That extra dimension tends to work wonders for films and TV. I recently went to see UP!, and while the 3D animation wasn’t exactly groundbreaking it definitely added an extra layer of entertainment.
What is largely overlooked is 3D entertainment online. Why shouldn’t we be able to enjoy the thrills of free 3D video entertainment from the comfort of our homes? Hell, it’s almost 2010!
For those of you who don’t know exactly how 3D works, I’ll explain it briefly so you’ll understand what I’m talking about in the later parts of this article.
Basically, it all starts off with two lenses positioned beside one another a small distance apart. Both of the films taken from these lenses are combined into one with the difference being superimposed alongside one another in distinct colours, which depends on what viewing glasses will be used. An example is the classic Red and Cyan.
The world’s largest provider of user-generated content, YouTube currently operates a great service for 3D videographers and their viewers. You can see a screenshot of a 3D video as it would look without viewing glasses; after the jump.
Below the video screen, there is a drop down menu which lets you choose from several viewing options. Firstly, we have those specialized for whatever type of viewing glasses you have. So if you have Red and Cyan glasses, choose that option. You can also choose whether or not you want to view the video in full colour with 3D or black and white with 3D. The other option allows you to make use of the less popular uses for 3D video such as parallel viewing (I.e. watching both videos at once) and a mirror-split version of the former. Similarly, you can also view either of the film streams at once; left or right.
If you don’t have viewing glasses, you can select the ‘cross-eyed’ option which will display the left and right video streams alongside one another. Simply cross your eyes (if you can) and thus the two videos will overlap. Not the most comfortable viewing method but it’ll get the job done. Not recommended for full length films however!
Obviously, the best way to view 3D videos is to have your own viewing glasses. You can pick them up at basically any cinema or buy them online. A five pack of cheap, paper viewing glasses will set you back around $3 including P&P from eBay.
Alternatively, you can make your own. Various guides suggest different methods. The most basic is to simply recycle an old pair of sunglasses (or make your own cardboard frames) and colour clear plastic in with felt-tip markers. You can read more about doing that here.
If you publish videos on YouTube and would like to include a 3D video in your library, simply add the following tag to it: ‘yt3d:enable=true’. This will enable the drop-down menu we discussed above and index the better video for search results. To look for a free 3D video on YouTube, simply put ‘3D’ before your search term. As of the time of writing, YouTube currently doesn’t have a dedicated category for 3D videos.
Well, have you got your 3D specs ready? Just be prepared to jump away from your laptop every time something flies at you!