Thursday, November 10, 2011

Amazing Time-Lapse 3D: "Deus ex Homine"


This looks incredible on an LG Optimus 3D phone and my 8" glasses-free 3D viewing frame. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Moody Evening 3D

I shot this 3D video heading into the city on the bus on October 16th. The music is Creative Commons sourced and is just the sort of quirky thing I was looking for. I especially like the second half when I turn the camera to look West across the bus and the bridge toward toward the setting sun.

This video looks awesome on my Chinavasion-sourced 3D multimedia frame.

I used a Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W3 digital camera. Parallax was then optimised using StereoMovie Maker. The video was then edited and rendered using Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus.

Friday, November 4, 2011

The Chinavasion 3D viewer thing

I ordered a "3D Stereoscopic 8 Inch HD Photo Frame and Video Player (Glasses-Free 3D)" (a real mouthful!) from Chinavasion on Saturday and it arrived yesterday (Thursday).

It's a 2D and 3D multimedia  photo and video viewer and music player with an 8" glasses-free display. It appears to use "parallax barrier" technology to feed a different view to each eye depending on location and proximity to the screen. In other have to hold it right.

First things first  - DEEP breath - it worked out of the box. I hate ordering stuff and having it arrive dead.

Stereo 3D image. Click for full size. Cross your eyes to view.

It (must do something about the horrendously long name) comes with a simple, attractive and easy-to-use interface. Left to right  that lets you choose among "My Favourites", "Explore" the device, "Photos", "Video", "Music", "Ebook" and "Setup" options. It has some internal storage (that also contains the system files) and you can choose to use that, or an external SDHC card (up to 32GB) or an external (independently-powered) USB hard disk. The top image is of the list of 3D videos I had copied to an SDHC card.

The controls are all buttons. This is not a touch screen device. One button is a 5- way control that you move up or down, left or right or push in. Be gentle with it because when that button dies, you won't be able to drive this device anymore. That said, it doesn't feel far.  Overall, the device has a nice, solid feel. Other controls include a menu button for multimedia control and a back button that does double-duty, via long-press, as the switch between 2D and 3D modes. There is a power switch and a separate sliding on-off switch.

Stereo 3D image. Click for full size. Cross eyes to view.

What can it do? Quite a bit.

It can play 3D stills from both my Fujifilm Finepix  Real 3D W3 digital camera perfectly and - sort of - displays my LG Optimus 3D camera. It distorts the 4:3 (aspect ratio) images from the LG and presents them as 16:9. But the 3D effect is there and the colour is right. But it isn't perfect. The LG doesn't do 16:9 as stills (though it does for video) in the current firmware. 

It can play 3D video perfectly from the LG Optimus 3D (They are mp4 files) and also from Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus. I use Magix to produce edited side-by-side squeezed mp4 video files for upload to YouTube. 

It can't (correctly) play the 3D AVI files from the Fuji camera. If I put it in 3D mode, it messes up the alignment completely and the result is correct sound, shame about the messy video.

But if I process the Fuji 3D video files through Magix Movie Edit Pro MX Plus into side-by-side squeezed 3D mp4 files (as above), it will happily play them. I haven't tried any other formats as output. This is the optimal format for YouTube and I'm happy to re-use those files on this device. It only takes a handful of minutes on my PC to convert even a large video, so not really a problem.  

If an image or video isn't recognised as 3D by default, then you just long-press the Return button and it puts the device into 3D mode manually. It works. 

Note: It plays these same original Fuji 3D video files just fine as 2D video, by default. It seems to be able to play pretty much any kind of 2D video....including *.mkv files so that's a plus right there. 

The display does a good job of 3D - both depth and colour - provided you have it at just the right angle up / down and left / right. 

The device supports USB thumb /flash drives; self-powered external USB hard drives (no size limit specified) and SDHC flash chips up to pretty much anything. You connect it your PC and copy files onto it....or use a card reader and copy them onto the chip...then insert in the device. Whatever.

It plays mp3 sound files. I haven't tried any others. It sounds pretty good, too. The potential for audio disaster existed....and they avoided it.  I have yet to try it with headphones. You can also line connect it to a stereo or external sound device to play on other speakers.

It works really well for the NZ$170+ shipping ($38) I paid for it.  For what I paid, it's good enough. I'm loving the big 8" screen.

Do you want one? I don't know. You might. At least now you know someone who bought one and is happy with it.

One thing I did try was taking a 3D photo of the 3D display with my 3D camera. It sort of works! It might get better with some practice. I used the LG which has lenses only 25mm apart. I suspect it would work better with the Fuji which has lenses 75mm human eyes.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Nostalgia Series: "9 Minutes at Virtual Piha" in 3D

I was going through my folders of 3D photos and video the other night. I have loads of photos...and a lot less video. Most of the video isn't very good as a hand-held camera can really only produce a steady shot if you stand there and don't move or move only rarely. Plus, the Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W3 camera has an annoying tendency to mis-read the focus and I end up with a minute or two of video that would have been utterly awesome if only it weren't so far out of focus it's of no use. I got caught that way a fair bit in the early weeks of owning the camera. Less so in recent times.

I got to my 2011-09-13 folder and watched my videos taken at Piha, a wild west coast beach on the north west edge of  Auckland. They have wind distortion. They are at times quite shaky as the receding waves sucked the sand out from under my feet. But they put me back in the moment and I loved seeing the depth in the images that only 3D can provide.

 Piha is a bit of a magical place and it occurred to me there may be people out there who would appreciate seeing it in 3D. Maybe people who know it and who live far away. Or people who have heard about it and who might like to see it. In the end, I made a video of some of the more interesting parts of my stumbles around in the surging waves having given up trying to keep my trousers dry.

The sound is raw. I did try to dampen the wind noise in the camera mics, but then I also removed a lot of the roar of the ocean itself. So I left the sound alone. People can turn it up, down or off as it pleases them.

Here it is: "9 Minutes in Virtual Piha". Not great. Not polished or professional. Just 9 minutes of roaring ocean and dark sandy beach......if you feel like seeing in it I saw it when I held the camera.

This video looks awesome on my glasses-free LG Optimus 3D phone's 3D display. If you haven't got this phone or the HTC Evo 3D, then seriously consider it. Everyone I show it to is amazed at how good the 3D is and how well it works with YouTube. 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A 3D Toronto Subway Moment

On January 5th, 2011, I was on my way to my Dad's house for a visit and caught the subway at College. This is the train approaching. I hesitated for a moment, dipping the camera thinking I would get a better shot later, then decided to carry on anyway. In the end, this was the only clip I shot. It looks awesome streaming from YouTube on my glasses-free LG Optimus 3D android phone. 

It was shot with a Fujifilm Finepix Real 3D W3 digital camera.