Saturday, 21 April 2012

So what's about this tiny overlooked little brick of a camera and why should you use it? It is of course all about the money. If you work in Hollywood, or run an extensive production concern with a multi $million turnover, or have a very successful company producing 2D and 3D product, then go hire RED 3D rigs or even at the lowest edge, buy the  Panny Z10K - it is cheap, and has pretty good macro facilities ( min focal distance is 30cm! ) but also costs £3K (but also has XLR audio) or the Sony NX 3D which also has XLR's for audio but uses the same light channels as the far cheaper TD10, as well as the same encoding.
Unless you step up to the Panny AG 3D at £12K, it's really all much of a muchness -the playing field is pretty flat at this price point, although the Z10K WILL shoot 1080 at 23.976 - very important if your final target is 3D Blu Ray - this is the only frame rate officially supported at full HD 1080 raster.

Back to the TD10. It is currently being superceeded by the newer TD20 (which has higher resolution chips, producing higher spec stills, but maybe has moire issues as a result, the TD10,is amazingly free from these problems) - and is therefore being sold off at lower and lower prices. I bought a "second" from Amazon Warehouse Deals for £650 - new and guaranteed - what a ridiculous price! 

I love the chunky weight and shape of this camera, it feels solid, is well built with an automatic "shutter" which protects the two lens' The viewfinder is big and produces excellent quality detailed images - I'm used to my EX1 and found the TD10 an ideal stable mate - the Exmoor chips in both cameras and the similarity in viewfinder quality make them ghoulishly similar.

Invest in a couple of FV100 batteries, they will drive the camera for more than 3 hours in 3D and about 7 hours in 2D - this coupled with the internal 64GB of flash and an SDHC card of 32GB results in 7 hours 45 minutes of recording, without changing anything - this is bonkers - I shoot a lot of "Live" music, not having to worry about batteries and media takes out much of the stress.

So what do the pictures look like? Like I said, I shoot with EX cameras, and other broadcast equipment - Digi Betacam - XDCam and all that, so with 30 years experience as a shooter, editor and compositor, I'm not too easily impressed.

AVCHD - I'm not really a fan, the pulsing changes on slow moving images and still shots, related to I frames is really awful. OK, so you pay for what you get, great battery life, endless recording time = huge compression, this is the downside even at 28mbs, however, using the NEAT plugin for noise reduction removes most of the artifacts - pretty slow on a well appointed machine though.

Fortunately the TD10 has a clean HDMI output, 3D frame packed, so it IS possible to record directly through a capture card to your laptop for quality - at a price - at least avoiding the AVCHD encoding - for example the Black Magic Extreme Ultra Studio 3D (you need a Mac as there are almost no PC systems available with "Thunderbolt" except a single MSI board the Z77A-GD80 with Thunderbolt connectivity - supposed to show up in April this year)

Are there any other HDMI 3D frame packed recording devices out there? not as far as I can see, at least not in the kind of price bracket you would want - so a Macbook and an UltraStudio 3D is still a pretty cheap way of being mobile, and capturing direct to Quicktime left and right or DPX, avoiding AVCHD all together.

The typical industry standard NanoFlash is available in a 3D model, essentially 2 units screwed together on a kind of gate hinge - two seperate HDSDI inputs or HDMI by the look - pixel locked recording to 2 seperate L and R CF cards, monitor output with SbS etc, etc for viewing. A snip at $5250.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Here's a short test of Twixtor's attempt at 3D slow motion. The speed was set at 12.5% (best to use even divisions of 100% for smoothest results, ie: 75% or 50% or 25% or 12.5% as this creates the simplest math and least "cogging"
Twixtor 3D slow motion sample
The playback from Youtube is full of glitches and errors - maybe time to try a different source file - this one was 1080 mp4 AVCHD
Here's the mp4 file to download - much better quality mp4 Twixtor slow motion test

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

As an illustration, here's an analysis of one of my final edit masters after MVC profile 5 encoding - it shows the relative bit rates between the Base view and the Dependent view. So, as you can see, the overall bit rate is about 47mbs max, much higher than a profile 2 AVCHD would ever reach.
I guess we need to talk about basic 3D specifications for Blu-ray as well as file formats from current 3D camera's as well as the overall edit process, how to monitor what you are doing and output the correct file types for your needs.
So, to kick off, there are very few allowed formats for 3D BD - in fact 3.
1920x1080 23.976 fps progressive
1280x720 50fps progressive
1280x720 59.94 progressive
So if you live in PAL land, you need to consider the above - do you go for full raster at 24P or 720 at 50P? This only applies of course if you need to produce an industry standard BD at full data rates for best quality.
Here's a link to an early varispeed/temporal test I undertook, also has Magic Bullet Looks filter applied - there's the odd illegal shot too - exceeding the general view that a 3% maximum depth is acceptable -
Short varispeed test There's a wierd glitch part way in - a bit of a youtube thing from the encode I guess - original file uploaded was an SBS 720P mp4.
Preparing an extreme 3D slow motion test with Twixtor today.
This is a track from my first Album "50Hz anduP" 
A little reggae tune to ease you through the day! feel free to download - play loud !

"The Ride" mp3
Today is After Effects day, using both Twixtor Pro and Kronos (The Foundry) to experiment further with slo motion effects in 3D. I've seperated an MVC file into left and right eye uncompressed files, then processed in After Effects and re combined for final edit. Geometry needs to be checked at this point too, as the slo-mo effects can add distortion and create unpleasant visual effects.

I'm outputting the files to an industry leading MVC coder and authoring to profile 5 3DBD - these can then be played at the local Megga Store on a variety of players and 3D Cinema TV's - I find this is the best way to analyse results.

The cheapest route today to author 3DBD content is Cyberlink's Power Director 10 - it's not great, not too stable, but produces pretty good Profile 2 discs ( this means dualstream AVCHD on the disc and not MVC files, the bottom line here is the data rates - Profile 5 allows up to 60mbs whilst Profile 2 about 20mbs - so you can see the difference - also the costs are hugely different - Power Director 10 costs $90 or so whilst say, Scenarist BD, is about $30,000 and Cinevision MVC coder around $10,000

Go for Vegas 11 pro and you can edit 3D content too, as well as make a 3DBD but the limitations are the same in terms of data rates. personally, I find the playback issues with Vegas so restricting, especially the poor realtime/ full resolution performance as to render it useless - even on my hugely powered water cooled PC.

and now we see this:,0,7847147.story

maybe we WILL get an HDMI 1.4 Autostereo viewer sooner than we thought!

Autostereo Viewer

So this tool is handy because it uses a no glasses lenticular screen, and is what is known as an Autostereo viewer with a screen resolution of 1280x768 and plays side by side clips in 3D from 1920x1080 source material without any problems - as well as 720P and everything else I've thrown at it. This player can handle numerous file types, is fairly robust and has a pretty chunky 4000mA rechargable battery.

One thing it will not do is operate as a 3D external monitor whilst you shoot as it has no HDMI 1.4 connection - and most current 3D cams output frame packed streams via HDMI - however that said, it does recognise the files inside my Sony TD10 and can play them in 2D via the USB connector, making it a useful large screen monitor to check shots.

So, now we have to wait for someone to "invent" a version of this player with HDMI 1.4 input - but maybe this would have more of an impact on cost than just engineering - there could be a licencing issue to consider.

Useful tip - prefix 3D files you make (mp4 5000K AAC audio MAX 256K (Higher than 256K audio causes a play failure) with this: [3D]  so your files look like this: [3D]some_video.mp4  if you do this the files are auto detected as 3D by the player, rather than SBS by default.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Okey Dokey so here we are in Bloggland - not yet in 3D I'm afraid, but it won't be looong!

I'm currently in the middle of editing a 2D short music clip and documentary style piece known in the biz, as an EPK or electronic press kit - at the same time - I'm playing with one of these: 3D Glasses Free Player which is so so cool for the tiny amount of money it costs. Push in an SDHC card with your 3D or 2D edits, music, pictures and even ebooks and away you go. The 3D is not totally perfect, you need to position yourself and then not move around once you've resolved the 3D image - but it is seriously awsome for the money and a great "show and tell" tool.