3D Photography and 3D video see how it’s done

What is 3D photography and 3D video. How does it work? Can You create 3D photos and 3D videos at home? The answers are yes. Here are some easy and inexpensive methods.

 

Poor Man’s 3D Video, The Pulfrich method.

Over the years you may have seen 3D effects on TV where you had to wear glasses. A video featuring the Rolling Stones tapped in 1989 used this 3D method. Now the fun part is that anyone with a video camera can create the same effects. The effect is known as the  Pulfrich Effect discovered in 1922 by the German physicist Carl Pulfrich. pulfrich-2By the way he could not see this effect because he was blind in one eye. You’ll need special glasses to view the effect. The glasses can be made using an old pair of sunglasses. The left lens is dark and the right clear. The effect only works when there is horizontal motion occurring from left to right. The effect works because your brain perceives the darker image (viewed by the eye with the dark filter) with a delay of several hundredths of a second compared to the image seen through the clear filter. This causes the perceived position of the darker image to lag behind that of the brighter image. The amount of lag varies with the speed of motion. When your brain integrates the two images, which are perceived to be at two different horizontal positions, the result is a stereoscopic 3D effect. With two eyes, each eye sees a slightly different image. The movement described above provides the different images. Now for the brain to sync these images we need the delay. The combined effect is that the brain sees a 3D image. Get yourself the glasses and experiment. Impress your friends. The commercial releases always warn the audience that the 3D sequence is upcoming and advise the audience to put on their glasses. Sit back and watch the audience react with awe.

 

Easy Anaglyph

If you own a digital camera or a Camcorder you can create your own anaglyph photos and movies. You will of course need the glasses (not the same as above) that have one blue (cyan) and one red lens.

Anaglyph 3D glasses
Anaglyph 3D glasses

There is a shareware software named Stereo Photo maker that will do the work for you. You can use Photoshop etc but this involves a lot more work. You basically take two pictures of the same scene but with the cameras shifted apart on the same linear plane. I made myself a wooden guide using a piece of board with a quarter round nailed in place.

Simple 3D Camera guide
Simple 3D Camera guide

I take a photo then move my camera about 2.75″ left & take a second photo. Depending on your camera, you may have to experiment with the distance between left and right shots. The average distance between human eyes are 62mm ( 2.44″) for woman and 65mm ( 2.5″) for men.

3D guide showing markings
3D guide showing markings

 

 

 

Another method is use to two cheap cameras. You could rig them up besides each other and press on both shutters at the same time.

Here are some sample shots that I took using my one camera method.

Anaglyph photo Back yard chairs and tables
Anaglyph photo Back yard chairs and tables

 

Anaglyph photo Fireplace
Anaglyph photo Firepace
Anaglyph photo Backyard with snow
Anaglyph photo Backyard with snow

 

You can also create 3D video with too identical video cameras or other video capture devices. I have tried Stereoscopic Multiplexer  and Stereoscopic player and got surprising results. I used two similar HD web cams. I hope to perfect this a bit and post the results.

The main drawback with anaglyph is that it darkens the resulting image.

If you need Anaglyph glasses check these guys out.  Click here  

3d glasses
3d glasses



Real D,  the method used in commercial theatrical films involves a completely different approach. Basically the projector projects superimposed left and right images that are polarized .The light waves in each frame are alternately filtered at a rate of 144 frames per sec. The brain sees both left and right images simultaneously. The polarized  glasses filter each eye so that the left sees the left frames and the right, the right frames. The brain combines these images to produce a 3D image. This method results in a clearer and brighter image.