- 2017-01-10: Reformatted for WordPress.
Here are some things I have learned so far:
See also: Part 1
My camera shipped with FW Ver 1504, Jul 23 2010. HWVer 10B1.
- There is a firmware update (build 160) available on the European site for AIPTEK, but not on the US site. It fixes a frame rate issue that reviews seem to complain about. Why this update is not available in the US (the archive comes with English and it appears to work fine) is unknown. You can find it here.
- My unit had a color issue, where the right side image (right eye/camera) had a reddish tint to it. I wrote tech support and they responded within 24 hours, and we had a few e-mails back and forth during the day. They provided me with another firmware update (180, Ver 1803 Oct 11 2010) but it did not resolve the problem. They suggested I return the unit to Amazon, so I did. I requested an exchange on Friday, and Amazon shipped out the replacement “next day” (via Amazon Prime of my original order I suppose) and I picked up the replacement and shipped back my original the following Monday. (Wow, Amazon!)
- To install updates, you copy two files to an SD card (the instructions say to use 4GB or smaller, but it worked fine on my 16GB card — to be safe, follow their instructions). One file is an .elf (probably the standard debugger file format) and the other is AipFwUpgrade.txt, an empty file that is probably a trigger file the camera will look for. The card is inserted back in to the camera, and when you power it up and the update will proceed. Once complete, you have to remove these files from the SD card via a computer else the update will happen every time you power up. I found that you can mount the camera and copy the files over to it, directly, then let it update, but you still need to put the SD card in a card reader on a computer to remove them.
- There is also an update to the Windows PC software that comes on the virtual “CDImage” you see when you plug in the camera to a computer. This update can be found here too. Just like the firmware update, you copy two files over to an SD card (a .iso CD image file, and AipUpdateISO.txt trigger file) and put it back in the camera then turn it on. When done, you have to delete these files (just like with the firmware updates). This is a very decent system for doing updates.
- The files uploaded to YouTube (videos) are split screen squished — meaning for a 1920×720 image, you are seeing two 640×720 images squished together. YouTube can handle 3-D video if you add special keyword tags — in this case, the tags added by the AIPTEK ArcSoft software are “yt3d:enable=true”, “yt3d:swap=true” and “yt3d:aspect=16:9”. These are added by the ArcSoft software on upload, which means the software is not really doing anything special. I confirmed this by trying to upload the same .MP4 file directly to YouTube via the website, and received a “duplicate file” warning.
- YouTube will display the split screen file as various forms of red/blue anaglyph, interlace or checkerboard formats. This is nice, meaning you can let them do all the translations for your friends to watch however they want (even side by side or cross eye formats for viewing without glasses). BUT, viewing these files outside of a web browser (iPhone, iPad, etc.) will display only the split screen squished video as, apparently, the 3-D stuff is not handled by mobile devices (yet?).
- There is no Mac software, but it is quite easy to convert the video inside of Final Cut Express by layering the video on two tracks, applying the Levels filter to the top track and setting Red output tolerance to 0, then applying two instances of Level filter to the bottom copy, and setting one to Blue tolerance 0 and the other to Green tolerance 0, then setting top track to a mix so it shows through. This requires rendering and is slow, but produces good red/blue anaglyph results. Details on how to do this I found on this DVINFO.net message board years ago. Their suggestion of using “Screen” composite mode did not produce good results for me, but using Overlay worked fine.
- Conversion of photos on a Mac is my next project. There are quite a few programs out now for dealing with the Fuji W3 3-D camera, but I have not checked any of them yet to see if they also handle the side-by-side split screen format.
- There is no adjustment (seemingly) for parallax on the Aiptek. Back when I was using the NuView 3-D camcorder lens adapter (see also: Stereocam), there was a knob you turned to adjust the distance of the image. You would basically line up the two ghost images of whatever you wanted to be on the surface of the TV — anything in front of that would jump out of the TV, and anything behind it would recess in to the TV. This meant you could record something five feed away and adjust it so 4 feet popped out, and 6 feet went in. Or if you recorded something 20 feet away, you could set that as the neutral “flat” part. The Aiptek has no such adjustment (the W3 apparently does). The default distance appears to be around 10 feet, so trying to record anything too close (like something within a few feet) causes very bad ghosting — so this is best used for wide shots, and not close ups.
I will post more updates when I have time. I have to charge up the replacement camera and see if it handles color any better.