally or vertically squashed frames for the left and right eye may not need the extra tag to be displayed correctly, but if you are having trouble with them you may try adding the tag as well.
Last year YouTube has introduced a new function allowing users to upload 2D videos and then have them autoconverted from 2D to 3D by YouTube and today this beta functionality has been further expanded. Now every user can select to see an automatic 2D to 3D conversion for short-form videos uploaded in 1080p resolutions, there is no more need for the owner of the clip to select that he wants it autoconverted.
You can activate the 2D-to-3D autoconversion feature by clicking on the Options icon (the one with a gear) in the player and then clicking on the 3D button that will appear on the left. When you activate the 3D autoconversion feature of YouTube you will be able to select from less available resolutions up to 720p. It seems that the 3D button does not yet appear on all 1080p videos, so it may take some time, but you can test with the embedded YouTube video above – it already works. It is a quite different thing however how good the autoconversion to 3D is, it may work well on some videos and not that good on others, so if you are interested you can experiment with multiple videos.
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…