This was a still captured from a 3D time-lapse taken last Saturday night. The sky ended up lighting up pretty nice – I take clouds for granted in Seward, but down here in the desert, they are a real treat!
I have been anxiously waiting the release of the 3D camera from GoPro® HD Cameras. It has been rumored for over a year. In hindsight, I’m glad it wasn’t available because it forced me to create my own work-flow, one without the distorted horizons the GoPro’s have and better suited for the landscape and travel footage I like to shoot. That isn’t to say these things won’t be really cool! I will certainly be ordering a pair and will give further feedback.
It is interesting, but much like HD when it first came out, without content, there isn’t demand – kind of a chicken or egg kind of thing. This isn’t lost on 3D TV manufacturers like Sony, which is one reason they are helping to subsidize new 3D channels like ESPN 3D and Discovery 3D. I think the GoPro should be talking to Sony because user generated content by affluent young people might just be as valuable at these other channels. I mean, it has to be really cool to see yourself surfing or skiing on a large HD 3D TV. At least 3D TV’s don’t have the expense hurdle early HD TV’s had to overcome – a comparable 3D TV isn’t much more expensive then a similar sized flat panel HD TV.
There are a lot of things to like about the 3D GoPro® HD Cameras. It can be mounted just about anywhere. It can be used underwater or above in all kinds of conditions. But one of the great things is just how close together the two lenses are – this should allow the filming of subjects 5 feet away or even less. The GoPro website confirms this – I look forward to having an option for these new working distances.
Along with the two cameras, the 3D GoPro® HD Cameras also comes with a free version of 3D software from Cineform. I have been using 3D software from Cineform for about a year now, it is some wonderful software. But, the program I have cost about $3,000 – nothing close to free! As you might guess, the free version is a watered down version that only works on GoPro files, but still, that is a great feature.
I might note, GoPro announced the purchase of Cineform just last week – I have a feeling the delay in the release of this product had to do with working out the details on this deal – without the software, these cameras wouldn’t be usable.
There are still plenty of challenges with 3D that this camera won’t solve. For one, it takes a heck of a computer to process two HD video streams at the same time, even when using the Cineform format. And, although these cameras will be great for close up subjects, anything very far away won’t have much 3D effect, and there isn’t any way to adjust the stereo base. There certainly is a lot more to good 3D then just two side by side cameras, but I have a feeling these things will work great in a lot of situations, especially the kinds of situations the typical GoPro user is filming in. I look forward to trying them out!