Tag Archives: Stereo 3D

Mind The Gap (aka 3DTango)

Karel Bata 3D Tango

A 3D short currently doing the festival circuit inspired by Zbigniew Rybczýnski’s Tango.
I saw Tango at the Annecy Animation Festival. He’d cleverly composited multiple layers to create the illusion of an impossible number of people in a room:

tango

During my MA in Stereo 3D at Ravensbourne College, I created a version taking this idea into another dimension – 3D Tango. At one point there are 16 layers of green-screen 3D image – and each with a left and a right master.  That has been a lot of work in post!

Featuring Daisy Batova, Alfie Albert, and Helena Kuntz.

Click on any image for a closer view.

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Mind The Gap has so far screened at:

3DKIFF, Seoul, S. Korea, 28 October, 2016
LA 3-D Movie Festival, Los Angeles, December 8 2016
3D Stereo MEDIA, Liege, 14 December 2016
SD&A San Francisco, 31 January, 2017


 

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Some Common Errors in Stereo 3D

Alfie Albert at Baker Street station
“Now, where’s that 3rd dimension gone?”

Here’s a freebie download from me! This is a video I created as a teaching aid when I taught Stereo 3D to MAs and staff at Ravensbourne College.
There are nine short clips, each with a different 3D error. I played the video to the students, and then asked them to identify the error in each clip.

You can view it on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/VVGAlOLLiJo

Screen Shot 2015-10-11 at 19.04.29

And you are free to download the original HD file here:
https://mega.nz/#!Ssog3SQB!-JMxuW_az3njNEQRiyca3-Ru28euVC7RdIUWhcpB4ic (320MB)
Note: to download click the BLUE TEXT beneath the red button!

This was recorded with two Canon 105s in SBS mode converged about 8ft away. IA=4″

Here’s what I did in the classroom:

I first show ① ‘Raw’ and explain that this is straight from camera, but I’ve made some minor vertical and horizontal shifts to line the images up, and a small zoom in to eliminate cropping. Can the students spot anything else that may still need correcting?
I pause/repeat the video while they consider. They’re unlikely to see anything relevant, but it depends on who they are.
I then show ② to ⑨ saying that I have introduced some kind of error in each, and ask if they can spot what it may be.

The errors are:
① Raw (no errors added)
② Color differences between L & R
③ One eye soft
④ Vertical disparity
⑤ Out of sync
⑥ Rotational disparity
⑦ Zoom disparity
⑧ L & R reversed
⑨ Raw (same as 1)

I then ask them to look more closely at 9 and see if they can spot any errors they missed before.
There’s at least three!


The actor is the most excellent Alfie Albert
Video extract is from ‘3DTango’

*and please DON’T remove my name from the video!

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Happy When It Rains

Karel Bata - Happy When It RainsClick image to enlarge

The First Shoot

This 3D short, a faux music video using the immortal track by Garbage was my first attempt at some serious 3D. It started life as a test to see how well a pair of Canon 105s performed on a Genus Hurricane 3D Rig (everything was fresh out its box) courtesy of the inventor, tornado-chaser Alister Chapman, to whom I am eternally grateful.

Hurricane RigHurricane Rig with Canon 105s (Click to enlarge)

This was during that whole post-Avatar wave of enthusiasm – and I was indeed most enthused. I had put together a Directors’ Guild 3D event, out of which grew The Z Axis, a networking organization for 3D professionals. Things were buzzing. Alister then asked if I could get him a venue to demo the Hurricane / 105 combo. In return I asked to use the rig for one hour in an adjacent theatre and shoot something.

I could have shot test charts, and folks at different distances, but I wanted to do something practical: hand-held and moving. And fun. A music video clip was a do-able challenge, but one hour (!) would mean some very solid prep.

I was lucky to have a clutch of Ravensbourne Stereo3D MA students eager to help. My daughter Daisy was keen to perform in front of camera, and Alister would be on hand to make sure everything was plugged in OK. There were things I wanted to test. Fast-cutting is supposedly a no-no in 3D (according to some industry experts) and I wanted to push that. And there were things in post. Various plug-ins, such as ToonIt and VideoGogh can create some very funky effects, but are designed for 2D. Small changes in the source image can create big differences in the rendered result. So Left and Right sources could yield results that wouldn’t fuse properly and thus lose the 3D. I wanted to see how far I could push this.

Daisy_Batova_Ghost
Red Giant ToonIt

Lighting

The theatre we shot in was nice, but a bit dingy. I could have re-lit the whole area, but didn’t have time and wanted a simpler solution that would still lift the material. I’ve always liked using ring lights (very 80s!) as they create a controllable glamorous look, which would be in keeping with the shoot’s intended style. But – I had no budget to hire one. So I had to make one. I found a tutorial: DIY Ring Light (YouTube) This looked very do-able. However, it used a modified toilet seat(!) which was bulky and would have to be tripod mounted, and – to be blunt – I thought a toilet seat wasn’t really very cool. It is important to look cool on set, isn’t it? So I figured I could do better, and made one from an aluminium bicycle wheel rim. It was light enough to hand hold, and had two separate dimmable circuits. It did a fantastic job. Another couple of lights on stands provided back-lighting.

Karel Bata - Ring Light Daisy Batova
For this CU some lights have been removed to create more modelling

The results were good. The Canon 105s performed well, and I would use them several times again. There was some noise in the shadows, but Red Giant Denoiser got rid of that. The images were slightly mis-aligned (in 3D they always are) but the Hurricane was a rigid mount and the results were rock solid. There was a bit of keystoning, but no real distortion to worry about. Or at least the distortions matched! I was impressed and decided to continue this 3D experiment and shoot some more.

The Second Shoot

Did I mention I had no budget? But I did have a pair of Pentax Optio WS80 cameras. These give a surprisingly nice picture (noisy, but I could fix that) but didn’t run in sync, and the only way I had of mounting them was on a simple sliding camera plate. I attached this to a monopod which I hand-held, and clamped a weight to the bottom to add stability. The minimum practical IA was about 2 inches, aligning the cameras was tricky and never spot on, and they were inclined to move a little with use! These problems meant being clever…

3D Rig using two Pentax Optio WS80Click to enlarge

Two cameras running freely will run at slightly different frame rates, and will drift in and out of sync over a period of time. Most of the time they’ll be out of sync. How much depends on how much error is acceptable. This is determined by how movement there is in frame – if you’re shooting a very slowly moving subject the error is insignificant. Something fast and you have a problem. Additionally there’s no way of knowing just how out of sync they are at any time.

Add to all that the enormous IA with this rig – the distance between the lenses – and you couldn’t have a background more than a few feet away.

There are a couple of ‘fixes’ for the timing issue. You can shoot several takes and assume that at last one will give you something close enough. And you hope it’s a good take! This requires patience on everyone’s part – fortunately Daisy’s got tons – and it isn’t at all foolproof. Also one trick is you can try to make subject movement be to and from camera, rather than to the side. Objects moving towards or away have a lot more apparent movement than lateral moves with the same image shifts. Using this can help reduce apparent sync errors.

The background issue was solved by hanging a black cloth which was out of focus. Lighting made it look like smoke.

Tests showed me that relative camera shake and drift (how different the images were from each other and how that varied over time) caused by vigorous camera moves was surprisingly severe. Variations will be interpreted by the brain as fluctuating depth, will undermine the overall 3D, and will give viewers a headache! This would have to be fixed in post, and to help with that I asked Daisy to constantly look at the camera. The ring light was clearly visible in her eyes, and this gave me something on which to later lock After Effect’s motion stabilizing tools. It also created a stylistic element that worked well. So, once stabilized, the two images would be locked together, and then the movement from one eye (which had been keyframed, copied, and removed) was applied to both. That way the cameras then had identical movements. Unavoidable misalignment meant the image would have to be cropped later, so shooting a little wide anticipated this.

Karel Bata - Daisy BatovaLeft and Right images’ alignment could be drastically out.

Time-Lapse

3D Time-Lapse material was shot using a pair of Canon 600Ds with bracketed exposures, and tone-mapped using Photomatix.

Karel Bata - The Shard

Post

All post was in After Effects CS6 using Red Giant’s Denoiser II, Toonit, and Particular (for the titles), RE:Vision’s VideoGogh, Fixel’s ALCE and Detailizer, Dashwood 3D Lite, and several plugs that come with After Effects. It. Was. Fiddly.

It was a challenge to keep the edit interesting – after all, it has two minutes of someone singing straight to camera.

Every shoot has it’s own problems, and my solutions here were specific to what was in front of me. They wouldn’t work for every shoot. Importantly this was a music video, and you can get away with murder – after all, who was to know what I really meant to do?

Red Giant ParticularDaisy Batova 2Daisy-Batova-4Daisy-Batova-5Daisy-Batova-3Daisy-Batova-6Daisy-Batova-2Karel Bata - Sweetheart FilmsClick any image to enlarge

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Goodbye To Language 3D – a review

Cutting edge 3D

Well, I’ve been asked to give my opinion of this film, so…

Godard was doing this kind of in-yer-face stuff decades ago, and he hasn’t changed. Not that he has any need to – the French love him. But I still don’t get what having naked actors reading from books is all about. There’s the occasional off-beat touch, like when someone just walks into frame and drags a ‘character’ off. Or when a passer-by in the background sees what is happening, then walks forward and becomes part of the action (what there is of it). A novel way to introduce someone. But there’s little of this, and he’s done it all before. Except that…

He’s now got a dog to keep him company. So we follow the dog around and watch it swim and poo (I closed my eyes dear reader) while he tells us that dogs are the only animals that love you more than themselves. Really Mr. Godard? That’s so deep. But really, honestly, it’s not. It’s dog-lovers’ twoddle, and can be seriously challenged on a number of levels. Which is true of every other pearl of wisdom he offers us. It’s all rather like having an endless stream of those Facebook images with captions attached thrown at you. I spent at least twenty minutes thinking, “Yes, but…” until I gave up.

Then there’s the 3D. It’s excruciating. If a student turned this in they would fail the course. I had to keep closing my eyes, and after several times of doing so I found I was napping. Meanwhile four people snuck out…

And watching this further I realised there’s something amiss.

We’re meant to believe this is all done lo-tech: GoPros, DSLRs etc. with huge IAs, and just thrown together. They (Godard and cameraman Fabrice Aragno) are showing us their bold 3D experiments, in the raw. But really, I can see that someone’s been fixing this in post. The parallaxes may have been horrendous, but the vertical, rotational, lens and other errors are (by comparison) minimal. They’re still there, but much less so than should have been the case with the rather slapdash approach to 3D that is in evidence during shooting. This really should be totally unwatchable, but someone’s been messing with it.

So I went to IMdB to see who got credited with the editing, and no one is. Are we meant to believe Godard edited this himself? No way. 3D editing involves a huge learning curve. The fixes needed here require complex equipment and the skill to use it. Language gives the impression of being a 3D film made with minimal resources, and snubbing the high tech approach we usually see, but in fact that’s not the case at all.

EDIT: Or maybe I’m wrong! This blog is generating some disagreement from folks who think the 3D is just plain terrible and see no reason to believe that any substantial fixing has taken place at all!

To my amusement I see the IMdB keywords are: “dog | excrement | flatulence | experimental film | 3d”  Pretty accurate I think.

Rating: 2/10

Stereo 3D Reading List

3d-movie-making-book
3D Movie Making – Bernard Mendiburu
Absolutely essential reading.

3-diy
3-DIY: Stereoscopic Moviemaking on an Indie Budget
Great book by one of the giants in 3D.

3D Storytelling by Phil 'Captain 3D' McNally
3D Storytelling: How Stereoscopic 3D Works and How to Use It
Excellent and well illustrated primer by the master of 3D.

Sky3D Logo
http://bit.ly/3DBasics-SkyTV
Sky’s Basic 3D Guide. A very good introduction.
Sky3D’s Broadcast Spec – love it or hate it…
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coraline_19
http://bit.ly/CoralineASC

Perception and the art of 3D Storytelling
Perception and The Art of 3D Storytelling
Two excellent articles about Brian Gardner’s seminal work on Coraline
– he’s recently shot to fame with his work on Life of Pi.

Geoff Boyle
3D Cinematography Basics – Geoff Boyle’s excellent primer

MCNALLY
Awesome page on 3D volume by Dreamworks’ genius
Captain 3D. http://www.captain3d.com/temp/cml/cml_volume.html

Andrew Woods
Andrew Woods’ paper on the parallel v converged debate causes
much controversy and is required reading
http://www.andrewwoods3d.com/spie93pa.html

Body Image
http://bit.ly/pUXhPx
Bernard Harper’s paper on Body Image Distortion in 2D/3D

derobes_methode
http://bit.ly/Methode-Derobe
An article on the Methode Derobe

Screen shot 2013-02-11 at 17.35.03
http://bit.ly/e1eoi9
Technicolor’s common errors chart. Some debate about this!

If you have any suggestions on ways to improve this list, please let me know.

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Scorsese on Hugo
” A loose connection you reckon?”

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