The Panasonic comes with all the bells and whistles any 3D editor could ask for: pro-connectors, 10 bit 3D LUT for great color accuracy, 3 stereo viewing options including simultaneous, line-by-line, and side-by-side.
But when we brought it in to try it out we ran into an unexpected problem – the display’s polarizing filter wouldn’t work properly with our RealD glasses. The colour was off – pink tinges galore.
Funny thing was when we turned our 3D glasses sideways it seemed to work. Hmmmm.
We’re not sure whether it’s a proprietary or technology issue. The Panasonic tech support team wasn’t sure either.
So in the end, we chose to send the Panasonic back.
We weren’t up to buying another set of 3D glasses on top of the ones we already had. Panasonic charges $100 per set which, along with the pricier monitor—Panasonic $10 000 vs. JVC $6 600 —is a bit hard to swallow.
We’ll nail down a dual stream monitor soon enough. It’s just going to take a little more digging.
Turns out Vizio’s passive screens do provide a high quality and comfortable viewing experience, but there are also noticeable losses in resolution, jaggies, and occasional blurring of objects due to the way their screens display 3D images for each eye.
This is probably why Samsung, Sony, Panasonic are still pushing active shutters.
Nevertheless, passive-polarized technology has a great impact on the 3D market.
Light-weight, cheaper glasses make way for cheaper and more compact 3DTV’s—currently Vizio’s smallest consumer model is 42” 3D HDTV with even tinier models rumored on the horizon.
And like 1080p took over the top price bracket in HD dropping 720p prices and enticing consumers into HD converts, passive displays have the potential to influence 3D rollout in precisely the same way.
So in the end affordable passive-polarized displays provide the right nudge to get more people on the 3D train. After that, there’s no going back.
But after seeing the same footage in stereoscopic 3D I just wasn’t satisfied – I wanted to give people with 3D-enabled devices the chance to not only experience the stuff we shot, but to judge its quality for themselves.
So I had my editing team upload a side-by-side version of interior shoot selects to YouTube:
It seemed like a simple plan – put the videos on and set them to 3D.
We managed to get anaglpyh playback working fine, with the correct aspect ratio and eye orientation. We then pushed forward to see if modern stereoscopic 3D methods worked.
They didn’t. When we tried to play the clips using half-width, side-by-side, 3D they were a no go on our JVC GD-463D10U monitor. We tried using both a MacBook Pro with DVI to HDMI and a PS3 with HDMI to HDMI.
We also tried to play three other 3D-enabled videos on YouTube that were uploaded by other people and came up against the same issue. I’ve embedded these at the end of the post if you’ve got 3D-enables gear and would like to give them a go.
What’s going wrong?
From what my team can tell, the problem seems to be that YouTube does not map the pixels properly for TV playback.
A huge caveat – and my call out to the 3D-enabled – this is not to say the YouTube 3D function definitely doesn’t work. It just doesn’t seem to work on the equipment that we have access to – a Mac computer, a PS3, and a passive filter 3DTV.
More equipment than 99.999999 per cent of the world has … but still. Our tests were not exhaustive.
The next move
This setback has put me in a difficult position. YouTube has the potential to offer a free 3D online playback solution that’s more comprehensive than anything else. And I really want to get our stuff on there so people can check it out – especially since more and more consumers are buying 3D-enabled viewing devices.
But YouTube just isn’t working for us. So where do I go from here?
We could host future 3D content on our own web server or perhaps on another web video community like Vimeo, but doing so would seriously cripple our reach. Missing out on YouTube is clearly a doozy when it comes to exposure … it’s one of the top-searched sites in the world.
And there’s another downside: neither our web server or Vimeo offer the ability to toggle between different 3D delivery formats that YouTube (in theory) could. This means we would have to render out and upload many different versions of the same video – more work for my team.
We can do further YouTube tests, and see if we can work around the issues we’ve encountered so far. But this means potentially re-encoding and uploading new videos. It will probably require a great deal of time to invent workarounds, render new files, and upload the new tests – especially since my edit crew also has to meet the demands of film projects that are currently in production.
Also, further testing at this point feels like it could be a gamble. As far as we can tell Google has very limited support for the feature, so our only option is try, and try some more, to see if there is something undocumented that works, or try, and try some more, only to discover that it really doesn’t work after all – at least not yet.
The other option is to abandon YouTube. That means abandoning any desire or investment to attain any of the benefit of having our 3D content on the mega site – at least until the 3D feature becomes more mainstream and (hopefully) functional.
Or finally, the wild card option: you, dear reader, have successfully watched this type of footage on YouTube, have the magic solution to this seriously irritating problem, and can’t wait to share it with us …
There were some hiccups when we first got the software, but we worked out the kinks and it’s been pretty solid ever since.
Now our compositor has added the program to his arsenal – and it’s paying off once again.
Before incorporating CineForm, our VFX team gave our editor ProRes videos. They would then to be transcoded into CineForm files and muxed – two extra steps for our editor for each video every single time.
Now, he can read, write and export CineForm 3D files in Adobe After Effects, and deliver them – already muxed – directly to the editor.
I’ve come across an interesting experiment that captured consumer reaction to the 3DTV experience.
I’ve come across an interesting experiment that captured consumer reaction to the 3DTV experience.
The Nielsen Company invited consumers in Las Vegas, Nevada to watch a 30-minute 3D reel featuring sports, nature, comedy, a music concert, movies and video games and then weigh in on the content.
No surprise – the majority said it was better than 2D. But what’s really interesting is why. They didn’t only like what they saw … they liked how the 3DTV experience made them feel.
Here’s what they found:
-6 out of 10 participants agreed the 3D content was better than their current 2DTV viewing
-48% found 3DTV more engaging
-57% found 3DTV made them ‘feel like they were part of the action’
-48% felt ‘closer to the characters’
These reactions speak to the immersive nature of 3D television. The journey into the third dimension is not only visual – it’s emotional.
For example, our editor Brian Mann and I were checking out a 3D stock footage demo of a waterfall a week or so ago. As I sat in my chair and watched the water flow over the rocks, it was like I was sitting in the middle of a forest right next to it, about to toss a rock into the stream.
I’ve seen a lot of waterfall B roll in my life … but I’ve never felt like that.
More and more people are demanding this superior experience from their home entertainment.
Here’s what the Las Vegas participants wanted to see more of:
Nielsen study: participants were exposed to 30 minutes of 3D content in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Another Nielson survey asked 27,000 online consumers from across 53 countries if they currently owned or will purchase a 3DTV in the next 12 months.
The good news for 3DTV:
-15% ‘probably will purchase’
-9% ‘definitely will purchase’
-4% already own a 3DTV
But there’s a ways to go:
-21% are still undecided
-19% ‘probably won’t purchase’
-33% ‘will definitely not purchase’
Many consumers are still skeptical about 3DTV. It’s a fact. And it’s a fact that we shouldn’t ignore.
But look at how far we’ve come in just a year.
Last January it would have been next to impossible to purchase a 3D TV for your home. Fast forward to the 2010 holiday season, when 3D home entertainment systems popped up in every major electronics store.
And availability isn’t the only thing that’s improving: the technology out there is getting better and cheaper.
What the future holds…
As 3DTV evolution and accessibility continues to grow, so does the opportunity for great storytelling in a whole new dimension.
And the more people who experience how meaningful this experience is, the more momentum 3DTV will gain.
Our editor, Brian Mann, recently came across Artbeats, an online source for royalty-free stock footage in high quality stereoscopic 3D. This type of footage could allow us to fill visual gaps and transition between scenes while keeping the show as 3D as possible.
We tested Artbeats free download of a waterfall in S3D. It looked fantastic and lived up to their promise of high quality 3D stock footage.
Still image of Artbeats waterfall download. View with Red/Cyan glasses for full 3D effect.
3D stock options:
Artbeats’ clips are available in S3D HD and S3D 4K formats. Predominantly, their footage has been shot on RED ONE or RED MS using a stereo rig. There is not an extensive range of categories… yet. Mostly they feature aerials, animals and nature.
On the upside, new content is added monthly and will soon include pyrotechnic, new city scene, establishment, winter scene and additional aerial collections shot on RED Epic cameras using a beam splitter rig.
Metadata provided by Artbeats:
– positive parallax percentage (the customer has the option to position and crop to set convergence)
– interocular separation measurements
– maximum screen display size (anywhere from 42” televisions to 42’ movie screens)
– frame rate (24p, 25p and most in 30p)
– clip length (5-60+ seconds)
What it will cost you:
Prices range from $449-$799 USD for left/right and side-by-side formats. Some rights managed clips have a higher sticker price, so be sure to check the fine print. They also sell the RAW (.R3D) file of a RED clip for an extra $100.
Artbeats is right on the pulse of 3D accessibility. We haven’t purchased anything yet, but we will certainly keep them in mind as we move forward.
-There are distance limitations as with any side by side camera rig. For instance when we were shooting in a room approx. 3m x 3m the closest we could get is about 1.2 meters to the subject. When we zoomed in we had to move to about 2.5 to 3 meters – we were out the door before we got a clean and well converged shot of the subject.
-To get anaglyphic 3D press the “mix” button.
-Both the viewfinder and LCD screen use anaglyphic as convergence guide.
-The LCD screen is soft when in “mix” mode – so focus needs to be continually checked.
What you’ll like:
-It shoots decent EXT.
What you won’t:
-The small sensor means that the image shows noise in low light.
Jury’s out for now. I’ve sent the footage into post, and will make the call on if it’s worth it to add to our 3D arsenal when I see the goods.