Category Archives: 3-D

Converting AIPTEK 3D HD Camcorder i2 photos for 3DTV

Years ago, I posted some articles on the AIPTEK 3D i2 camera.

I *finally* got to hook this camera up to a 3D TV and see the videos and images in full color 3-D (instead of the red/blue anaglyph conversions I’ve been doing). It works amazingly well!

I will soon post some tips on converting these images to play off of a USB stick (they do not, directly)…

Stay tuned.

2012: The Year of 3-D

RAR (Random Apple Rumor, see 2007 post) of the day…

Apple will announce its 3-D imitative. “3-D is big in the movie industry right now, but it hasn’t made it successfully to the home. Other companies have been trying 3-D for years, but we think we can do it better.”

1. The Apple TV that is an actual TV will be a 3-D TV. Since 3-D TVs already carry a premium price, having one that also does Apple TV stuff won’t seem to have too much of an “Apple tax” associated with it. Killer industrial design AND “Apple Eye” glasses that will be better and cheaper than existing ones will be the feature that makes them better.
2. The iTunes 3-D Movie Store will provide content.
3. The new iPhone 3D and iPod Touch 3D will allow consumers an easy way to record their own 3-D movies.
4. iMovie 3-D will allow easy 3-D processing, including adding 3-D titles (user selectable depth).
5. Output to red/blue anaglyph (or direct uploading to YouTube, since they support 3-D) will be part of it.
6. 2012 will be the year of 3-D.

Based on nothing. (Well, except a supposed “next iPhone” case photo that shows a hole in each corner, spaced like they are spaced on the 3-D Aiptek/Viewsonic cameras… Sure, they said it was for a flash, but…)

AIPTEK 3D HD Camcorder i2 & Mac p2

Updates:

  • 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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!)
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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?).
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.

AIPTEK 3D HD Camcorder i2 & Mac

Two days ago, a random Google search led me to discover a cheap ($199 list price!) 3-D camcorder now for sale. This AIPTEK 3D HD Camcorder i2 model was not a camcorder like I think of the term, but more like one of those Flip video memory card cameras. It shoots video and takes digital pictures in 2D and 3D. The camera has 25MB of internal memory for taking a few shots, but an SDHC card is required to do anything more substantial than test it.

I placed an order via Amazon Prime and had the camera the next day — thanks, Amazon! If you wish to buy one, the model I got was $183

The camera comes with an HDMI cable (there is a mini HDMI port on the camera), NP70 battery, a USB extension cable, a set of nice plastic red/blue 3-D anaglyph glasses, a wrist strap and carrying pouch. When the camera is plugged in to a computer, it mounts as a “CDImage” virtual CD with Windows software, and a flash drive with the standard DCIM folder structure on it.

The software is used to download video and photos from the device, and then upload them to Facebook or YouTube. YouTube has support for 3-D video files, and will display them dynamically as either side-by-side format or several types of red/blue anaglyph (color, greyscale, optimized).

The raw 3-D JPG files that come out of the camera are 2592×1944 and they are two images squished side-by-side. Videos are in MP4 format and 1280×720, left and right images side-by-side. The conversion software (ArcSoft TotalMedia HDCam for 3D) will split the two images out and process them as a red/blue anaglyph image (for viewing with the old style paper glasses).

There is no Macintosh software, and thus this post.

Without the software, you are stuck with a cheesy 2-D camera of questionable resolution. It should be very easy in Final Cut Express to convert the MP4 video files, but I am not sure what software exists for handling the still photos.

I will add a new post when I get it figured out. I just wanted this here so Google could find it and maybe someone out there could help on this project.