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Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras

COW Library : Stereoscopic 3D : Steven Bradford : Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
CreativeCOW presents Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras -- Stereoscopic 3D Review


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I've been shooting 3D video for nearly as long as I've been attending NAB. For most of those 25 years -- ok, all of those years -- I've always felt like 3D was some kind of clandestine activity, like I needed a secret handshake to be enter the forlorn (but not officially forbidden) 3D video booth. Sometimes I found the lone 3D video vendor in some dark corner of the convention center, back with the defibrillators and CO2 refills for the refreshment stands. Until this year. What a difference a blockbuster makes! 3D everywhere!

My mission this year was to check out the 3D camera offerings, and I wasn't disappointed in the volume of cameras that were shown. It all boiled down to three general types of 3d cameras: Completely integrated cameras are most similar to the 2D camcorders we us now, with the lenses, processing electronics and recording all in one package for quick operation. From the sides or rear, you might not even be able to tell that it is a twin lens camera. Because it is all one piece, it's not possible to swap out cameras or lenses.

Side-by-Side Rigs have two cameras mounted next to each other, emulating the position of our eyes. Although this seems the most logical mounting scheme, in practice it is difficult to get cameras that can be mounted even as close together as our eyes are. Even if the camera and lens is tiny enough, we often need to bring the center point of cameras even closer together for some shots, specifically close-ups. Thus the need for the next category:

Mirror Rigs use a beam splitter mirror, similar to a teleprompter mirror, except that the prompter is replaced with another camera identical to the main camera. The second camera might be pointed up into the mirror, or down, or even from the side. The great advantage is that practically any width camera or lens combination can work with a mirror rig. Operationally, it is possible to decrease the inter-axial (the distance between the centers of the lenses) all the way down to zero.

The disadvantage is that Mirror Rigs are considerably larger than Side-by-Side rigs. They can be much larger than 35mm film cameras and may even be as big, if not bigger than color television camera from 50 years ago. Yet they are the favored all-around 3D rig because of their flexibility. Almost any size lens or camera can conceivably be fitted to a mirror rig. Note that some Side-by-Side Rigs and Mirror Rigs use motion control-type motors to adjust the camera positions and lens settings. Others are essentially mounting platforms, and the meticulous positioning between setups must be done manually.

So, now that we've set the scene, let's meet the players...


3ALITY
3ality's rigs have been a major presence for both feature film and event 3D broadcasts for a few years now. They were shown in several booths with cameras from Sony, Ikegami, Panasonic, Red, etc. Their side-by-side and mirror rigs can handle just about any 3D filming situation, but their TS-5 "miniature" beam splitter got my attention. It's "only" 22 pounds without camera and lenses. That's a lot more than Panasonic's 3D camcorder (later in this article), but this is a much more capable system, able to shoot close or far, with several different cameras and lens combinations. With small cameras, it can be hand held, Steadicam, or remote crane mounted. It comes with software control of all the positioning and alignment of the cameras. The operator can set up shots that change zoom and focus and inter-axial during the shot. The TS-5 should be very popular with film and broadcast vets new to 3D who are accustomed to the larger weights of 2D 35mm and EFP cameras.


3ality rig with a pair of Ikegami HDL-51 cameras.
3ality rig with a pair of Ikegami HDL-51 cameras. All photos by Steven Bradford with noted exceptions.



Comments

Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Norman Mc Isaac
Thanks for the history and current affairs lesson.
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Rob Burkhardt
Great info on how many companies are putting money into 3D rigs.
@Rob Burkhardt
by Steven Bradford
Yes, and I still managed to miss some, 3D Film Factory, Interscope, others.

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Justin Zion
Great article! I had the pleasure of shooting with camera for a few weeks here in Chicago. My partner and I are thrilled with the results that it has given us. We just shot the first Bluegrass music video in 3D with this camera. This is a great camera.

You can read some press about our experience with the camera here:

http://www.reelchicago.com/story.cfm?storyID=2899

Justin Zion
Production Manager
Fred Blurton Productions
http://www.fbptv.com
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Jeff Cools
Nice work Steven! I just wanted to add my 2 cents, 3D film factory was also at NAB and I think their mirror rig is the cheapest (cost wise) around. Also we try and shoot completely parallel when doing stereoscopic production and avoid any "toe in". This gives us a cleaner anaglyph version for the web. Also, iz3D has a 3D monitor that also uses passive glasses and isn't very expensive. More on me at http://www.jeffcools.com
+1
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by clyde desouza
I'm surprised the screenplane rig showed Canon DSLRs on them. Was that for cosmetic look only? in absence of smaller cams such as si2k minis?

As it stands the DSLR's cannot be genlocked and even shooting at a higher fps and doing clapper sync will not assure you scanline level (cmos) sync.

So why show those cams on a rig? anything with moderate motion would show strobing.
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Paul Pieczynski
I wonder how is about lighting up the scene? Is 3d working only on some keys (blue,green) or there is a chance to 3dREC the scene that is actually in real. Like a tv brodcase of talkin heads.? Finlay, how to light up? Contra light is cuting dimensions? First plan, second. Or there is some other technic.
@Paul Pieczynski
by Steven Bradford
Not sure what your question is-- must be a language issue. Lighting is fundamentally the same, though you usually want a higher f stop for more depth of field, which means more light most of the time. One thing to watch out for is that each lens can get slightly different glare or haze from the different angles.

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Louis McLellan
Did they give a price on the Panasonic?

Editor, Sound Designer, Stop-Motion Animator, Lighting, and Pack Mule
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Steve Wargo
We just had the Panasonic Crew through here (Steven - It was McGowan and his cronies) and they had their little 3D item and the price point was $40k.

Steve Wargo
Tempe, Arizona
It's a dry heat!

Sony HDCAM F-900 & HDW-2000/1 deck
5 Final Cut (not quite PRO) systems
Sony HVR-M25 HDV deck
2-Sony EX-1 HD .

Ask me how to Market Yourself using Send Out Cards
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Steven Bradford
Yes, that's when I was shooting quite a bit of 3D surgeries also, there was a lot of interest in it then.

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.
Re: Stereoscopic Storm - NAB 3D Cameras
by Mike Cohen
interesting array of cameras - and it will be interesting to see how 3D television pans out.

Me? I made a 3D surgical video in 1994 - the audience required LCD glasses.

Mike Cohen
@Mike Cohen
by Steven Bradford
It's $21k. You have to put down a $1000 deposit to order one for delivery in September. Although a lot of people have already ordered so a deposit now might have to wait longer?.
http://pro-av.panasonic.net/en/3d/

Steven Bradford
http://www.3dstereomedia.com 3D company I've worked with since 1990
http://www.seanet.com/~bradford/ my personal home page, find my greenscreen page there.
http://www.seattlefilminstitute.com the school I teach at.


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