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Whale shark feeding in 3D

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Here is a 3D video of a whale shark feeding at the surface during a huge whale shark aggregation in Isla Mujeres, Mexico. I shot it on August 15, 2011, using a GoPro 3D HERO System and an Eye of Mine 3D flat lens housing (a flat-lens solution is required for a GoPro to focus properly underwater).

The video is best viewed at 720p in some sort of 3D mode.

If you own a 3D display at home, you can download a higher-quality side-by-side version for local display (~99MB; link is good for 500 downloads; if it fails, please let me know). The downloadable video is still highly-compressed and doesn’t quite convey the same 3D coolness that original version does, but it is still effective!

Isla Mujeres, Mexico | link | trackb | no comments » | Aug 20, 2011 22:47:31

Wetpixel Isla Mujeres Expedition 2011, Days 1-3

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Day 3 of the 3rd Wetpixel whale shark expedition in Isla Mujeres, Mexico: We’ve had 3 days of whale shark action so far, and each day has given us something different (but spectacular). The first day, a couple hundred whale sharks were spread out in a rather long stretch of the glassy-calm ocean. The water was relatively clear, considering that it was completely full of transparent tunny eggs from the mass-spawning event three nights earlier. Whale sharks gulped down eggs around us from 8am until our boat left (at 1:30pm).

On the second day, we discovered a small patch of ocean with hundreds of tightly-packed whale sharks. They were so dense that they were forced to feed in layers, and we saw as many sharks ascending and descending as we did on the surface of the ocean (very rare). Our guides were totally excited, saying that the ocean was infestado with whale sharks. After thirty minutes of total whale-shark insanity, the sharks vanished in a coordinated descent into the depths—it was totally bizarre. One minute, we were surrounded by literally hundreds of sharks, and the next, there were only a few left on the surface. All of us, including the local guides, were totally dumbfounded by the strange behavior.

Today (day 3), we found the sharks 4 miles east and 2 miles south of where they were yesterday. It took a coordinated search effort by multiple boats to find them (which took 3.5 hours on the water), and we weren’t in the water until 9:45am. The action was fantastic, with botellas almost literally everywhere we looked (a botella is a stationary whale shark that is vertical in the water, “gulping” water constantly to feed.

I’ve been shooting with both a Nauticam-housed Canon 7D with Tokina 10-17 fisheye zoom lens, and with a 3D GoPro HERO setup (with Eye of Mine 3D underwater GoPro housing). The 3D GoPro setup has been yielding some very interesting footage because I can get the camera in places where a big housing can never go (e.g. right in front of a whale shark that is cruising at speed). I have some interesting 3D footage that I’d love to present, but two failed upload attempts to YouTube are enough; I’ll upload when I return to the States.

In the meantime, here’s a 3D screen-grab from the video (red/cyan 3D glasses required):

3D whale shark gulp with GoPro 3D HERO camera / Eye of Mine 3D underwater housing

3D whale shark gulp with GoPro 3D HERO camera / Eye of Mine 3D underwater housing

I also have cute / precious footage of Kieran Liu (the 5-year-old son of my friends Kenny and Lori) swimming madly after a whale shark (and managing to get really, really close). He is fearless!

Update: here are links to the videos:

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Aug 17, 2011 19:54:44

GoPro 3D HERO Review

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GoPro 3D Hero housing with two GoPro HD HERO cameras installed

GoPro 3D Hero housing with two GoPro HD HERO cameras installed

A few days ago, GoPro announced the GoPro 3D HERO System, the world’s smallest 1080p 3D camera. The 3D Hero System consists of a housing that accepts and aligns two GoPro HD HERO cameras for 3D capture, and GoPro CineForm Studio software, which is available as a free download on GoPro’s website.

GoPro sent me a 3D HERO to test, and it arrived today. Full review over at Noodletron.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Apr 7, 2011 01:07:09

The future of 3D (prototype no-glasses method)

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I can’t wait to try it. ;)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 3 comments » | Jan 15, 2011 16:43:05

More Quicktime X evilness: it overscans (which affects side-by-side 3D)

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I hooked my MacBook Pro to a Panasonic 58″ 3D plasma display today and fed it a 3D video in the form of side-by-side video content. The good news is that the display showed a perfectly good 3D image when told to expect side-by-side content (yay!). However, there was a problem with my stereo 3D video: for some reason, all of the 3D content was pushed way back past the stereo window. The only way this would happen is if the left and right video content were diverged; upon closer inspection, it was obvious that this was the case. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Oct 25, 2010 23:41:11

Ordering 3D prints from FinePix REAL 3D W3 and W1

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Fuji’s product page for the FinePix REAL 3D W1 lists a “High-resolution 3D Print System” which W1 owners can theoretically take advantage of for ordering 3D lenticular prints.

I tried to order a couple 3D prints today, and I’d bet money that Fuji barely ever sells any 3D prints. (read more »)

Mountain View, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Oct 19, 2010 17:10:38

Peter’s empty lot barbecue

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I processed one of the Fuji FinePix Real 3D W3 images today using StereoPhoto Maker (running in Parallels).


3D image of Peter with flames at his ground-breaking celebration (anaglyph red/cyan glasses required). You can also check out the universal L-R-L version, which looks much better (if you know how to view them)

The Fuji gives a good 3D effect that looks great on its rear lenticular 3D LCD, but when viewed at a normal size, image quality is horrible. This image above was taken at ISO 200, and is still really crunchy (and has low dynamic range). All I can guess is that it was too expensive to put two high quality cameras lenses, sensors, and processors into one camera body.

Still, it’s fun.

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Oct 3, 2010 02:49:36

Quicktime X and ColorSync screw up anaglyph 3D

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I just returned from a trip to the Bahamas, where I shot and posted a bunch of 3D underwater video encoded for viewing with red/cyan anaglyph 3D glasses. When I arrived at home, I opened one of the 3D videos on my calibrated 30″ Dell 3008WFP LCD (connected to a Mac Pro)… and discovered that I could not see any 3D effect. It was quite strange because I could see the 3D effect perfectly when I streamed the same videos from my Vimeo page (on the same machine/display), and everything looks good when played from my MacBook Pro (even when it is attached to an external monitor). I even tried playing the videos back on my 50″ plasma display, and the 3D was fine.

What I discovered is that if you have a properly calibrated video card / monitor, you may not be able see anaglyph 3D-encoded images and video correctly. When trying to render colors “correctly,” ColorSync can change the colors enough to destroy the effect. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Sep 22, 2010 17:53:22

Video: Sharks investigate gorgonian, Bahamas (3D anaglyph)

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3D anaglyph (red/cyan) glasses are necessary for this video.

Reef sharks, lemon sharks and nurse sharks investigate a gorgonian, where an injured fish must be hiding. Bahamas.

Palm Beach, Florida | link | trackb | 1 comment » | Sep 18, 2010 22:24:39

3D video: School of Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber)

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3D anaglyph (red/cyan) video of a school of Atlantic spadefish (Chaetodipterus faber). Jupiter, Florida. September 11, 2010.

This particular video looks great at 1080p full screen on a 17″ monitor, but suffers greatly when reduced in resolution and viewed as a postage stamp-sized video.

Palm Beach, Florida | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Sep 17, 2010 22:26:09

Fuji FinePix REAL 3D W3: MPO and 3D-AVI files on Mac OS X

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I recently acquired a Fuji FinePix REAL 3D W3 point & shoot camera, which is the only (proper) 3D point & shoot camera on the market (Mark Blum showed me the W1, its predecessor, some time ago). The camera stores still images in MPO format, which is essentially two JPGs, thumbnails and metadata crammed into a single file. It stores video files in a stacked AVI format called 3D-AVI.

New file formats are always challenging to deal with, especially if you’re on a Mac. Fuji ships the camera with its FinePix software, and after installing it, I realized that it has no 3D support because the Mac version is two major revisions behind the Windows version!

I went online looking around for MPO and 3D-AVI support for the Mac. Things aren’t looking so good. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 28 comments » | Sep 8, 2010 22:24:19

Moray eels hunting at night (3D anaglyph)

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* red/cyan glasses required

3D video (anaglyph red/cyan) of a moral eel hunting at night in the Maldives. Shot underwater with a custom BS Kinetics underwater housing for dual Sony CX550V camcorders.

If you would rather see a side-by-side format or row interleaved, check out the YouTube version of the video.

If you don’t have anaglyph 3D glasses and want to see the footage, click through for the left eye view. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Sep 7, 2010 23:13:33

Scuba diving the cenotes, Mexico (3D anaglyph)

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I’ve finally succeeded in uploading a follow up to my 3D video of a cenotes diver going through a halocline. The new video contains the original clip plus a few more:

3D video is a huge pain to produce.

Isla Mujeres, Mexico | link | trackb | 2 comments » | Aug 1, 2010 19:52:37

Whale shark gulp in 3D slow motion, Isla Mujeres, Mexico

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We had in excess of 500 whale sharks (Rhincodon typus) at Isla Mujeres today in perfectly clear skies and mirror-flat water. I am speechless… but not speechless enough to try to upload some video (the internet is fast enough tonight for me to get a few videos online).

Click through for 3D version of the video, plus a bonus video of Heidi Connal swimming with a “botella” (bottle) — a whale shark that is vertical in the water gulping water without moving (well, it rotates, but it stays in the same place). (read more »)

Isla Mujeres, Mexico | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Aug 1, 2010 19:21:20

First underwater 3D stereoscopic video: cenotes diver

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For my first underwater 3D shoot, I dove cenote Chac-Mool, which is about 20 KM from Playa Del Carmen (just outside of Cancun). I had never taken my modified BS Kinetics 3D housing underwater, so I had to first mount lights on it and do a pool test for buoyancy. Adding 4 lbs made the housing almost exactly neutral, although it is just a little bit back heavy.

I HEART 3D

I was quite worried because a dark cave is not exactly the best place to use a camera system that relies on auto-exposure for its picture. I set the camera to underexpose 3 units (whatever that means in Sony land) and hoped for the best. The results were actually quite good!

Here is the first clip I processed, which shows Mario, our dive guide, swimming through a halocline (the layer between fresh water and salt water, which is more dense). Don’t worry — the fuzzy halocline water clears up after a few seconds.


Use red-cyan classes to see this 3D video and view full screen for best results!

I’ll do a more formal write-up about my 3D workflow when it is fully tested, but at the moment, it includes ClipWrap1, MPEG Streamclip, PluralEyes, Final Cut Pro, Dashwood Stereo3D Toolbox, and Compressor. I shot 107 clips (214 total, since each camera shoots separately), taking up a total of 16.6 GB of space (8.3 GB x 2).

3D workflow is extremely time-consuming. (read more »)


  1. Updated 17 Sep 2010: Every once in awhile, ClipWrap leaves the audio track out of re-wrapped AVCHD video from my Sony CX550V camcorder. There is an easy fix for this, which is to open the Perian preference pane, click “Remove Perian” and then (immediately) click “Install Perian.” It appears that Perian gets in a bad state and prevents audio from being transcoded properly. I am now in the habit of always checking my re-wrapped video for an audio channel. Once it fails once, it will fail on every successive re-wrap until Perian is removed and re-installed. 

Puerta Aventuras, Mexico | link | trackb | 12 comments » | Jul 27, 2010 22:00:46

3D string quartet performance (anaglyph)

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3D test (anaglyph — requires red/cyan glasses) of Quartetto Sugoi in low light using dual Sony CX550V camcorders zoomed in a bit, perhaps, to 40mm (35mm equivalent) or so. Camera sync is approx 16ms apart, which is why there is ghosting when objects move. Video targets large displays (30″+ ideal).

Due to tolerances in manufacturing, it is nearly impossible to get two of these cameras to align perfectly, resulting in the need for rotational geometry correction in post, which may also account for further image degradation (in addition to the low light noise, that is).

Music: Mendelssohn String Quartet No. 6, excerpt from first movement (thanks, Quartetto Sugoi!)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 4 comments » | Jul 25, 2010 19:25:38

Underwater 3D stereoscopic video housing, unboxing / setup

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Custom BS Kinetics carbon fiber underwater 3D housing with Sony camcorders

A few days ago, I took delivery of a BS Kinetics DuoDive housing, which is designed to house 2 consumer camcorders for use in capturing underwater 3D video. The housing is a carbon fiber + epoxy oval (as opposed to being a rigid cylinder or machined aluminum housing, which is more typical), and features a flat port, red/orange filter, hinged port cap, and rear LCD that toggles between left and right camera display.

The housing is designed to be generic, which means that a variety of cameras can be mounted inside. I’ve decided to use two Sony CX550V AVCHD camcorders with Sony 0.75X wide-angle adapters (removable). Although the CX550V shoots AVCHD (bleh) at 1080i (double bleh), it has a wide lens (~29mm equivalent) and is easily controlled through LANC. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 16 comments » | Jul 21, 2010 12:03:14

3D stereoscopic video camera, with grip

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There is no good way to hold two cameras attached to each other, so I had to come up with another way. Here are some photos of two Sony CX550V camcorders set up for 3D stereoscopic imaging, mounted on Really Right Stuff hardware and an Opteka X-Grip. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jul 19, 2010 19:58:03

3D tests with dual Sony CX550V camcorders

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Two Sony CX550V camcorders with wide-angle lenses attached

I was on my way to bed tonight when I decided to do some 3D experiments using my dual Sony CX550V camcorder setup (which I am putting into an underwater housing soon). The two camcorders are mounted on plates and rails from Really Right Stuff, and both also have Sony 0.75x wide-angle adapters attached to them. The stereo base (inter-ocular distance) is 67mm. (read more »)

San Francisco, CA | link | trackb | 5 comments » | Jul 19, 2010 03:12:48

2010 NAB Show report

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3D mania at NAB Show 2010

Last week, I decided that it would be interesting to check out the NAB Show, an annual tradeshow in Las Vegas put on by the National Association of Broadcasters.

As a NAB Show newbie, I wasn’t sure what to expect; I knew that it would be different from the dive shows I typically attend, but I wasn’t prepared for just how different it ended up being. Everything was shiny, slick, and professional, and there were quite a few people wearing suits. I didn’t see any flip flops or swimsuits, and no one was serving rum from beneath fake tiki huts. (read more »)

Monrovia, CA | link | trackb | no comments » | Apr 15, 2010 18:54:57
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