Archive for June, 2011

3D Camcorders for Everyman?

June 24, 2011

I’ve had a chance to use two new “consumer” 3D camcorders, the JVC GS GS-TD1 and the Sony HDR-TD10.  Both produce remarkably good images.  Go out and spend $15 for a pistol grip  — you may like it better than their wrist straps. The Sony, with it’s slightly lesser interaxial and wider angle of view, is my pick because it extends depth range a bit more.  Both could use even wider lenses and even less IA.

The JVC, by allowing you to see mixed images to precisely set ZPS, gets lots of points.  Both have mucked up setting creative controls and everybody, including Ford, should revert to knobs and drop the Chinese puzzle-box menus and touch screens as the sole means of control.  At least offer the knobs for individual functions so that more than one function can be addressed at a time.

Shame on the ads for promoting the Sony as running at 24p.  It does but only for 2D operation.  The JVC is also a 60i 1920 by 1080i camera but more expensive 24p versions (required for universal distribution  here, there and everywhere) of both are on the way. And when they arrive there will be some head scratching amongst the pros.  Are these only disposable machines for drop-them-off the cliff stunts or how much of a feature or TV show could you get away with using these cameras?

Transformed Cinema

June 22, 2011

Michael Bay is attempting to induce cinema operators to meet spec with 3D projection — like using lamps that aren’t spent.  I saw Bay and Cameron at Paramount on May 18 discussing 3D cinema projection and cinematography after showing clips of the new Transformers.  We are talking about the big theater on the Paramount lot and it was the best 3D projection I have seen in months and Bay’s 3D work looked great.

The system there is the XPand shuttering eyewear system on a big screen but what was used was not a true product and serves only to highlight the problems of stereoscopic projection.  In order to get decent brightness Paramount used two projectors and such a remedy is out of the question for neighborhood theaters. The eyewear dug into my nose — I was aware of them — but the ANSI image contrast is great and cross-talk is zilch.

I am bemused to recount that I was the leader of the design team that invented and manufactured the first IR linked shuttering eyewear, CrystalEyes.  The XPand eyewear are a direct descendant of CE I, the original model with non-folding temples.  They even use optically compensated pi-cells, which I also invented.  The StereoGraphics product was $1,000 and although heavier and a bigger than the XPand eyewear they were more comfortable.

Paramount should put in a silver screen and use the RealD XL projection system.  (I also helped to develop that but I have no interest in RealD.)  That would be brighter than the XPand double projector contraption and use but one projector.  Not sure the contrast would be as good, nor am I sure the cross-talk reduction would be as good, but on balance it would be a better experience with relatively unobtrusive eyewear.  Paramount, I think, wants to keep on with a matte screen because of color balance issues and also because side-seats will suffer in image quality.

3D iPad

June 20, 2011

When at StereoGraphics we had on-going conversations with Apple that spanned more than 20 years — including a meeting with The Jobs. People came and went and so did their interest.  Apple had us in their Siggraph booth one year.

The autostereoscopic technology they will be adding to their tablet was demonstrated many years ago. There’s little development risk. Sadly a couple of guys I know lost their shirts trying to get people interested only a few years ago.  They were a only bit ahead of the curve.

What Apple can do now is probably going to be good and if they do everything it’s possible to do it will be superb for single user stereoscopic viewing.

The Green Lantern

June 20, 2011

I’ve just witnessed the implementation of a different theory of stereoscopic projection geometry — the Green Lateran Method. No floating windows but very large positive values of parallax. That gives more stereoscopic resolution in terms of pixel count, or as Buzz Lightyear would say: to infinity and beyond.  But the average value of positive parallax is in the “normal” range since lots of shots are flat as the proverbial board — or nearly so.  And curious that the villain in the film is named Parallax.  Or were they thinking more deeply about the subject than I can imagine?

It’s true that it’s a job of conversion and that process is much maligned.  However I do know of a successful example.  My sister-in-law Sara converted to Judaism.