Canadian firm develops single-lens 3-D production technique

Teleproduction companies producing 3-D programming continue to look for ways to reduce costs wherever possible, either by combining crews or facilities. One of the reasons is because 3-D uses either a pair of cameras and lenses rigged together or a new especially designed integrated 3-D camera.

Supporting this need to reduce operating expenses, ISee3D, based in Toronto, says it is has developed a way to shoot lower-cost 3-D video with a single-lens camera. According to the company, one needs only cover up one-half of the camera lens, which shifts the focal point, and then cover up the opposite side of the lens, shifting it again. Rapidly alternating between two images of the same subject from slightly different focal points results in a 3-D image.

Executives at ISee3D argue the technology is very low cost and an easy way to upgrade existing HD camera models to 3-D, with the only tradeoff being decreased brightness (because less light enters the lens when half of it is covered up). Experts said ISee3D’s method could be superior to other 3-D technology when it comes to rapid motion and close-ups, which can be troublesome for dual-lens 3-D systems.

ISee3D recently did a demo for reporters involving a video camera with an ISee3D add-on in front of the lens, which provided the filtering. The actual products, however, would have the filtering technology built in. Witnesses said the demo was impressive.

ISee3D was quiet on details but promised some announcements in January from “major players” in the camera market.