Friday, March 25, 2011 Setting Up the 3D Camera Rig

Here's a quickie demo of the point-n-shoot HD 3D camera rig for the collaborative 3D project. If you are at one of the clubhouses shooting scenes for this movie you will want to have a look at this video demo before you start shooting w/the rig. It's incredibly easy to set up and use but there are a few important things to remember:

  1. Make sure the cameras are oriented in the correct left and right arrangement (they should match your eyes) and the centers of the lenses of the two cameras should be approximately 2.5 inches apart. If you are using the bracket mount that is currently with the rig (just a short length of metal bracket purchased at and cut by Home Depot) you will have the benefit of the pre-marked holes to mount the cameras into. If you're using a different bracket, just make sure there is a way to get the lenses the correct distance apart. If that angle distance widens too much, the footage may be unusable. Ideally, a bracket with slots, rather than holes, would be better for this purpose.

  2. Once the cameras are arranged and the bracket is attached to the tripod (the cameras and tripod plate are attached with generic bolts and wingnuts that were purchased at Home Depot), and your actors are ready to roll, turn both cameras on, press record on each and then, BEFORE calling action, be sure to have someone clap their hands in front of the lenses to establish a synch point. THIS IS CRUCIAL FOR EDITING. Because the cameras aren't controlled by a single motor, it is impossible for them to start on exactly the same frame. The frame of video in each camera where the two hands meet gives the editor a perfect synch point for the rest of the shot. After the clap is complete, call action and have your actors perform their parts. THIS HAS TO BE DONE FOR EVERY TAKE. It's like the old hollywood movies when you sometimes saw someone holding a slate (or clapboard) and smacking the two top sticks together before action was called. That was done for synching sound and image. We're doing it to synch two left/right (eventually red/blue) images (the sound is already permanently in synch as they are now recorded on the same media).