Thursday, April 19, 2012

Out Of Beta: YouTube Converts 2D HD Video to Anaglyph 3D

Hey all, Tim here. That's right you heard me right; YouTube will now convert your 1080p HD 2D video to 3D. I read a LA Times article about it and sought to test it out for myself.

First, lets look at how YouTube converts the video. "Using a number of video characteristics such as color, spatial layout and motion for estimating a depth map for each from of a monoscopic video sequence. From that depth map and the original frame, a stereo 3D left and right pair is created -- 3D magic."

Almost sounds too good to be true. Time to put it to the test. I have a couple of HD videos on my YouTube that I've always wondered if they would have looked better had I shot them in 3D. Well, now's my chance to see. Please put on your anaglyph glasses (sorry it has to be anaglyph) and give this a try. If you don't see the 3D symbol right away, click on the gear wheel for resolution and select 1080p. You now see the "3D" indicator beside the gear wheel, and if you click on it it will make the video 3D.

I have noticed there are pros and cons to allowing YouTube to do conversions. The biggest con is that the filmmaker has no control over the conversion. This is something that all of us know James Cameron is admittedly against. I tend to agree, the filmmaker should have a say in the 3D conversion. Let me list the Pros vs the Cons below:

Pros Cons
2D video now 3D Filmmaker has no control over conversion
3D plays behind screen window Downgrade in resolution from 1080p to 720p
Lens flares convert well Shots can become pixelated (noticed in other videos)
Conversion is quick (although this could lend to the cons) Alters frame size during conversion
Multiple methods to view 3D Not all shots translate well to 3D

Not all edits translate well to 3D

Most people can only watch in anaglyph on computers, which distorts colors

Once you convert one video on channel all other videos also converted

Overall I wish I shot this video natively in 3D because then it would have been the best possible version in 3D. However, I didn't. As a result I have shots and cuts that were never meant to be seen in 3D. In the end the cons outweigh the pros at the moment. Yet, YouTube just took this out of Beta.

It's an early start for YouTube, and they are paving way for others to follow in their footsteps. I can't wait to see where this service goes in the future. It will also be nice to hear customer feedback.

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Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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