Monday, August 30, 2010

3D Geek Alert: Hackers Take Aim At Bringing S3D To The Panasonic GH1 !

Oh man, I hope these guys succeed! Would love to set up one of these rigs myself as I plan on getting into independent S3D filmmaking in the near future.

So what are they doing exactly?
Beampath3D is using two Panasonic Lumix GH1's (a micro 4:3 system) in a beam splitter rig and they are currently trying to achieve constant, reliable and perfect syncs. Further, they have taken their work and have pinged the genius hackers over on dvxuser for collaboration, so I expect something to break sometime soon on the sync issues.

Says David Cole of Beampath3D:
This is not our first rodeo with DSLR 3D rigs. In fact, our first rig was 5D MII-based. We failed to achieve adequate sync with the 5D's and all hope that the Magic Lantern firmware enhancement would come to our rescue has faded. But, there is good cause to be optimistic about the GH1. Most importantly, the GH13 firmware has opened up a world of possibility in image quality and customization of camera functionality to enhance 3D. Secondly, even with our current setup, it does work... sometimes."

Some of you may recall that a user by the name of "Tester 13" hacked into the Lumix GH1 and opened a pandora's box of options for the cool Micro 4:3 system. How about 50Mbps MJPEG @ 1080p (while the off-the-shelf camera is governed to 720p)? And you can shoot very very well in AVCHD too.

Check out this footage from a hacked GH1 (now affectionately dubbed "GH13" after Tester 13) - click HD and go full screen for the best viewing:

Keep in mind the Lumix GH1 is only a $1149 camera! You can't beat that value today in my books.

Here is the breakdown of exactly what equipment Beampath3D is using in case you want to chime in:
1. 2X GH1’s with the GH13 hack.
2. 2X SanDisk Extreme 16GB cards.
3. 2X Olympus 9-18mm lenses (among other lenses).
4. 3D Film Factory Mirrorbox (aka beamsplitter). We’re using the INDIE RIG, but the 3D-BS MINI RIG would be ideally suited to the GH1.
5. Peter Wimmer’s free 3D Camera Sync Tester software running on a PC with an old-style CRT display.
6. Dual-trace oscilloscope. Just about any dual-trace scope will work, but we’re using a Hantek DSO-2150 USB-based scope. They are cheap and effective.
7. Breakout cables for the Mic/Remote jack.
8. Breakout cables for the AV Out/Digital jack. We cut the computer-plug ends off of two spare GH1 USB cables.
9. Twinned shutter-release remote switch, which places the appropriate resistance value to toggle recording onto the remote pins of each GH1 simultaneously.
10. Twin power control. This is the heart of our attempt to sync the GH1s and it MAY be destructive to the cameras (however we’ve been at this for two months and have yet to have a single hiccup). We’re eternally switching the external power input to both cameras, while leaving the cameral power switches in the ON position. A diagram of our simple power control is available.

All of this makes for some pretty cool 3D hacking and a great 3D Geek Alert. Can't wait to see their results! Perhaps even adopt their set up myself - at least until the RED Scarlet comes on stream anyway :-) More info when I get it!

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Jim Dorey
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