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3D with dual Sony CX550V camcorders (and underwater housing)


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#1 echeng

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 02:18 AM

(reproduced from my journal)

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Two Sony CX550V camcorders with wide-angle lenses attached

I was on my way to bed tonight when I decided to do some 3D experiments using my dual Sony CX550V camcorder setup (which I am putting into an underwater housing soon). The two camcorders are mounted on plates and rails from Really Right Stuff, and both also have Sony 0.75x wide-angle adapters attached to them. The stereo base (inter-ocular distance) is 67mm.

I recorded a few seconds of video, transcoded the AVCHD into ProRes 422 LT, and imported the clips into Final Cut Pro. It was my first test with Dashwood Cinema Solution's Stereo3D Toolbox v2, and I relied heavily on the tutorials they've put online in order to put left and right video clips together into sequences that I could preview dynamically in side-by-side mode or by using anaglyph (red/cyan) glasses. For my first tests, I adjusted convergence using the Stereo3D Geometry video filter, which offers sliders for adjusting pretty much every geometry attribute in both left and right eyes.

In the images below, you can see screen grabs of video converged at different points in the frame: the music stand in the front, the front of the table, the fruit on the table, and the back wall. As you view images with convergence points further and further back, you'll notice some of the elements (like the front of the table) start to stick out in front of the screen.

Note that I didn't physically converge the cameras with toe-in convergence. Instead, I adjusted convergence in post production. This sort of convergence results in a loss of image in the right and left sides of the frame, but when I have my anaglyph 3D glasses on, I can't really tell.

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3D frame grab from video converged on the music stand

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3D frame grab from video converged on the front of the table

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3D frame grab from video converged on the butternut squash on the table

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3D frame grab from video converged on the back wall

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Side view of 3D test area (music stand, table, entrance to hallway).

You can download the full-sized images for a closer look.
eric cheng
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#2 Ferg42

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:11 AM

Very interesting test Eric. The results look pretty good and show that careful post work is much of the key to getting a good 3D effect. The 3D anaglyph videos posted on youtube etc are highly variable in quality. Really looking forward to seeing some underwater results- it could look fantastic. Got any plans for a dual projector set-up with polarized filters?
I'm also toying with the idea of housing two of these small sony cams.
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#3 loftus

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:13 AM

Eric,
My understanding of stereoscopic 3-D vision is that it is essentially effective at distances of less than 10 feet. It would also seem to follow that point of convergence would / should change as the distance to the subject changes within from 0-10 feet. How is this compensated for with a moving subject approaching you or moving away?
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#4 MikeVeitch

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 07:21 AM

i love butternut squash soup :P i like the cat pillow.
Hmm... the rest of the post? keode, tdk mengerti..

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#5 echeng

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:30 AM

Eric,
My understanding of stereoscopic 3-D vision is that it is essentially effective at distances of less than 10 feet. It would also seem to follow that point of convergence would / should change as the distance to the subject changes within from 0-10 feet. How is this compensated for with a moving subject approaching you or moving away?


I've been chatting with Howard Hall extensively over the past couple of years, planning this initial foray into 3D video. In their 3D IMAX productions, every shot is planned extensively because the camera they use is tuned / set so the 3D effect is perfect at an exact distance from the camera (they have different setups and typically shoot parallel, although they do occasionally converge the camera a bit, physically). Giant screen 3D is different because you can place a lot of the action in front of the screen (shooting parallel does this), but modern convention seems to be to have most of the action behind the screen (which means diverging in post, if you're shooting a parallel setup).

On land, a lot of this can be planned more easily. Underwater, we have a lot of problems -- for example, how do you converge your cameras if you're shooting through a flat port? Your lenses would no longer be orthogonal to the port glass! So practically, the vast majority of us are going to have to shoot parallel.

You can get a great 3D effect further away than 10 feet if you shoot with a wider stereo base. But of course, it is going to be difficult to light anything that far away, so i suspect that I will be shooting mostly with primary subject closer than 10 feet, anyway...
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#6 echeng

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 08:33 AM

Got any plans for a dual projector set-up with polarized filters?
I'm also toying with the idea of housing two of these small sony cams.

I'd love to do a dual projector set-up, but haven't had time to do it yet. It seems like there will be a lot of work in figuring out which projectors will actually work. I'm more likely to get a 3D LCD or plasma display at some point. I've found some solutions that will work with the Mac, but they seem like hacks, at the moment.
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#7 loftus

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 11:25 AM

What I meant about stereoscopic 3-D vision being limited to 10 feet was that beyond this distance other visual cues dominate with regard to our perception of depth and 3-D, and that beyond this distance binocular vision confers little advantage over monocular vision; I suspect that capturing 2 images beyond this distance is of diminishing value in terms of the 3-D effect as well.
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#8 echeng

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 01:28 PM

Jeff - you can just increase the stereo base, and 3D is exaggerated for objects further than 10 feet away. So if you want to shoot the Grand Canyon in crazy 3D, you just stick the cameras a few feet apart...
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#9 loftus

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Posted 19 July 2010 - 03:26 PM

Jeff - you can just increase the stereo base, and 3D is exaggerated for objects further than 10 feet away. So if you want to shoot the Grand Canyon in crazy 3D, you just stick the cameras a few feet apart...

OK; but you are talking about a 3-D 'effect' I assume, rather than duplicating realistic or real life stereoscopic vision. Thanks.
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#10 echeng

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Posted 21 July 2010 - 02:22 PM

Posted Image
:P
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#11 echeng

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 12:31 AM

I just posted many photos of the BS Kinetics DuoDive housing with ste-fra LANC electronics in an article on the home page.
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#12 SimonSpear

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Posted 22 July 2010 - 01:00 AM

Looks very interesting Eric - can't wait to see the results!

Cheers, Simon

#13 echeng

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Posted 27 July 2010 - 09:46 PM

First underwater 3D footage from the setup!

[vimeohd]13694996[/vimeohd]

More details here. :)
http://echeng.com/jo...eoscopic-video/
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#14 Steve Douglas

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Posted 28 July 2010 - 02:35 PM

I hate these cheapo cardboard 3D lenses I got with the Fathoms Magazine's 3D issue but they worked on this film. A real sense of depth. It worked! Congrats on this. I have a lot to learn I see.
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#15 scorpio_fish

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Posted 29 July 2010 - 05:06 AM

Gosh, the world is heading towards 3D and here I am, unable to enjoy it. My post Lasik monovision 3D movie experience was very annoying. How was I to know that monovision and 3D really don't go well together?
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#16 echeng

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Posted 18 August 2010 - 01:39 PM

A longer sample, from the same caves:

[vimeohd]13813219[/vimeohd]
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#17 JKrumsick

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Posted 28 August 2010 - 05:37 AM

Eric... you live a mile a minute. Amazing. I have a theory that I would like you to confirm. Because of the sea change imminent in the industry (3D taking over), would you say it's an opportune time for starting videographers to get in the game? Or is there very much demand for 3D videographers?

I only say "an oppotune time" because I would imagine that the playing field is being leveled somewhat by the introduction of 3D. No doubt currently well known videographers are thinking about making the switch but they have the same learning curves as everyone else.

#18 echeng

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Posted 31 August 2010 - 12:50 PM

Absolutely -- I've spoken to people doing full-blown 3D productions that don't seem to know anything about it. It's really strange.

So if you have experience and knowledge, there may be more work available. On the other hand, since camera work and editing are almost always separated in big productions, it's possible that cameramen may not actually need to know anything about 3D except what sort of shots work...
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#19 Ferg42

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Posted 26 March 2011 - 07:32 AM

Hi Eric (or anyone else who has the BSKinetics 3D housing!)
I'm thinking about getting this system, particularly now the new Sony cx700 is out and can shoot 60p. Assuming this new cam fits the housing and can be controlled electronically in the same way as the cx550, I have a few questions:
1.Can you access all the menu controls? The BSKinetics website seems to suggest you can, but you mention that you could not manually control exposure. How much of a problem has this been? and are you noticing any exposure differences between left and right channels?
2. Has sync been good enough to avoid any problems?
3. I'm contemplating modifying the housing to fit wet wide adapters to the front to get a wider FOV. So far the smallest ones I can find which might work give me an interaxial of 85mm- is there scope in the housing to separate the cameras by an extra 2cm? (note that it looks like the cx700 is slightly narrower than the cx550)
4.If my wide lenses are on the outside of the housing I'll want the cameras (without the internal wide adapters) right up against the flat port. I suspect I might then have problems fitting the IR blasters in. I guess I might be able to work around this with some sort of fibre-optic solution)

Thanks,

Fergus
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#20 chedden

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Posted 07 September 2011 - 02:04 PM

Eric,

It has been a year since you posted your initial experiements with the DuoDive system. Have you done anything else? Could you comment on the housing and how well it is made, functions, and, especially, how well it handles underwater. It appears bulkier than necessary for the small camcorders it houses and possibly quite awkward to handle both underwater and topside. That much air seems as if it would make the system pretty floaty. The grips seem not very solid and placed pretty far back. (I'm used to an Amphibico system that is a pound negative and balanced around the grips.) How does one manage the wing for travel (packing), transport to and from the boat, etc.? How bright is the viewscreen and is it angled for easy viewing? Are you using the OLED display?

Thanks,
Chet