3D Vision Blog

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

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GoPro 3D HERO 1080p 3D Video Recording System is Now Available

April 6th, 2011 · 13 Comments · Shooting in 3D

GoPro has officially released their 3D HERO System, a waterproof 3D expansion kit for their compact 1080p HD HERO cameras that allows you to pair two of these cameras and record 1080p 3D action video. The GoPro 3D HERO System is already shipping with a price of $99.99 USD, but have in mind that this is the price only for the 3D enclosure, you will still need to have two 1080p GoPro HD HERO cameras to use it as these are not included.

The GoPro 3D HERO housing is made from strong polycarbonate and is waterproof up to 180 feet (around 55 meters), so you should not worry what and where you are shooting your next action 3D videos as water won’t be a problem and neither you should worry about damaging the cameras. The kit comes with a synchronization cable to connect the two cameras, but prior using it you will need to update the firmware of your two cameras. This cable should ensure perfect synchronization between the two 1080p cameras, because a single shutter button controls both cameras. Just have in mind that the older and smaller in resolution GoPro cameras are not compatible with the GoPro 3D HERO. You also get different mounts to ease you in the attachment of the 3D camera system to different surfaces and 3 pairs of anaglyph glasses to view the content you’ve shot even if you don’t have any more specialized 3D-capable hardware.

You also get a software for importing the two separate video streams from the two 1080p cameras and building the 3D video file out of them, the software is GoPro Cineform Studio. Interestingly enough GoPro acquired the company Cineform not too long ago, so it is pretty normal to have the technology developed by Cineform becoming a part of the tools you get with your GoPro 3D HERO system. Of course the GoPro Cineform Studio software you get won’t be as powerful as some of the more advanced 3D tools that Cineform offers separately, but it should be enough for your basic 3D video needs. And you can always export the video and then further edit it in a more powerful video editing software with support for 3D video such as the latest Sony Vegas.

If you get your hands on the 3D HERO System and do some 3D video recording with it and a pair of 1080p cameras you are welcome to share your feedback below as well as some example 3D videos you’ve recorded.

For more information about the GoPro 3D HERO 1080p 3D Video Recording System…

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Trying Cineform Neo3D For Stereoscopic 3D Video Adjustment

December 27th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Everyone that has tried experimenting with shooting video in stereo 3D and then trying to do some simple editing and adjustment has faced the problem of the lack of more consumer oriented software solutions that can make his life easier when working with stereoscopic 3D video. There are already a few of course, with Sony Vegas Pro 10 probably on top of my list, although it it also not perfect, it still comes at a quite affordable price considering that besides stereoscopic 3D features you also get a quite powerful video editing software. And being a 3D enthusiast that is just experimenting and shooting 3D video just for fun, paying thousands of dollars for professional hardware and software is just not an option…

Of course that does not mean I’m not curious how other more professional solutions work and what features they offer, despite their significantly higher price, if they are the perfect thing you need, then sometimes they are worth the higher price. With that said, after shooting some test 3D video footage of a test drive BMW 740d automobile, I decided that it is time to try the Cineform Neo3D as a tool for preparing the raw video footage for further editing in a NLE editor like Adobe Premiere or Sony Vegas. And by preparing I mean converting the raw H.264 footage (MTS file container) from the two Sony SR11E cameras I’m using to capture the video in the not so demanding but bigger in size Cineform compression format and a more compatible AVI file container for more comfortable editing later on. Then after changing the format to do some adjustments to the left and right video material in order for them to match better and to provide more comfortable depth for the viewer. These two things are pretty much the main purpose of the Cineform Neo3D software package, and note that I’m not calling it a plugin as it is not designed to work with specific video editor, but instead stays completely transparent and independent from the software you open the output video with. This is exactly what is making it, at least in theory, the perfect solution for your stereoscopic 3D video editing workflow as you should be able to apply changes to the output video pretty much on the fly and do corrections as needed.

Being a professional product, the Cineform Neo3D is available in separate versions for both Windows and Mac platforms and does support a very wide range of professional video formats, features and non-linear video editors such as Premiere Pro, After Effects, Final Cut Pro, Media Composer etc. Aside from allowing you to do pretty much all the needed stereo 3D adjustments for both the left and right source material, separately or together, you can also do some color correction and even add text and graphic overlay over the 3D video footage. That sounds pretty much exactly what one would need for preparing his source video material before importing it into a video editing application to maybe add some effects do some cuts and so on, however it comes with a quite high price of $2,995 USD. Now this maybe nothing to a professional who is working with 3D video, but for an enthusiast doing this for fun and for non-commercial purposes it is quite expensive actually. The good thing is that Cineform offers a 15 day fully functional trial version of Neo3D that you can download and test to see if it will fit in your workflow and do exactly what you need done to your source 3D material, and that is exactly what I did…

Even before starting, I’ve heard some professionals recommend the Neo3D, so I’ve had very high hopes for it. The latest version available that I’ve downloaded and installed was and it seems that Cineform is quite actively developing the software as there are new builds released quite often. During the installation I got a waring that I don’t have a suitable AC3 decoder and QuickTime installed and was directed by the software to download them. So far, so good, but before installing them I wanted to see if the software will run or not… well it did not want to properly start without QuickTime, it was just showing the loading screen and after a while ti disappeared without any warning or message, after installing QuickTime it was starting properly. At first I needed a few minutes to familiarize with the FirstLight interface, I’ve tried a few things and I managed to crash the software quite a few times before getting to know the basic stuff, not that it is that hard. Then I went in to Cineform’s Techblog for some interesting articles with additional information, you can find useful tips and tricks there, but the information is a bit unorganized for newcomers and in general people new to Cineform’s products.

The thing that was most important for me while testing the Cineform Neo3D and using the FirstLight software that is a part of the package was to get a proper set of tools that will allow me to do the needed corrections to the 3D source video that I’m shooting with a custom 3D camera rig. The 3D Corrections available in the software were actually quite good and allow a lot of flexibility in fixing not so big issues with a flawed shot. However if the flaw you need to fix is a bit more serious than the average small misalignment you might have some issues using the tools that you have available. For example you have sliders for the most common types of corrections that you might need and those sliders are limited to some maximum positive or negative values. The standard limits are pretty much Ok for smaller issues, but if you have had a more serious misalignment and you want to salvage at least some usable material, then you cannot just type the higher values in the boxes after the sliders as they are not being saved as values after you exit the box. Using the plus and minus buttons at the end at least works to override the sliders limits, but they increase/decrease with a very little steps and it would mean a lot of clicking to get a higher value set. In Vegas Pro 10 the 3D adjustment FX for example works pretty much the same way, but there you can just type in the higher number you need in the boxes after you reach the limits of the sliders.

So next I’m moving to the 3D Display types. I know that Neo3D does support 3D Vision, but only if you have a Quadro card and use the OpenGL Quad-Buffer 3D mode (OpenGL 3D), however using the Side by Side output and opening the video in the 3D Vision Video Player in theory shoud’ve worked even with 3D Vision and GeFroce for some sort of a preview. Unfortunately the video player crashes a few seconds after opening the video, so it did not work as expected, making it harder to do a quicker preview with 3D Vision unless you have a Quadro GPU. Another issue for me personally is due to the fact that the Side by Side and Over-Under modes are with respectively half width and half height and not with full frame resolution for both eyes. So if I have a video with 1920×1080 resolution for the left and another one with the same resolution for the right eye, the output in these two modes will still be 1920×1080 with the two frames squeezed in that frame resolution. This of course also works quite nice, but will sacrifice some of the fine details and I may not want that to happen, so a workaround with two copies of the file and settings for the left and right eye only output is required to get a full resolution output in an external software for playback or editing.

So what is the verdict? Well, Cineform Neo3D is a good and quite powerful professional solution, but it apparently still needs a bit more fixing of small issues and some more attention to the finer details that make all the difference in order to make the software more functional and flexible. I haven’t gone into too much on other features, besides the most important that are related to the 3D adjustment, because these are the ones I needed working as best as possible. And most of the “problems” I’ve faced why trying the software I was able to overcome with a simple workaround, however if I had to pay three thousand dollars for that software I would expect not to have to use workarounds to do the things I need to. But anyway, I’d recommend you to download and try the trial version of the software, it might work better for what you need and you may not have the issues I had. For me personally, I’d probably stick for now with Sony Vegas Pro 10 for my 3D video editing needs, although it comes with a bit more limited features as opposed to what Neo3D has in terms of adjustment options. I haven’t given up on Neo3D, but I’ll wait a few more builds before trying it again.

For more information and to download the trial version of Cineform Neo3D…

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Premiere Pro CS5 Stereoscopic 3D Video Editing with Dave Helmley

July 15th, 2010 · 10 Comments · Other S3D Tech

Here is a 7 part series in which Dave Helmly from Adobe walks you through a complete 3D Stereo workflow with Premiere Pro CS5. This is a start to finish workflow and a must see for anyone getting started with 3D Stereo video shooting and editing or just interested in the technology and the whole workflow. The videos start from the basic 3D camera rigs, covers Active, Passive and Anaglyph viewing methods as well how to play your videos on a consumer 3D HDTV. The actual importing and editing part of the footage also relies on a new 64 bit CS5 plug-in called Cineform neo 3D HD that can apparently help in making things when working 3D content much easier. I would really recommend you to watch all the 7 parts of the series as they really can help you learn and understand some things and may even make your life much easier if you are working with 3D video…

In Part 1 Dave Helmley covers the different types of user made stereo 3D camera rigs and the professional Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D camera. As well as some important information and things you should be aware of regarding the hardware you’ll be using to shoot video in 3D with two cameras…

In Part 2 of the series Dave Helmley talks about the different type of glasses for viewing 3D content – different anaglyph glasses, active shutter glasses like 3D Vision and passive polarized glasses normally used in 3D cinemas. What are the differences and what works well and what not, what to prefer etc. And then starting with Premiere Pro CS5 and the Cineform neo 3D HD plugin.

Part 3 of the series covers opening and converting video from different sources to the CineForm compression format that apparently works well for more comfortable fast and easy editing, instead of directly using the heavy H.264 compressed AVCHD footage that you normally get form an HD consumer video camera. Also importing video from the professional Panasonic AG-3DA1 3D camera is covered as it is a bit different. Then how you can sync the left and right video footage, something that usually is one of the biggest issues when you are shooting with a custom made 3D camera rig.

Part 4 of the series covers the additional alignment that you might need to do to the video footage you’ve imported in order to fix some possible issues that were not perfect while shooting. Aligning the left and right video footage properly can help you get better results and correct some mistakes that you might’ve done in the shooting process. You can also play a bit with some additional features of the Cineform plugin which is quite powerful and flexible and as mentioned can greatly ease your workflow when working with 3D content. And the plugin also supports Nvidia’s 3D Vision along with other popular modes for viewing 3D content while manipulating and editing video.

In Part 5 finally switching to Premiere Pro CS5, where a 3D project is being made again with the help of the Cineform, importing the already imported and prepared 3D video footage int he previous step. The Cineform plugin also enhances the preview support with different 3D viewing methods while editing and previewing the video content you are working on.

in Part 6 Dave Helmley talks about some of the additional filters you can take advantage of during the editing process that are added with the Cineform plugin as well as exporting the 3D content when you finish editing.

The last 7th part is just to show how the things look and work on a MAC instead of PC as the focus on the previous parts was the PC and using the software under Windows, so if you are a MAC user then you should see this last part of the series.

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