3D photography is a world in itself within the photography world. Almost everyone has attended a 3D presentation in which you can look at beautiful 3D images in a dark room with polaroid glasses.

In 3D photography, the image on the left eye looks slightly different from the image on the right, just like it is in real life. The source material can theoretically be delivered to the projector or television in different ways.

Steps For Shooting In 3D

1) Shoot Images
In order to be able to display photos in 3D, you of course first need the appropriate image material. What exactly you need is easy to say: You just have to take two photos next to each other, a few centimeters apart. For macro shots, the distance can be smaller, for landscape shots it can also be several meters in order to intensify the effect.

It is only important that the image section fits exactly – that is, the images are exactly on top of each other except for their perspective differences. To do this, you should look for a corresponding reference point when taking the picture, to which the camera is precisely aligned. This means that you don’t have to make corrections later in the image processing program. It is also advisable to leave a little more space around the desired image section (i.e. to zoom a little further away) in order to have more leeway later.
There are different options for taking two suitable recordings, all of which have certain advantages and disadvantages:

Special lenses can be screwed in front of the camera and automatically squeeze two images onto one. Both images are recorded at the same time, which makes this solution also suitable for moving subjects. Unfortunately, these lenses are expensive and can only be screwed onto professional cameras.

Another method is that you work with two identical cameras, which are mounted next to each other on a special tripod. Both cameras must have the same exposure settings and be triggered synchronously. This is the most expensive variant and is only possible in the professional sector.

The last method is that both images are taken one after the other with the same camera. Ideally, you should use a tripod, which means that the image section can be precisely adjusted in peace. This works with any camera and therefore costs nothing. However, since a relatively long time passes between the two shots, the process is only suitable for images without movement.

So, for a spontaneous experiment and a small budget, only the last option comes into question, which is why I will only go into this further. The disadvantage of this method is that you cannot photograph moving subjects. A look into the pedestrian zone is therefore not possible because people have moved between the two images. Even when people try to keep still, there are always small differences in detail that make the 3D effect look strange in some places. There is, however, another way of at least greatly reducing this problem:

Using the series picture recording, the camera can take three pictures one after the other at short intervals. During the recording, you move the camera a few centimeters from left to right, freehand. Because of the consecutive shots, at least slow moving images can be captured. Of course, you need a camera that supports continuous shooting for this.

Depending on how strong the 3D effect should be, you can later decide between the first and second, or first and third image. The technique takes a little practice to succeed, and it will require a little more post-processing to fine-tune the image sections.
Settings for professionals

Up to this point you can try all of this with any small compact camera and you will get very useful results. For really good 3D recordings, however, there is a lot more to consider. I would like to present a few ideas here.

2) Image selection

With or without 3D – photography is always about the spatial depth effect. While creating depth in normal photography can in a sense be seen as an artistic aspect, you don’t really have to work hard with 3D photos. Ideally, the viewer will later see everything as if he were really at the location of the picture. Things that are close appear close, things that are distant appear far. Very easily.

Even so, the result will be more impressive if you take care to have foreground and background elements in the picture. A landscape shot becomes more interesting when a tree can be seen in the foreground. In particular, elements that are close to the viewer ensure the typical 3D effect. It is also advisable to look into and out of a room with a window, ideally with raindrops on the pane. This is especially a challenge in terms of exposure and sharpness.

Depth Of Field

In classic photography, sharpness – or rather blurring – is used to create the necessary depth effect. This is not necessary with three-dimensional images and can even look strange. Personally, I find that blurred elements in the 3D image disturb the overall impression. If you try to direct your gaze from the main subject to the background, this is only possible from the focus (the eyes and the brain superimpose the two images of the background).

That is why I recommend taking pictures with the smallest possible aperture (high f-value) in order to achieve the greatest possible depth of field. In the ideal case, all essential image elements are recorded sharply and the viewer can choose what he wants to concentrate on.

Of course, this comes at the expense of the exposure time – smaller aperture, longer exposure time. That bites a bit with the procedure of taking several pictures while moving. Good lighting conditions and a high ISO value are therefore required. A tripod should be used whenever possible.

Exposure Time

As already mentioned, the exposure time should be as short as possible if it can be set up. Basically, all parameters – aperture, exposure time, ISO value, sharpness, etc. – should be set manually. Quite simply so that they don’t change between the two shots. This shouldn’t matter for a series of shots, but it is actually mandatory for individual shots with a tripod.

Preparation Of The Images

As soon as the recordings are in the box, they have to be prepared for display on the projector or television. This is possibly the hardest part, especially if you haven’t mastered the above-mentioned squint technique for quick control. The image processing also shows quickly whether the recordings are really suitable or whether errors have crept in.

I recommend using halfway professional software for image processing: Adobe
Adobe Photoshop ideally, otherwise Paint.NET or Gimp . It definitely doesn’t work with Windows Paint . You should be familiar with how to use the software to resize images, change the image section and work with layers and transparency.

First you create an empty file in the size 1920 x 1080. The left and right photos are copied into it as layers. The upper of the two layers is set to approx. 50% transparency
so that the lower image shines through. You then see roughly what you can see if you take off your 3D glasses in the cinema: a partially blurred double image.
Now it is time to scale the two images equally until the desired image section is found. At the same time, they are aligned with one another so that as large a part of them as possible lies exactly on top of one another. This should especially be the case in the middle or with the main object – the two images diverge further and further towards the edge.

Once both image sections have been determined, it is time to save the result. Saves this state with layers and all the trimmings. If you need to correct something later, you can do it from this file.
Then you copy each individual image into a new document and scale or distort it to the exact size of 960 x 1080 pixels. 960 is half of 1920, i.e. exactly half of a Full HD picture. You get two pictures that are very squeezed in width. You copy these in turn into a new document with the size 1920 x 1080.

Quite a back and forth. In the end you have two heavily squashed pictures side by side in a 16: 9 picture.
This is exactly what has to be transferred to the projector or television now. How this happens doesn’t really matter: via PC, network, NAS, USB stick or whatever – it doesn’t matter. It is only important that the image is displayed in its full resolution and completely fills the screen. No control elements or other overlays of any playback device may be displayed – they would be very annoying.

In order to finally transform the two distorted images into the ultimate 3D experience, the 3D mode is activated on the projector or television and this is set to side-by-side. Tha
That should be all.

If you can somehow see 3D, but everything looks very weird, you may need to invert the side-by-side mode, that is, reverse it. That depends on whether the left and right images were assembled the right way round or reversed. In principle, it doesn’t matter how you put the pictures together, as long as you do it the same for all pictures. The most common way is to place the left eye image on the left
Video instead of photo

You may notice a strong flicker in the picture. This is due to the fact that the projector or television does not do any interframe calculation when taking photos . However, this is usually sorely needed for 3D image material, because otherwise all 3D videos would flicker.

However, since the signal may be transmitted with the information “is just an image” , the image may not be displayed so smoothly that viewing is fun. Depending on the hardware used, it may be a little different. When playing back on my Blu-ray player, the problem was clearly evident. With Kodi, on the other hand, images can be reproduced in 3D just as well as videos, because Kodi delivers a permanent video signal, regardless of what is currently being displayed.

The only viable solution is that you have to make a video out of the images. So you need some video editing software in which you can cut and output a film in Full HD. You simply import your images into it and display each one for 10 seconds, for example.

The video must be saved in a format that the hardware used can play. MP4 or MKV should usually always be readable these days. Everything else works the same as with the pictures.
Of course, the resolution must not be changed at any point. Otherwise, no image manipulation should take place in this detour. Because as soon as something is shifted by only 1 pixel, you have strange effects in the picture later. This also applies to image processing.

Since you’ll usually be doing a kind of slide show anyway, I don’t think the detour via a video is a problem. You can also incorporate music and transitions at the same time. Only the additional effort and the unnecessarily large file is not so exciting. But photos are not intended to be output in 3D.
3D photography: experiment successful

I would consider the 3D photography experiment to be a success. Photos you have taken yourself are displayed in good quality in 3D. The effort is quite high, as you have to laboriously edit each image separately, but if it’s fun, the result makes up for it quite well.

Unfortunately, this cannot be done with just any image without major costs on the part of the camera equipment. This would also significantly reduce the effort and further improve the result.

So you can’t just photograph your entire vacation in 3D (unless you’re crazy enough to really pull it off). For some targeted recordings in certain situations, however, it is a fine thing that you can turn into a targeted slide show with an aha effect.

I hope this little experience report has helped you and maybe stimulates one or the other to try it out for themselves. I would like to read your experiences and further ideas in the comments


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