3D Diaries Part 1


Bob Pank#
Believe it!

Welcome to 3D Diaries, TV-Bay’s own monthly column dedicated to 3D. Each month will feature an aspect of the 3D chain from scene to screen – all areas are affected in some way or another, so there’s plenty to talk about! But this would be meaningless if you are not a 3D believer, so this month I’ve shown why 3D is now here to stay.

At NAB everyone who was anyone had something to offer for 3D. It’s the ‘next big thing’. You could see 3D images everywhere, some live and some not. Obviously the television industry’s equipment manufacturers are keen to supply this new area. After all it requires two channels of pretty much everything so this could be a boost for business – if it proves popular.

Why S-3D now?
There are few with two functional eyeballs who would not welcome the chance to see video and film material as 3D rather than the current (or is it now old?) 2D imagery. Well, what the industry is now buzzing with is not really 3D; you cannot walk around an object on the screen. This is stereoscopic 3D, or S-3D for short. It is intended to present two streams of moving images one seen by the left eye only; the other is for the right eye only. Generally these are shot with two cameras with their lens axes horizontally spaced by the same distance as our eyes – the interocular distance. (In the USA they sometimes refer to ‘interaxial distance’ between two camera lenses.)

The idea is not new, through the 20th Century various films, often horrors, were made in S-3D. Far too often they left the audience with a horrible headache. As a result 3D was later only attempted for shorter presentations, such as theme parks. The trouble with S-3D is that it’s trying to fool our highly developed visual cortex into interpreting what are eyes see as 3D. Defects in the show make it harder, or impossible for our brains to work out what’s going on – hence the headache.

To maintain the illusion requires great accuracy to be maintained all the way through from scene to screen. For many reasons film couldn’t hack it. Even if the very expensive and drawn out post processing to correct for the differences between the two cameras and their film was good enough, the projection was a nightmare. It required the images of two projectors to be perfectly registered over each other and the left and right film to be kept on perfect sync. Random artefacts such as scratches and blobs did not help to maintain the illusion. Then, when the film broke, a frame or so would be missing in the repaired footage and left-right sync was lost. Further on, the inevitable film weave crept in as the sprocket holes widened with every passage of the film through the gate. A little side-to-side weave can be tolerated but vertical displacements, not often seen in nature, are instant headache material.

Enter digital; no scratches, blotches, sparkles or weave and there are established ways to keep two players always in sync. Add to that nifty live image processing to ease out those left-and-right camera differences and the S-3D proposition looks much more interesting. Indeed, this is why the old 3D horrors are now, or at least should be, a thing of the past. Digital S-3D has the technology to do well enough to avoid headaches and let the audience revel in the third dimension.

Of course the movie industry is leading the move to S-3D. Indeed they see 3D as the digital bonus – it pulls in audiences, spoils bootlegging and they can charge more. Furthermore, you can’t see this at home – yet. S-3D digital cinema can be very easy to present as it can be run from one player and displayed by one projector showing left and right images (no fiddly registration) sequentially. So, even local fleapits equipped with digital could show glorious headache-free S-3D.

S-3D for ever
The S-3D we can now see in ‘selected’ cinemas generally gets a very good reception. It’s not perfect and never will be but it can manage to maintain the illusion. Movie studios are continuing to ramp up the proportion of 3D projects against 2D only.

There is already intense interest from some TV channels who are keen to get 3D to their viewers. It seems that the World Cup footy will not be seen live in 3D in the UK, but that does not mean 3D TV is not happening. At NAB there were screens showing live 3D coverage of the US Open golf. In the UK Sky is pioneering 3D TV, showing live events in 1,500 pubs. Interestingly this live operation is, perhaps, the most difficult to get right, as all 3D aberrations must be corrected live – and that’s no mean feat.

There are plenty of hurdles yet to be crossed and traps to steer around on the way but digital S-3D has already wowed plenty of audiences – more than enough to warrant moving the technology forward on a broad front. With the prospect of ‘true’ 3D nowhere over the horizon, S-3D will prevail for many decades yet. We are just at the beginning.

Tags: 3d diaries | s-3d | stereoscopic 3d | interaxial distance | 3d | iss041 | Bob Pank#
Contributing Author Bob Pank#

Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • 3D Storm show the new NDI to HDMI decoder at NAB 2019

    3D Storm show the new NDI to HDMI decoder at NAB 2019

  • 3D Storm presents LiveXpert and NewTek products at IBC 2018

    3D Storm presents LiveXpert and NewTek products at IBC 2018

  • 3D Storm discuss IP and NDI for Live Media Server and Live CG Broadcast at NAB 2018

    3D Storm discuss IP and NDI for Live Media Server and Live CG Broadcast at NAB 2018

  • LiveCG Broadcast and LiveMedia Server from 3D Storm at BVE 2018

    LiveCG Broadcast and LiveMedia Server from 3D Storm at BVE 2018

  • NDI and Newtek Products from 3D Storm at IBC 2017

    NDI and Newtek Products from 3D Storm at IBC 2017

  • LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

    LiveMedia Server and Live Xpert from 3D Storm at NAB 2017

  • 3D Storm with LiveXpert at BVE 2017

    3D Storm with LiveXpert at BVE 2017

  • 3D Storm at IBC 2016

    3D Storm at IBC 2016

  • 3D Storm at BVE 2016

    3D Storm at BVE 2016

  • 3D Storm at IBC 2015

    3D Storm at IBC 2015

  • Brainstorm Multimedia: Aston3D at NAB 2013

    Brainstorm Multimedia: Aston3D at NAB 2013

  • Brainstorm Multimedia at IBC 2015

    Brainstorm Multimedia at IBC 2015

  • BRAINSTORM VIRTUAL SETS at NAB 2015

    BRAINSTORM VIRTUAL SETS at NAB 2015

  • Brainstorm Multimedia at BVE 2015

    Brainstorm Multimedia at BVE 2015

  • Brainstorm on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm with Aston demonstration at IBC 2013

  • Brainstorm at IBC 2013

    Brainstorm at IBC 2013

  • Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

    Featured Clip: Geoff Boyle comments on NAB 2012

  • Brainstorm at NAB 2012

    Brainstorm at NAB 2012

  • VIZRT at BVE 2012

    VIZRT at BVE 2012

  • Newtek at BVE 2012

    Newtek at BVE 2012

  • Sony at ProVideo2011

    Sony at ProVideo2011

  • Sisvel Technology at IBC2011

    Sisvel Technology at IBC2011

  • Sensio at IBC2011

    Sensio at IBC2011

  • Panasonic at IBC2011

    Panasonic at IBC2011

  • Doremi at IBC2011

    Doremi at IBC2011

  • Matrox at IBC2011

    Matrox at IBC2011

  • Blackmagic at IBC2011

    Blackmagic at IBC2011

  • SGO at IBC2011

    SGO at IBC2011

  • Marshall Electronics at IBC2011

    Marshall Electronics at IBC2011


Related Shows
  • Show 20 - July 17th 2013

    Show 20 - July 17th 2013


Articles
Review: JVC GY-HC900 Camera
Andy McKenzie JVC has a long history of developing relatively low price-point equipment, dating right back to its success in the 1970s with the VHS tape format. JVC products sometimes impact the broadcast mainstream but generally find greatest success in niche market segments such as news production where price and portability take priority over the no-comprise quality and robustness demanded by the leading studio-based and OB content producers.
Tags: iss138 | jvc review | camera | sdhc | sdxc | mpeg-2 | nab | gy-hc900 | Andy McKenzie
Contributing Author Andy McKenzie Click to read or download PDF
How the Womens World Cup was Boosted by Broadcast
John Griffiths As we write this article, England’s Lionesses have just beaten Norway 3-0 and are smashing viewing figure records, with 6.9 million viewers tuning in to watch them play Cameroon on BBC One. Rewind to the previous World Cup in 2015, and England’s group and early stage knockout games tempted up to 2.5 million viewers for each match. It’s safe to say that women’s football is finally having its moment; what was perhaps once considered a niche sport is finally gaining momentum in the mainstream space with broadcasters giving it the attention it deserves.
Tags: iss138 | wwc | world cup | spicymango | diversity | John Griffiths
Contributing Author John Griffiths Click to read or download PDF
Making the Workflow Flow
Bruce Devlin - new The toughest things about being the Standards Vice President (SVP) is that everyone expects standards to be the most important thing. In all the systems that I’ve designed and deployed over the years, I've yet to find any production workflow that is 100% standards based. True, the core technologies may well be standards based, but the overall workflow is made up of many technology pieces from open source code, through de-facto delivery specifications based upon SMPTE or Trade Association Specifications that in turn depend on full, International Standards to work. I can already hear some folks saying "In the good old days, everything used standards", but I beg to disagree.
Tags: iss138 | pye museum | pye-philips | smpte | ietf | ieee | w3c | aes | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read or download PDF
TVFutures. No More Comfort Zone - Get a Placement
Michelle Brown I have often heard that any chance of getting work in the television industry is based quite heavily on who you know, and whilst that might indeed be true, I’ve also come to the realisation that it may also depends on what opportunities you seize and how far out of your comfort zone you might be prepared to push yourself.
Tags: iss138 | portsmouth uni | creative careers | placement | Michelle Brown
Contributing Author Michelle Brown Click to read or download PDF
State of the Nation: Wings, Fine Coffee and Fake Nudes
Dick Hobbs - new One of the many attractions of this time of year is that I get to meet with my fellow judges for the IBC Innovation Awards, and see what the industry sees as the most important, most forward-looking projects of the day. For me, this says what the key talking points are going to be in September, far more eloquently than the endless press releases from vendors which are already tumbling into my inbox.
Tags: iss138 | ibc | smpte 2110 | deepnude | cisco | Dick Hobbs - new
Contributing Author Dick Hobbs - new Click to read or download PDF