Getting Started/ Help

Why isn't stereoscopic photography more popular?
   Surprisingly, a significant percentage of the population just can't see 3D.

Where do I start?
    Every available method for creating 3D images has some inherent flaws or drawbacks.  This is a quick overview  in an attempt to avoid wasted effort and achieve good results.
   To begin, you will need two images of the same subject taken from slightly different horizontal perspectives. Beginners can start by simply snapping two hand-held images taken about 3 inches apart horizontally. Make sure that the camera is held at roughly the same angle for each image and centered at the same point on the horizon.
    Two disposable cameras taped together facing the same direction with zero parallax can also be used. When the shutters are released simultaneously, the resulting images will be nearly equivalent to any stereo camera of the 1950's. This is an easy method with no need for special film processing or handling. The lenses should be spaced 2-1/4 to 3 inches apart. The left camera image is viewed with the left eye and the right camera image with the right eye.

   Better results can be achieved using two quality cameras hard mounted side by side on a bracket.  The shutters are released simultaneously using an electronic or dual cable release. This configuration tends to be a bit awkward and bulky, but the results are very consistent and predictable. The downside of using two cameras is variation in the image exposure and shutter synchronization.
   For still life photography the best system to use is simply a single camera mounted on a slide mechanism which moves left to right 2-1/4 to 3 inches. Take one photo at each extreme position.
 Slide mechanisms, dual cable releases, brackets and other stereoscopic hardware are available at the Berezin Stereo Photography Products link below. 

3D Glasses
   Checkout for great prices on a variety of different formats of 3D glasses.

Anaglyph Images (red/blue)
   Anaglyph images are produced easily from existing image pairs using a computer. RGB (red-green-blue) color separations are made of each image. Typically the red information for the anaglyph comes from the left image only. The green and/or blue information comes from the right image. The desired separations are merged together to create the anaglyph. If identical features are aligned in the color separations, those features will be flush with the image window when viewed with red/blue(cyan) glasses. If a black and white image pair is used to create the color separations the output anaglyph will be easy to view and in a simple traditional format. If a color image pair is used to create the separations the anaglyph will retain some of the color information and give the effect of a 3D color image. This may be difficult to view in some cases, especially if the original images are comprised of large areas of red, green or blue. Color anaglyphs are best when they are mainly combinations of yellow, magenta, gray or brown. Anaglyphs can also be created using color filters with double exposures when a stereo image is photographed. However, the final picture will usually tend to be confused with remnant images that bleed through each filter because most films/video are sensitive to spectral ranges extending beyond visible light. Cold mirrors or IR filters may be required to correct this.

Color Bleed/Ghosting
   Color Bleed will occur in anaglyph images when the image data intended for one eye is also perceived by the other. The most common reason for this to happen is from poor filtering of the separate image colors. It can also occur when the final output images are created using jpg and other "lossy" formats. These formats use color substitutions that are rarely true to the original. This may jumble together the left/right image data. It is highly reccommended to use "lossless" file types such as gif, tiff, or bmp whenever possible, especially if Color Bleeding is a problem.

ColorCode 3D Anaglyph
   ColorCode 3D refers mainly to a specific type of amber/blue glasses used to view anaglyph images which are created in the yellow/blue format. Projected images can be quite stunning, but printed images tend to be difficult to view especially using incandescent light which lacks sufficient blue light.

Halfcolor (Truecolor) Anaglyph
   Halfcolor is an anaglyph technique of using one grayscale image and one color image as the stereo pair. Results can be surprisingly good. To create a halfcolor red/cyan anaglyph, the left color image is converted to gray then used to create the red color separation. The right image is used un-altered to create the green and blue separations. The output image will have muted reds since they have been averaged with the blues and greens, but the overall image will be easier to view because luminance from the blues and greens is no longer isolated to the right image.

JPS Files (jpeg stereo)
   JPS files are simply cross-eyed stereo pairs that have been saved in the jpg image file format. Files created with the Vrex software may also include file tags which enhance the format, but are not part of the original standard.

Phantogram Images
  Phantograms are anaglyphs designed to be placed on a horizontal surface then viewed at a 45 angle. If done properly the 3D image will appear to be resting on or above the surface. When creating phantograms, placing the source objects on a rectangular grid can be helpful. A stereo pair of the source objects is photographed at same location that the phantogram will be viewed from, at 45 from the horizontal. An anaglyph is created where the three dimensional image appears in front of the anaglyph surface. The image is stretched to make the grid lines (imaginary or otherwise) of the anaglyph distort where they appear rectangular (zero parallax) having no perspective. When the final edited anaglyph image is placed on the horizontal surface and viewed at 45 the grid lines in the image will follow the normal perspective. This gives the illusion from the viewing point that 3 dimensional objects in the anaglyph (phantogram) are resting on the horizontal surface.

Jigglevision/Wobble Stereo
   This is a very interesting method that can produce 3D effect without the use of glasses simply by flipping back and forth between the images of a stereoscopic pair. The most common computer format is the animated GIF file (89a) looping the sequence with a delay of 1/10th second or a bit longer. This will allow 3D perception with only one eye.

The 30:1 Rule
   Unless the intention of the photographer is to produce a hyper/hypo stereo pair it is generally advised to use the 30:1 rule.  This simply means that the horizontal offset used in taking the images is 1/30 of the distance to the object.

Trapezoidal Distortion
   In general, image pairs should be photographed with zero parallax angle. This is because the images are recorded on a flat plane. When the parallax angle of a stereo pair changes from zero the resultant images will elongate opposite to each other. If the subject is a box, the images become trapezoids.

Loreo/Argus Camera and Vivtar 3D Cam
   The Argus/Loreo and Vivitar 3D Cam stereo cameras are probably the easiest to use for prints. Using reflectors and lenses the camera creates a parallel stereo-pair on a single frame of 35mm film. No special processing is required. The prints can be easily viewed with the magnifying viewer which is supplied. The drawbacks to the camera are a fixed focus lens, fixed shutter speed and in the case of the Argus/Loreo the need to use a plastic adapter mounted on the front of the camera to prevent internal reflections which ruin a photo. Internal reflections and light leaks have ruined many photos that I have taken with this brand of camera. The new Loreo MKII camera has been vastly improved. It has glass mirrors and internal reflections have been reduced.
  Loreo also sells a stereo adapter for 35mm SLR cameras called a “Lens in a Cap”. It is basically a complete lens system that can create a stereo pair on a single 35mm frame.  The adapter has 3 focus settings and 2 f-stops (f22& f11). Images are okay, but the mirrors in the unit I have are mis-aligned and the exposure for each image is slightly different.
 The Vivitar 3D Cam camera is described at: and available at Berezin Stereo Photography Products below. 

Nimslo Camera
   The easiest camera to use for 3D slides is the Nimslo (4 lens) camera with the two center lenses masked. When processed the images are half-frame 35mm (slightly offset) and the film processor should be told to mount one image per slide. Half of the slide will be black. The Nimslo is fixed focus, but has electronic exposure control. The camera can be used as originally intended (all 4 lenses unmasked) with print film and can be processed into lenticular prints which are quite novel. The only drawback is that the lens spacing is not quite adequate and the photos lack realistic three-dimensional effect.

Negative Scanners
An easy alternate method to use with unusual film formats is a digital negative film scanner. I use an HP S20 scanner that can accommodate the odd frame sizes. 

NuView Video Adapter
   The NuView adapter is quite impressive and works with many different camcorders. The interlaced video can be viewed on any TV with the addition of de-interlacing glasses. Since the camera uses polarizing shutters to control interlacing, the system suffers severe image flaws from polarized sunlight reflected from surfaces such as windows and water. The system is expensive and somewhat bulky and is currently available at

Pulfrich Effect
   To experience the Pulfrich effect, put on your Pulfrich glasses (described below) and

Click here

   This is by far the most robust method available to create 3D films or video. When objects move horizontally across a background, and they are viewed with a moderately dark filter covering only one eye, a stereoscopic phenomenon called the Pulfrich Effect can occur.  Depending on the speed and direction of objects and which eye is covered, objects will appear near or far relative to each other. This effect is the basis for the method used in many current 3D TV show specials and videos. 
   You can create high quality 3D sequences by doing simple dolly shots with a camera. View the sequence through dark sunglasses with one lens removed. If the camera is moving right to left, remove the left lens. The speed that the camera moves is not critical. There is a minimum speed where the effect disappears and a maximum speed where images move by so fast that you want to puke. The effect is based on optical signal delay and ratios of shadow-like effects of the near and far objects which are merged in the brain. Regardless of what speed you travel the ratios are the same. Objects moving across the view-screen at the speed of the camera (in the opposite direction to travel) will appear flush with the screen. Objects moving the least will appear to be at the horizon. You can capture a sequence off to the side as you walk and get 3D or from a bicycle or car. Usually the effect will kick in if you are only moving a couple of miles per hour. Less if you are close to the subject.
   Pulfrich videos can also be viewed with LCD glasses that are synchronized to view the interlaced images in the proper field sequence order. Pulfrich videos are so versatile they can even be viewed with no glasses at all as a 2D presentation.
   You may need to experiment with different strengths of filters. If the density is too dark or too light the effect will tend to diminish. Also, the filter should be as neutral color as possible.

Realist Format Cameras
   High quality stereoscopic slides can be created with antique (1950's) stereo Realist cameras. Kodak, the David White Company and others  produced cameras using an odd format which requires special processing to mount the 24mm x 24mm images. Do-it yourselfers can find supplies for this at the Reel 3D Enterprises link below. Lab processing is also available, but hard to find.

Reel 3D Enterprises
   To find all of your stereoscopic needs go to:
Berezin Stereo Photograpy Products

Return to Index
Return to Main