Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
21st Century 3D develops new BX3 camera rig
21st Century 3D has developed a new optical beam-splitter camera rig for stereoscopic 3-D production. The new BX3 rig weighs 23lbs (without cameras or motors), making it lighter than most other full-sized beam-splitter mirror rigs. After years of development and months of testing, BX3 represents 21st Century 3D's most advanced 3-D production tool to date.
The BX3 can accommodate a wide range of cameras including RED ONE, Sony EX3, Panasonic 3700, Canon XHG1S and many others.
The BX3’s beam-splitter mirror has been specially designed for optimum optical performance in stereoscopic cinematography applications, balancing reflection and transmission of color, contrast, density and brightness. In addition, a custom-developed depolarizing filter ensures that polarized light (frequently seen on wet, metallic or glass surfaces) entering the lenses is seen by both cameras, virtually eliminating nasty retinal rivalry commonly seen in beam-splitter footage.
When it comes to shooting options, BX3 offers several choices for operation. The mirrored camera can be oriented above the rig looking down into the mirror in its standard configuration or down below the rig looking up in flip mode. By simply dismounting the camera and releasing the two stainless steel clamps, the mirror box can quickly be reoriented in the field. Operating in flip mode places the rig's center of gravity far lower and improves stability in a variety of situations including underslung cranes or Steadicam operation. Flip mode also allows the rig to get up close to the ceiling, increasing maximum height by as much as 1ft or more depending on camera and lens configuration.
For maintenance, quick cleaning of all glass surfaces is easy, because the entire bottom plate of the mirror box can be removed with just six thumbscrews. The front and back surface of the mirror can be quickly cleaned and resealed without costly delays. The mirror itself also can be replaced in the field. In the event of damage, simply disengage the mirror pressure clamp. The optical mirror is held in place by two strong clamps with shock-absorbing rubber; release the clamps and the mirror slides right out.
The removable mirror box also allows for easy transit. BX3 and all its parts fit securely into a standard Pelican case, meeting all FAA and international requirements for commercial air travel.