Saturday, June 26, 2010

iPhone 4 video frame difference

One surprising thing I've noticed about the iPhone's camera; the camera's framing for video is very different from the still camera's framing; and it's NOT just the top and bottom crop to fit the 16:9 aspect ratio.

I first noticed it when switching between camera and video mode; the video image jumps in noticeably. Taking a video and a still, and overlaying the 1280 x 720 video frame on the 2592 x 1936 still frame (below) you can see that it's significantly cropped on the sides. I thought that maybe the crop size would be the equivalent of 2560 x 1440 (double the 1280 x 720 size.) I was wrong.

Since I took the pictures while hand holding the camera, the alignment/scale is approximate. But doing a rough calculation, the area covered is about 2120 x 1190 which isn't close to being double 1280 x 720.

Is this important? Well, no, but it is kind of curious.

Overlay of iPhone video frame over iPhone still frame

Boston SuperMeet iPhone video @ higher resolution

Yesterday at the Boston SuperMeet I shot, edited - while sitting on the floor! - and uploaded a video using the iPhone 4 and iMovie app.

It turns out it wasn't hard, but it wasn't that easy, either.

Perhaps my biggest complaint is that when you are assembling your edit, iMovie provides a scrolling list of "strips" representing the clips you have. But it doesn't indicate which ones you've already used, or let you flag ones you like or dislike. This means that you have to keep track of all that yourself; a problem if you have dozens of clips that look similar.

iMovie media browser

Once you have completed your project, you Export it. You have the choice of three sizes: Medium (360p) Large (540p) and HD (720p). Exporting a 1:30 long clip at 720p takes about two minutes, and places the movie into the Photos app Camera Roll. Going to the Photos app, choosing the exported clip, and then choosing Export from there gives you the choice to email or upload the clip to YouTube. It then recompresses the clip a second time - at least if it's in 720p - before uploading. That recompression is much faster, maybe taking 10 to 15 seconds.

I had no WiFi at the SuperMeet, and had little success uploading via AT&T; the upload failed four times. I'm not sure why. The progress bar would chug along for a while, and then it would stop with a dialog error that the upload was incomplete. I then went in search of a public WiFi spot, but had little luck. Oddly enough, about an hour later in the auditorium for the evening meeting I tried once more, and the upload worked! I have no real idea why. My only guess is that the signal strength might have been better in that location as the speed of the progress bar seemed faster...

The final movie uploaded from the iPhone is in 360p and heavily compressed. That's the least of it's issues; the color of the clips is pretty bad in a lot of places! Of course, the video was shot indoors in less than ideal conditions - though typical for casual indoor shooting.

I have also uploaded for comparison using my computer the 720p version that the iMovie app placed in the Camera Roll.

SuperMeet video in 720p

SuperMeet video in 360p uploaded from iPhone 4

Friday, June 25, 2010

At the SuperMeet

Today is Boston SuperMeet day. In addition to tonights "show," there were free workshops by Adobe and Nvidia, and a presentation by Rodney Charters, ASC, DP on the series"24."

Net result; I'm thoroughly depressed about the future of Final Cut, and video editing on the Mac platform. It might be time to switch to Premiere and *shudder* Windows. The signs suggest Apple isn't going to support GPU acceleration.

Rodgers talk was a surprisingly down-to-earth, and realistic conversation that covered the application if HD SLRs in all applications, from features and series work to documentaries and YouTube.

There was a vendor show set up and I shot some stuff with the iPhone and edited it with iMovie. FINALLY figured out how to delete a clip; click and drag it up out of the timeline!

Show just started with a video of the unboxing of an iPhone; shot on the iPhone!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Uploaded video: youTube

Shooting a feature with DSLRs

I recently ran into a friend who will be DP on a project that starts shooting in a couple of weeks. He's been shooting a lot with RED cameras, but evidently the budget wasn't there for a RED in this project, so they are going to be shooting using the Canon T2i.

He bought a T2i only a couple of weeks ago - he wasn't planning to use it so soon on an actual feature! - and he's running into a few minor problems getting the gear he wants:
  • The T2i remains difficult to locate, both locally and online.
  • Marshall announced a 5" monitor back at NAB which he'd love to have, but it's still not available. 
  • He's not too happy with the Canon lenses. He bought a 17-55mm zoom lens (not an L-lens) and wasn't too happy with how smooth it was.
  • He'd like to use the Zeiss CP.2 lenses, but no one has them yet (a problem shared by Nathaniel Hansen, who had been hoping to use them on his next documentary)
Despite these minor annoyances, he is confident he will have the gear together in time for the shoot.

Availability of the T2i remains tight. Right now, B&H is out of stock, while today Amazon says it will be in stock on July 2.

NotesOnVideo: Crowdsourcing: Nathaniel Hansen
B & H: Canon EOS T2i ($799.95)
Amazon: Canon EOS Rebel T2i ($799.99)

Tech Expo @ Rule: Sony HXR-MC50U

This camera first appeared on the web - unofficially - around NAB, but details were sparse. Now it's almost here, and we know a little more about it, including that it has a single 1/2.88" back-illuminated Exmor™ R CMOS sensor. While it's sold by Sony's professional video unit, some describe it as the consumer HDR-CX550V that's been prettied up a bit; larger battery, lens hood and mic.

While it comes with a small shot-gun mic, it only has a 1/8" audio jack. It's unclear whether it has any other new features in the firmware (like zebras.) While the mic looks like it's molded to the camera, it's actually slotted into a hot-shoe mount with a rubber cover.

It's a nice looking little camera, but you're paying $400 for those extra features...

Sony: HXRMC50U Ultra Compact AVCHD Camcorder
B & H: HXR-MC50U Ultra Compact Pro AVCHD Camcorder ($1,599.95)
B & H: Sony HDR-CX550V 64GB HD Handycam Camcorder ($1,199)

Tech Expo @ Rule: Panasonic 3D

Got to see the Panasonic 3D camera, the AG-3DA1, in the flesh for the first time.

The first thing you notice is how cheap the camera looks; and this is supposed to be a $20,000 camera. The $6,000 Sony EX-1 looks like it's precision milled from metal - it isn't - compared to the cheap plastic-moulded look of the AG-3DA1. The other thing you notice is the twin lenses at the front, but once you get past those, the rest of the body sort of looks like a regular camera.

Interestingly, the camera operator is unlikely to have a true idea of what the 3D image the camera produces looks like; both the LCD and viewfinder give a combined image that shows the ghosting caused by the visual "misalignment" of different objects within the scene. But it's not polarized or otherwise encoded, so you can't wear glasses to see the 3D effect.

You can tell where the point of convergence is in the image; the region of the 3D image that sits on the plane of the projection screen. Something in the 3D space will either be in-front of, on, or behind, this plane. Things that are close to the point of convergence will have practically no secondary ghost image.

The LCD/viewfinder also gives a numerical display of the range of the image that is safely within this convergence point. You have to be careful not to have things too far in-front of or too far behind the convergence point.

Like Sony, Panasonic also has a professional 3D monitor that uses circular polarizers and static glasses (and halves the vertical resolution.) They had the camera hooked up directly to the monitor, and it was interesting to see a "real-world" scene rendered live using 3D.

I don't know if it was the glasses, the way the camera was setup, or what, but I was struck by how the image seemed to have a water-like feeling to it. You felt like you were looking at things in an aquarium. When watching movies on large LCDS screens (with the active glasses) I've sometimes felt like I was looking at layers of cutouts when the 3D effect was exaggerated, but this was the first time I felt like the image was swimming.

Panasonic: Professional 3D

Thursday, June 24, 2010

iPhone 4, iMovie app report

I'm not going to write about the three and a half hours spent waiting in line to get the iPhone 4 (learned my lesson; it's delivery for everything from here on out.)

Okay. I lied. But that's all I'm going to say about it.

Generally, the iPhone 4 has met my expectations: the screen is amazing, it's a lot faster than the 3G (woot) and the camera is a big improvement.

Video isn't too bad either, though that's what the stabilizers in my camcorders have been fixing all these years!

But the iMovie app? That's a big disappointment. No, I wasn't looking for Final Cut Pro on the iPhone. I wasn't even expecting the Mac version of iMovie. But I was expecting a little more;
  • More than two transitions (you get None, Dissolve, and a "Theme" that's a graphic wipe that's specific to the theme you chose for the project)
  • The ability to add text that you can set the position and font of (at the moment you get three custom text choices per theme, with the position and font locked)
  • A few filters/effects (brightness/contrast, a little color adjustment)
Now maybe I've not discovered every feature - it took me forever to find the text option and how to add audio...and how do you remove a clip you added by mistake?!

If iMovie had come for free with the iPhone I'd have been happy enough with it - and checking out third-party options - but for $5?! Let's not forget that Pages/Numbers/Keynote for the iPad are $10, BUT are about twenty times as feature filled as iMovie for the iPhone.

Tech Expo @ Rule: Genus Shoulder Mount & Matte Box

Genus shared a table with Manfrotto, who is now acting as Genus' distributor. Actually, this arrangement was first reported back in May, but the guy at the table said it will be "officially" official on July 1st.

They were showing matte boxes for DSLRs, which you can buy separately ($799.95), or as part of a kit with an adapter base designed for use with DSLRs ($229.95 separately).

Genus DSLR Mattebox Kit

Also on display was the Genus Camera Shoulder Mount System ($872.50). This item is listed by B&H as "usually ships in 7 to 14 days," though the guy at the show claimed they were new and wouldn't even begin shipping until July 1st (which I guess is about 7 to 14 days.) The front and back part of the rig are at slightly different heights, with a sort of cantilever,  and you can switch this around based on your preference.

The follow focus shown on the rig (below) is not included in the price. Their follow-focus unit has reversible gears so it will turn the "right" way, whether using Canon or Nikon lenses.

Genus Camera Shoulder Mount

Tech Expo @ Rule: Tiffen Steadicam

The Tiffen table had a Panasonic GH1 mounted on a Steadicam Merlin, as well as three full-sized Steadicam's arranged along the wall. The Merlin is a small unit that can carry a camera of up to 5 lbs (so it's possible to use with a light DSLR.) At $800 it's not cheap, but by all reports it gives good results; just expect to spend some time balancing the camera and learning to use the device.

I asked what the metallic green frame being used to position the GH1 on the Merlin was, but the people at the table didn't know - so I didn't ask about the Steadicam Smoothee (the upcoming Steadicam for iPhones!)

Director of Technical Services at Tiffen, Peter Abraham, then showed up to demonstrate the new Zephyr, which will support cameras up to 20 lbs, and features - amongst other things - a new tools-free patented Iso-Elastic stabilizer Arm that has been upgraded from the Steadicam Flyer.

Peter Abraham and the Steadicam Zephyr (and vest)

When you know how to operate them, Steadicam's are amazing things. Peter ran a two-day workshop on Steadicam operation at Rule over the weekend, and he has ones coming up in Florida, Texas and New York (see the Steadicam Workshops link below.)

The Zephyr isn't out yet - it's expected later this year - and this is one of only two prototypes.


Tech Expo @ Rule: Phantom HD Gold camera

The Phantom HD Gold is a super-high speed camera capable of recording up to 1000 frames-per-second at 1080p. It's ca operate with shutter speeds as high as 1/500,000 second capturing at 42-bit color.

Rule has one available for rent (@ $2,500 per day) and it produces amazing results, though I hear it needs a fair bit of light when shooting.

They had the unit out on display, and though they weren't running it, they did play back some clips taken with the camera. The body itself isn't that impressive - it sort of looks like it came off a 50's sci-fi movie - but I guess the important thing is the results!

[UPDATE: You can see an example of footage shot with the Phantom HD Gold at The Huber Experiments Vol. 1

Tech Expo @ Rule: Sennheiser

Sennheiser had the best table; they were giving away pens, carabiner key clips, velcro ties, stickers and mints!

They were also demonstrating the EW112-p G3 Wireless Microphone system. The party trick of the G3 is that the receiver unit has an automatic frequency scan feature that searches the available frequencies and picks the one with the least interference. The transmitter is then synced to the receiver through an infra-red connection (you have to hold the transmitter near the receiver and explicitly initiate the connection.)

An optional rechargeable battery pack, the BA 2015 accupack, can be used in place of standard AA cells, and charged while they remain inside the unit, though they cost $72.

B & H: Sennheiser EW112-p G3 Camera Mount Wireless Microphone System with ME2 Lavalier Mic (A / 516 - 558 MHz) $599.99

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Tech Expo @ Rule: Manfrotto 561BHDV

I've thought before about getting a monopod, and even tried a few, but most of the one's I've played with have been intended for use with a still camera, and don't work so well if you're trying to shoot video.

Manfrotto 561BHDV Video Monopod with Fluid Head

Manfrotto seems to have come up with a great solution in the 561BHDV. This monopod has a video-quality fluid head, which interestingly only tilts up and down. Panning (turning left and right) is accomplished be swiveling the monopod column. The leg sits on a special pan-joint at the base, and the base has three feet for added stability. And the leg extends to 78 inches, which is about as high as you can go - for most people - and still be able to operate the camera effectively.

At $270, it's not cheap, but it's a really nicely built piece of equipment, and Manfrotto makes great gear.

Pan joint and base legs of 561BHDV

B & H: Manfrotto 561BHDV Video Monopod with Fluid Head $269.96 [it's listed on back order, but it's on backorder at Amazon and Adorama as well.]

Tech Expo @ Rule: Overview

The Tech Expo @ Rule Camera may not be quite as big and impressive as NAB or LA's Cine Expo, but for those of us that can't make it to those events, the Rule Camera Tech Expo, held this past Tuesday, was an easy way to see some cool gear.

And get free hot dogs and beer!

There were about fifteen tables set up by different companies from Tiffen and Sennheiser, to Sony and even Apple. Biggest disappointment: the Canon table only had DSLRs; no FX300/305.

Admittedly most of these tables were staffed by local or area reps, or in some cases people from Rule, so you didn't always know who you were talking to or what they knew about the product! But, I did get to play with a cool Manfrotto monopod, and interesting gear from Genus and Sennheiser. And, I got to see the Panasonic 3D camera in the flesh. That was well worth it (though I remain a 3D skeptic!)

Anyway, I thought it was worth going to the show; if nothing else because it was the first time I've ever seen a RED camera in the flesh! Hopefully they'll do it again next year!

Rule: Home Page

Philip Bloom meetup & workshops in Boston, July 16-18th UPDATED

An update from an earlier post, the Philip Bloom workshops in Boston are for Saturday July 16th and Sunday July 17th (none on Friday as previously reported.) These are being conducted in association with the BOSFCPUG [Boston Final Cut Pro Users Group] and will be held at Rule Camera. Dates and times:
  • Sat, Jul 17th, 2010, 10:00am- 6:00pm
  • Sun, Jul 18th, 2010, 10:00am- 6:00pm
At the moment there aren't many other details on the website [there's stub pages for each workshop, but no specific details and no online registration at the moment], though they'll reportedly cost $99.

There will also be a Meetup with Philip on Friday July16th 6:30pm - 9:30pm.

It's going to be a busy week for the BOSFCPUG as there's also a regular meeting scheduled for July 14th!!

BOSFCPUG: Home page

Thoughts on Jimmy Kimmel Live via webcam

Last nights episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live was recorded on Kimmel's computer webcam; it seems the power to the studio cameras went out, but they still had power for lights. The show was sort of interesting; it started with him in his office, and felt a bit like a YouTube show, but then it moved to the studio and almost started to feel like a regular show (I'm talking content here.) I watched the whole thing, just in case they got the regular cameras working ; but they didn't!

  • I couldn't help wondering at what point they decided to go to the webcam. Did they think they'd do the whole show that way when he started out in the office?
  • This would have looked so much better if they had an iPhone 4. THOUGH, the webcam comes with a tripod, the iPhone doesn't.
  • They're in the LA and they couldn't run next door/across the street and buy/rent a couple of Sony Handycam's?
  • For half the show they used microphones (to the PA in the studio.) The sound quality was much better when they stopped using those (which I gather wasn't on purpose, it appeared that the PA stopped working.)
  • Stars seem more like regular people on webcams.
  • Every now and again the video froze for a second or two, but the sound kept playing without a hitch. Other than the lack of resolution, the whole thing wasn't that bad.
  • Supposedly it was recorded on a MacBook. I'm not sure if Apple should use this as a new advertising campaign.

Free Webinar: Boris Continuum Complete 7 FxPlug: June 24th

Ned Soltz demonstrates why Boris Continuum Complete 7 FxPlug is the Swiss Army Knife of Visual Effects. Ned will show you easy-to-use solutions for many common post-production tasks in Apple Final Cut Pro, including:
  • UpRezing SD footage to HD with BCC UpRez
  • Creating a witness protection effect with motion tracking
  • Chroma keying with BCC's Chroma Key Studio
  • Creating glow, color, and "film look" effects
  • Applying "electronic makeup" with BCC Smooth Tone
  • Creating a rack defocus effect with lens blur and depth map
  • 3-way color correction with masking using BCC 3-way Color Grade
Ned Soltz is a Contributing Editor for Videography and DV Magazine as well as the moderator of

When: Thursday, June 24th at 1:00pm Eastern Time
Space is Limited. Reserve your Webinar Seat Now at

LA DSLR Bootcamp, Saturday June 26

"The Best Canon 5D/7D Boot Camp in Los Angeles"
DSLR instructor and aficionado Snehal Patel, in collaboration with The Association and ProHD Rentals, will be offering an intensive five hour boot camp seminar this coming Saturday, June 26, for industry professionals still unfamiliar with the Canon 5D.

Price: $300* (early fee until June 24th) $350* (standard)
When: Saturday, June 26, 2010 @ 1pm to 6pm
Where: Los Angeles Area (location will be emailed to you) DSLR Bootcamp in L.A. on June 26

Boston SuperMeet This Friday

If you're in Boston this Friday, you owe it to yourself to get to the Boston SuperMeet. All the workshops are sold out, but there's still tickets for the evening events. You can even register to attend with Free Discount Code supervip via Eventbrite!

Sony to join HDSLR party?

According to a post on flickr by "Mr.delight":
Sony is ready to launch the first ExmorHD DSLR. The most popular Sony DSLR the Sony A550 is going to be updated with two new A5xx ExmorHD models. They will become the first DSLR (non-mirrorless) Sony models with video! Both camera will be announced between now and Photokina (July-August).
flickr: Sony ExmorHD DSLR / Sony A550

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Jimmy Kimmel shoots show on MacBook

An hour before showtime last night, a power outage shut down the Jimmy Kimmel Live control room, broadcast transmission center, and tape operations area. With guests and a studio audience waiting, Jimmy recorded the whole show on his laptop using his computer's webcam.
It appears that it's tonight's episode that they had the problem with - though I'm confused; a live show is recorded the DAY before?!

I don't usually watch the show; but I'm going to have to check it out just to see what happens!

Jimmy Kimmel Live

Apple Grumble

Oh Apple!

You do so like to mess with my mind!

When the iPhone 3G came out, I went down to the store on opening day, thinking it’d only take a couple of hours…and ended up spending half the day waiting in line. I swore I wouldn’t make that mistake again!

When the iPad came out I chose the home delivery option. A friend went down to the Apple store and had his at 9:10am. Mine wasn’t dropped off until 11:50am. [I have the exact time; we taunted texted each other.]

So when the iPhone 4 was announced, I was torn; pick up or delivery? I figured that after the iPhone 3G debacle, Apple would have it’s act together this time [huh!] so going to the store would probably mean I’d have the thing earlier than if I waited for delivery…so I reserved to pick it up at the Apple store.

And now comes news that those who chose delivery will get theirs the day before the store pickup date.


Don’t you hate it when the rules of the game change underneath you?

NOTE: I may be doubly cranky about this; I was up until 2am installing iOS4 on my iPhone 3G. The three-and-a-half hour install was a lot of fun. The way things are shaping up, I'm suspecting that AT&T/Apple's authentication servers will be down all day Thursday.

Philip Bloom workshops in Boston, July 16-18th

Philip Bloom will be running some DSLR workshops in Boston in mid-July in association with the BOSFCPUG [Boston Final Cut Pro Users Group]. Dates and times:
  • Fri, Jul 16th, 2010, 10:00am- 6:00pm
  • Sat, Jul 17th, 2010, 10:00am- 6:00pm
  • Sun, Jul 18th, 2010, 10:00am- 6:00pm
At the moment there aren't many other details on the website [there's stub pages for each workshop, but no specific details and no online registration at the moment], though they'll reportedly cost $99 and BOSFCPUG will be taking reservations at today's Rule Boston Camera Tech Expo.

BOSFCPUG: Home page
Rule Camera: Tech Expo

[UPDATE: The Friday event will be some kind of meet-up.]

Adding Captions in YouTube

I wanted to caption the car review video, but I hadn't used YouTube's captioning before. First I tried the machine captioning they offer (the feature is in beta.) I think the system had trouble with my voice, because the results aren't very good. Here's some of the highlights:
there's evidence in the middle
it's it's cold and it's plastic your pals
rhonda rowland the vehicle without the Christian
as the car sports history

the new recruits some fashion
providing extra taxes to the
well the driver's seat

the sitting position in the back of their
minds even more all right

no love lost for the ride in this model has
a wheel drive
I love machine translation errors; they can be so poetic sometimes. I particularly like the line:
the sitting position in the back of their
minds even more all right
But "no love lost for the ride in this model" when it should be: "
"Now while it looks pretty rugged and this model...?!" That's a serious misconception!

Since it's only two minutes long, I decided to transcribe it myself. The YouTube Help center explains that the format should look "something like" this:
>> FISHER: All right. So, let's begin.
This session is: Going Social

with the YouTube APIs. I am
Jeff Fisher,
and this is Johann Hartmann,
we're presenting today.

The Format seems to be:
[start time],[end time]
caption text

where the time is formatted: [h]:[mm]:[ss].[millisecond]
I'm guessing the last part is milliseconds, as it's three digits and not two (two digits would make sense if it were frames)

I copied that format religiously (I thought) and timed everything mostly to the nearest second or half second. It looked like this:
It’s square
It opens in the middle
It’s seats fold and it’s plastic floor repels water
I saved it as a .txt file, and uploaded it through the Captioning and Subtitles interface in YouTube.

Uploading a caption file to YouTube

But when I loaded it in, it didn't work properly; it pretty much displayed the whole file in the first few seconds! Turns out you need to add a return between the end of each line and the next time code, so it should look like this:
It’s square

It opens in the middle

It’s seats fold and it’s plastic floor repels water
Once I did that, it worked perfectly.

Captioned video

I did do some contractions of what was actually said. In reality, I probably didn't need too; it will display a fairly large amount of text  (as witnessed by the very last line.) But when you're captioning for readers, it sometimes pays to cut down on the text - where possible - to make it easier for the reader/viewer to keep up with both the text and visual action.

Google Help: Getting Started: Adding/Editing captions
NotesOnVideo: I do a car review

Panasonic AG-AF100

Back at NAB in March, Panasonic pre-announced the AG-AF100, a professional video camera based on the Micro Four Thirds lens format. There weren't a whole lot of details, but yesterday Panasonic released a Preliminary PDF brochure on their website with more information...and then took it down again. But DPReview has a copy you can see.

Notable features: XLR input, HD-SDI output, 24 and 30p support, SDXC cards, and timecode support.

No confirmed released date or price, though some are already suggesting this will be an HDSLR killer [HDWarrior: Breaking News “Panasonic AG-AF100 AVCCAM film like camcorder”].

NotesOnVideo: More on that Panasonic camera
Panasonic Press Release: Panasonic Introduces AG-AF100 Panasonic reveals more details of AG-AF100 Micro Four Thirds camcorder

Monday, June 21, 2010

Toy Story 3D

I saw my first 3D movie in a while. The last time I saw a 3D movie was three or four years ago when I saw a  movie about the Space Station projected on an IMAX screen. I was curious to see whether things had drastically changed since then, so I was excited to see Toy Story 3 in 3D. This was at a regular movie theater, not at an IMAX theater.

Let me add too that I’m a fan of Toy Story – and Pixar movies in general - and Toy Story 3 is pretty good. It did feel a bit like a reworking of the themes of the second movie –toys are “lost” once more, there’s an evil toy working against our heroes, and children leaving behind their toys as they grow up is a central element – but it was still enjoyable.

But when it comes to 3D, I still have mixed feelings. The image is slightly dimmer, and fast motion seems to blur or stutter in a way that’s different to the way 24fps film normally seems to stutter. Maybe it’s a problem with the left-right frames being out of position, or maybe I imagined it?

While initially there was a lot of 3D effect going on – particularly in the 3D trailers shown beforehand – things were pretty subdued through much of the movie, and after a while I almost forgot that I was watching something in “3D.”

I didn’t come away feeling like I would have missed anything by seeing it in “2D.” I remain a skeptic who might yet be convinced, but at the moment, I'd rather watch a movie in "Real 2D."

SMPTE 3D Meeting

Sony reps gave a presentation on 3D at last weeks meeting of The New England chapter of SMPTE. It was a bit of a rehash of a talk I heard a Sony guy give at the Camera Company’s camera show back in March. They covered all the terms and issues that make shooting in 3D more difficult than shooting in 2D, adding a discussion of movie projection methods and broadcast methods, as well as a demo of consumer monitors they will be releasing in July.

There was also discussion of two professional monitors - the 24inch LMD-2451TD and the 42 inch LMD-4251TD - which use passive polarized glasses rather than the active glasses used in the home systems. The justification for using this technology for professional applications is that with the glasses being much cheaper; production companies don’t need to worry about the crew taking off with the glasses! Seriously! The downside to the passive system is that it uses alternating rows on polarized filters to create the image – so in 3D you are essentially seeing half the vertical resolution.

3D Circular polarizer: diagram from Sony

Leaving the world of 3D for a moment, there was a brief discussion of OLED technology, and a small monitor they have coming out called the PVM740. It will be very expensive. Though they touted the expanded color gamut, they still added the disclaimer that the PVM740 was not accurate enough for coloring applications! At almost $4,000 for a 7.4" display with 960 x 540 resolution, I'm not sure I get the point.

Finally, William Lange from the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory at Wood Hole talked about what they were doing with 3D capture. I’d heard him talk briefly before at the previous event, so again there wasn’t a lot of news here. It was interesting that he went on at some length about the differences between using side-by-side set-ups, vs beam splitters. They pretty much exclusively use side-by-side rigs, having given up on beam splitters due to size, light loss, fragility, and the glass having to be very flat or there can be problems when shooting with long focal lenses.

Demo of live 3D capture at SMPTE meeting

SMPTE/New England
Woods Hole: Avanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory (AIVL)
NotesOnVideo: 3d is loose in the world! Part 2
Sony:  Brochure: LMD-4251TD / LMD-2451TD [PDF]
Sony: Product Page: PVM740