Long gone are the days of needing red and blue glasses to present your movie in 3D. Today, there is technology that gives you full color reproduction and a great image without the distracting colored glasses. Since the financial success of “Avatar,” many movies have been made with 3D imaging in mind or have been converted to 3D in post-production. Those technologies have continued to develop and now are able to enter the consumer market at a reasonable cost. It has even gotten to the point where a fully 3D movie can be shot on your iPhone 6.
The basic concept behind 3D technology hasn’t changed much since its heyday in the 1970s. Essentially, it requires two cameras to be placed slightly away from each other to create a parallax effect. This is the same way that humans are able to have depth perception. These images are then put together for the final projection. By wearing special polarized glasses, the viewer sees one image in one eye and the other image in the other eye. Your brain is then able to put these images together to create a three-dimensional effect.
To create the best-looking 3D image, it is better to film the scene correctly in camera rather than change it in post-production. The best way to achieve this is to place two cameras a specified distance apart and film the same scene, and then combine these images in an editing program.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can just hold two smartphones and get a 3D image. The cameras need to be at a specified distance apart otherwise the effect will not look correct. Thankfully, there are cases out there that can hold your smartphones at the correct distance and allow you to operate them at the same time. Afterward, software can be used to blend of the two images together to give you a true 3D image.
After you have filmed your project, you need to think about how it will be viewed. There’s not a set standard for 3D film dealing, so how your device renders a 3D image can vary.
Most viewers are used to 3D glasses. These are special glasses that enable each eye to see a specific image, which your brain then combines and creates the 3D effect. The advantages of this style are that the viewing angle is more flexible and 3D glasses are fairly easy to find nowadays. The disadvantage comes on the screen side because monitors and projectors that support 3D can be somewhat hard to find.
Another way to view your 3D film is to have multiple cameras track where your face is relative to the screen and adjust the image to give the effect. This can be seen on Amazon Fire phones and is somewhat similar to what Nintendo 3DS game systems use. This type of system allows for more flexibility for your viewing angle, but it is less common than the glasses.
Filming in 3D can be a lot of fun and an interesting challenge for filmmakers. It does require some specialized equipment or programs that filming in 2D does not require. But, the basic fundamentals of film are the same. There’s also the advantage that anything filmed in 3D can still be projected in 2D, so you aren’t stopping anyone from seeing your project.