Get Adobe Flash player
by Bob Pank T wo recent events have expanded my understanding of 3D. BVE North turned out to be quite busy – both around the exhibition and at the many free seminars. Of course I made a beeline for the 3D Revolution Theatre where there were sessions throughout the two days of the show. The ‘Storytelling in 3D’ session was of particular interest. There’s been plenty of talk about the technology and how to shoot good 3D and how to avoid the bad... but here was a new angle. How can you apply 3D to story telling? Reg Sanders, who describes himself as a 3D Director / stereographer / 3D rig technician, provided excellent information about what works and what does not and, more importantly, how to get it right. He said, “It’s about storytelling – not showing off 3D” Having earned all those job descriptions Reg had a very useful range of experience to share. Early on he pointed out that the ideas about convergence differ between Europe and the USA. This means to me that it’s taste rather than technology that is now calling the shots. In a way this shows that 3D is coming out of 32 | TV-BAY MAGAZINE its experimental ‘wow’ period and is maturing as an art form. There were useful tips such as the fact that focal length affects depth perception, with the shorter values producing greater depth. Also the size of the image sensor affects the result. If you want to increase the drama use more depth (wider angle, short focal length). As Reg pointed out, “You want the 3D to help the drama.” This session was packed with practical tips and guidance for planning and shooting 3D. There was also useful information for cinemagoers – the answer to the eternal question, where to sit in the theatre? Obviously keeping close to the centre line is a good idea but, apparently, if you sit too close then the 3D effect is squashed, too far away and it’s exaggerated. So now, at last, I know to get those seats in the middle! The other recent event was a preview of a new 2D-to-3D converter. DynAxis adds a new 2D-to-3D process that has been developed by Galaxy Light and Power in London. It offers high quality real-time conversion. The result dispelled many misgivings and was, at the very least, comfortable to watch. The truth is that, as 2D-to-3D conversion is a bit like standards conversion in that it tries to create information that is not in the original – something from nothing. So there is wide scope for different algorithms to be tried, and different depths, convergences, and so on. It’s one of those areas that, barring obvious 3D violations, is open to interpretation and so there is definitely room for another converter. For the demo, Galaxy’s Andy Grant sat me down at the advised two- metre distance from a 47-inch LG consumer 3D TV fed via an AJA 3D HDSDI-to-HDMI converter. I really liked this viewing system as it used lightweight passive glasses (meaning the polarising filter is on the screen) without the flicker associated with the more commonplace active ones. Apparently the TVs were on offer at Richer Sounds making high quality monitoring very affordable! Andy explained, “The technology is based on detecting motion boundaries to isolate objects and then making a best guess as to where they should be in 3D space. It’s a very complex illusion. Unlike other real- time converters, DynAxis will default to 2D if it cannot make sense of the objects in the pictures, unlike the