2011 NAB Show Product Review: 3D

3D was a predominant theme at the 2011 NAB Show. In his NAB keynote address, James Cameron, Oscar-winning director of the 3D blockbuster, Avatar, pledged to evangelize and educate America about 3DTV and to help the production community transition to 3D with training centers, workshops, technology and more.

Director Andy Rosenburg and technical director Paul Harvath worked behind the scenes to do live 3D video at 3ality's display in the outdoor exhibits. On the NAB floor, the range of 3D tools has mushroomed since 2010 with a new crop of 3D camera rigs, standalone cameras, lens systems, recorders, monitors, routers, convertors, mixers and software for capturing better 3D, and managing 3D workflow, etc. There was no scarcity of other 3D hardware and firmware at NAB this year.

3ality Digital introduced its TS-5 Light 3D rig, a streamlined version of its TS-5 mini beamsplitter rig for Steadicam and for handheld use. Even smaller is its new Handheld Wonder Module, for use with even smaller, lighter cameras including a sync source, flip.

3D-One unveiled a compact, integrated handheld 3D HD camera with easy convergence adjustment and synchronization of its twin lens system. The CP-31 has twin 1/2-inch+ CMOS HD sensors and captures stereo 1080p at 24/25/30 fps to swappable SSD SATA drives.

Abel Cine introduced the Phantom 65-Z3D, a truly unique 3D camera system with a single camera, single lens, single recorder 3D system with adjustable zero parallax. The 65 mm sensor captures two 35 mm-sized images side by side with no image distortion or excessive parallax. It combines Vision Research’s Phantom 65 Gold camera with MKBK’s Zepar’s Stereo 3D optics, yet is compact for shooting in tight spaces.

AJA debuted its Hi5-3D, which outputs multiplexed 3D formats and enhanced the Kona 3G’s 3D prowess by adding 4K capability. Its Ki Pro Mini recorder fits handily on 3D rigs for capture of 3D video directly into Apple ProRes 422. It also previewed its “Riker” technology for stereo 2K workflows using Apple’s new Thunderbolt pipeline.

Astrodesign, in the Band Pro booth, showed a compact, digital recorder/monitor which records three hours of raw 3D HD on a removable 1.5TB SSD (solid state drive).

Triaxes demonstrated NetJet which synchronizes dual stereo video streams into a glasses-free 3D format and can broadcast this via IP or DVB-ASI in real time. Their DepthGate converts standard3D video to a glasses-free 3D format while SpiceBox converts 2D to 3D by generating a depth map for each frame.

Bexel demonstrated its Hercules HD Flypack on a basketball court featuring six 3ality Digital rigs, Sony 8000G 80-input switcher, Calrec Artemis mixing console, 96-input LCD production monitor wall with Evertz MVP multi-image display processors, Pesa Cheetah multiformat video router and DRS audio router, multiple EVS LSM XT[2] six-channel HD DDRs, and Sony HD CamSRW-5800s.

Hans Viktora from Greenpost in Germany holds up the monitor overlay carried by CineView3D that allows viewing of 3D stills and video on any screen without special glasses.Blackmagic Design’s Da Vinci Resolve 8 achieves perfect 3D image alignment and focus effortlessly by analyzing hundreds of image points. Their Ultra Studio Pro 3D enables real time 3D editing with Final Cut Pro, and Adobe CS 5.5.

In the Bexel booth, Camera Corps introduced its 3D Universal RCP main control panel which enables six separate cameras or three stereo 3D rigs to be remotely controlled.

Canon Broadcast’s 20-pin 3D Bridge cable enables zoom, iris and focus control for a stereo lens pair, while 3D software in the digital drives enables synchronization of their 16-bit servos. “3D Assist” software enables precise stereo tracking of zoom, focus and iris with the digital drive lenses, when paired with identical cameras. Canon also demonstrated 3D synchronization on matched pairs of its XF 105 and XF 305 camcorders.

Cinedeck LLC showcased Cinedeck EXTREME v2.0, with full support for Avid DNxHD, CineForm and Apple ProRes in a seamless camera-to-post workflow plus 3D-LUT Color Processing w. dual SDI monitoring. A stereo option adds dual camera monitoring, capture, playback to its mobile stereo 3D apps.

Cel-Soft showed Cel-Scope 3D, which makes depth budget and depth-plot logging data required for successful stereo content capture, available via laptop.

Codex Digital demonstrated 3D workflows with the Codex Studio Recorder and Codex Portable which capture two 4:4:4 or 4:2:2 HD streams locked in sync, for playback or output to an NLE. The Codex Virtual File System can rapidly output 3D .mxf files with 1D/3D LUTs and 3 optional levels of DNxHD for digital dailies and offline 3D editing.

Convergent Design unveiled Gemini 4 4 4, a 10-bit uncompressed video recorder and 5-inch monitor which supports most HD and 2K formats with 4:2:2 and 4:4:4 color, The 3D/Stereo Option enables stereo recording and playback with synchronized dual stream playback.

Dashwood Cinema Solutions debuted Stereo3D CAT, which streamlines left and right eye calibration; Stereo3D Toolbox for demuxing side-by-side, interlaced and over/under formatting; Dashwood Stereo3D Utilities for ingesting and outputting 3D footage from and to all devices; and Dashwood 3D chart, with disparity correction, HIT adjustment.

Data Video had the smallest integrated 3D camera at NAB. The Live S3D-1’s lenses can be brought even closer together than human eyes and controlled via WiFi or USB.

Doremi Labs’ Dimension 3D converts from and to most 3D formats with frame rate changes.

John Reeve (L) provides information about the Dashwood Stereo3D CAT, a calibration analysis tracker, to Geoff Boyle from CML in Dawlish, UK.Emotion 3D’s Stereoscopic Suite X1 After EFX plug-in enables glasses-free 3D viewing.

Element Technica’s Atom can be switched from side-by-side to beamsplitter mode and uses the same controls as other E.T. 3D rigs. Live interaction among all 3D functions, for all resolutions and workflows, with SGO’s DI & Stereo 3D Mistika.

Fujinon’s 3D Synchronous Controller synchronizes zoom, focus, exposure for all of its 16 bit 2/3-inch HD, motor drive (MD) lenses, encoded for 3D and robotic apps. With Fujinon’s 3D Synchronous Control System, PF (precision focus) and non-PF lenses can now be used in a 3D setup. Digi-Power lenses can also be adjusted wirelessly from 100m.

Genus’ Hurricane Rig, (by Alister Chapman) is light enough for handheld 3D shooting, thanks to manual versus digital 3D controls. It supports cameras up to 9 pounds and can be switched from beam splitter to side-by-side mode.

Go Pro showcased the HERO 3D System, the smallest side by side 3D rig at NAB. The 3D case, an underwater housing, operates down to 180 feet. GoPro now owns Cineform and bundles Hero with 3D Cineform Studio for editing, uploading and viewing of all 3D files.

Hydroflex’s Neutron BORG 3D houses Element Technica’s Neutron with 2 SI-2K cameras. 3D settings are tweaked topside while a diver shoots the camera down to 60 feet.

JVC’s GY-HMZ1U ProHD 3-D camcorder has 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors with (LSI) chips and twin f1.2 HD lenses and a glasses-free flip-out monitor. It records AVCHD at 34 Mbps and ships in 4Q. JVC also showed its 46-inch GD-463D10 3D monitor and 2D3D1 converter.

Marshall Electronics’ 3D-241-HDSDI monitor offers 1920x1200 resolution and 1000:1 contrast with 3D/2D side-by-side and a difference map display.

Meduza Camera Systems previewed the world’s first integrated 4K 3D camera. Its 4096x3072 sensor can be upgraded as larger sensors become available. Interaxial and convergence can be adjusted remotely. This 15 pound camera can be leased starting in 4Q.

Miranda showed its 3DX-3901 signal processor with Real D and Sensio 3D encoding plus conversion of multiple 3D formats; X-3D news graphics processor and Densite HMP-1801 3D graphics playback card; and the Kaleido X 3D multiviewer.

Panasonic’s new shoulder mount AG3D P1 camcorder is essentially a 3D version of their HPX 370 HD camcorder which records up to 80 minutes of 10-bit AVC Intra on two 64 GB P2 cards. Their 25-inch 3D LCD field monitor, the BT-3DL2550 3D, has a 1920x1200 flicker-free 3D display with multiple display options. They also showed an affordable 3D-ready, digital mixer, the AG-HMX100.

Polecam introduced its 3D-Capable Head for use with paired HD mini-cameras like Toshiba’s IK-HD1 and the HRO69. The 3D-Mounting Plate attaches directly to all standard Polecam rigs and is optimized for studio shooting and close-ups.

Steve Hertler (R) gives a demonstration of the Element Technica Atom Pro stereo rig to Mithun Dsouza from Pixion in Mumbai, India.P + S Technik’s Evolution Freestyle Rig has heavier duty plates and adjusters for use with cameras like Alexa and RED. The Mini 3D recorder/viewer (by 1 Beyond Wrangler) features a 10.4-inch 3D screen and processes stereo raw in real time.

Redrock Micro’s Micro3D SxS 3D rig accommodates two smaller video cameras or DSLRs in a side by side (SxS) setup with a full suite of locking adjustments for 3D setups. It weighs 8.6 pounds plus an optional shroud for use with Canon XF 105 camcorders.

Schneider Optics’ 3D Windows protect beam splitters from flying debris, while their Round and Window-Sized Quarter Wave Retarder Filters remedy partial polarization.

Sony unveiled an integrated shoulder-mount 3D camera co-developed with Discovery available in Q4. The PMW-TD300 3-D has twin optical lenses with three 1/2-inch CMOS Exmor sensors per eye. This summer, Sony will ship a smaller pro 3D camcorder, the HXR-NX3D1, with 1/4-inch CMOS sensors and twin 10x lenses, that records eight hours of 3D. Sony also showed its World Cup 3D fieldpack now used in live trucks for BSkyB and Telegenic.

Snell unveiled 3D in several products: Alchemist Ph.C-HD standards conversion engine, Kahuna production switcher, Centra monitoring and control, and Morpheus automation.

Stereotec debuted a new 3D mirror rig for larger cameras like RED ONE, as well as a Steadicam-friendly Stereotec Mid-Sized Rig, plus a new Side-by-Side Live Rig for various cameras.

Teranex unveiled two 3D software apps for its VC 100 universal frame synchronizer/ format converter. Their VC1 2D-3D converts 2D to 3D in real time with dual VC 100s plus, up/down /cross and frame rate conversions in 3D Their VC1-3D-ENC encodes 3D right/left eye streams in most 3D formats, while the VC1-3D-DEC decodes them.

Transvideo showed their new Transvideo HD 3DView S monitors, featuring built-in genlock analyser and synchronizer for synchronized output with SDI 1 or 2.

TV Logic showed two new OLED 3D monitors: the 24-inch TDM 243W and 47-inch TDM-473W. Both accept most SD, HD and 3D formats and include waveform vectorscopes.