Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Independent 3D Filmmakers Rejoice: Low Cost 3D Camera RIGS Now Available

Jim here. We have talked a lot about the RED and SI digital cameras in stereo 3D configuration and with good reason - great performance and great value. But with these cameras and others, many independent filmmakers have taken to creating their own 3D rigs to house these cameras for shooting side by side. The frustrations must be endless.

Seems we have a potential solution for you as of TODAY from 3D Film Factory (although the RED One for example would require a custom rig built. The suggested cameras are as follows: Canon - XH-G1(S), XH-A1, XL-H1, XL2; Sony - HDR-FX1, HDR-Z1U, HVR-Z7U, PMW-EX3, PMW-EX1; Panasonic - DVX100, DVX100A, DVX100, DVX200, DVX200A; and JVC - HD250U, HM700U. Here are snippets from their press release:

3D Film Factory has developed a line of production-ready, cost-effective, 3D camera systems designed to shoot superior 3D. Developed over the course of several years, with the guidance of veteran stereographers and award-winning filmmakers, these durable, dual camera rigs provide an alternative to the high-priced 3D systems costing ten times as much.

The company has released for sale three select systems; the 3D-SB (split-beam), 3D-SS Indie (side-by-side), and the 3D-SS Pro (side-by-side) models. Each system is designed for a specific production purpose and to accommodate various prosumer and professional grade SD and HD cameras.

3DFF president Karl Kozak said "...we’re filling a niche, offering great rigs, that shoot incredible 3D, for a fraction of the cost.”

The 3D-SB (split-beam) system is constructed using black anodized aluminum that’s virtually indestructible and light-absorbing, removable plastic. With a total weight of only 22 lbs., the rig is easy-to-use, allowing for quick set-ups and precise 3D alignment. It’s being introduced for a complete price of $1,995.

Split-beam rigs are mandatory for the smaller (6” to 0”) inter-axial (camera-to-camera) distances needed for medium and close-up shots. Such inter-axial distances can only be achieved with adjustable camera positions and the use of scientifically engineered glass. During shooting, the image for the horizontal camera passes directly through the glass, while the vertical camera’s image is reflected off the front of glass. In effect, the two cameras are stacked sharing almost the exact same field of vision.

“Side-by-side camera configurations can’t be used for close-up shots for good reason, it hurts the eyes,” said Kozak. “You have to get the cameras closer than camera bodies and hoods will allow for. That’s why you need a split-beam rig.”

The company’s two side-by-side 3D rigs are less complex, but equally necessary in most 3D production situations. Side-by-side systems are specifically designed for filming master to panoramic shots in 3D. In this case, the simple side-by-side camera posture allows for fast, accurate 3D alignment and unobstructed shooting.

Both 3D-SS systems weigh less than 4 lbs., are priced at about $300, and boast inter-axial (camera to camera) distances from about 6” to 24”. All of the company’s rigs are constructed using a virtually indestructible aluminum frame.

All three camera systems are available @

About 3D Film Factory
The 3D Film Factory is a San Diego-based company specializing in the production of original 3D entertainment and high-quality 2D-to-3D conversion.
This is the innovation I love to hear about as companies are starting to see the gaps of need in the 3D industry and endeavoring to fill them. Would like to see an off the shelf version of these for the RED Ones though guys!

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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