How to Convert Your Movies or Videos into 3D (inside YouTube)
So you’ve joined the growing ranks of consumers who have 3-D technology at home. Congratulations! There are many ways to enjoy your newfound dimension, from movies to games, but sooner or later you’re going to want to create something. What better first step than to turn your existing videos into 3-D videos?
There are a number of software solutions, from the techie (codec plug-ins and command-line scripts) to the more intuitive (self-contained, step-by-step software applications). But nothing beats the accessibility and ease of use as the world’s foremost online video service: YouTube. In the same way that you’d upload any other video to YouTube, you can convert your home movies into 3-D.
- A first thing first, is your digital video already on the PC? If it’s not, simply transfer the files the way you normally would, whether by USB, FireWire, SD card, etcetera. If you’re starting with analog video (i.e, videotapes), you’re going to need to make a good quality analog-to-video transfer. That’s a bit beyond the scope of this guide, but can be accomplished in several ways; from installing a video capture card to taking your tapes to a pro video service.
- Next thing, you do have a YouTube account, right? If you have a Google Account of any kind, you’re all set already. If not, simply follow the step-by-step directions to create a new Google Account and you’re ready to go.
- Are you familiar with uploading to YouTube? It’s as easy as clicking on the “Upload” link at the top of the page (between the YouTube search bar and your user name/profile pic in the upper right corner). You’ll be able to select one or more files from your computer, or even record directly from a webcam. Remember, the higher the quality and length of your video (and the slower your Internet connection), the longer the upload will take.
- Once it’s done, take the video for a 2-D spin to make sure that everything came through the way it was supposed to be. Then click on the “Edit” link under the YouTube logo in the top left, and you’ll see two tabs beneath the video preview: “Basic” and “Advanced.” Click on “Advanced.”
- On the bottom right of the Advanced tab, you’ll see “3-D Settings.” Clicking on this will pull down a list of choices; the one that you want is “Please Make this video 3-D.” Just as with uploading, the amount of time that it will take to complete the conversion is based on video quality, length, and your connection to the YouTube server. But it’s a safe bet that you’ll be able to grab a bite to eat (and maybe catch a movie) while the processing takes place. For best results, keep your Internet/home network connection as free from other traffic as possible.
- The good news is that once the 2-D to 3-D conversion has taken place, you can freely select between a wealth of 3-D options simply by clicking on the little red “3-D” icon at the bottom of your video’s screen. For your own use, optimize the settings to match your specific 3-D hardware (screen and/or glasses), and other viewers with different setups will be able to do the same without further processing. There are even a few options for simple dual-image stereoscopic viewing, for those of your viewers who are still stuck with a 2-D monitor or TV.
That’s really all there is to it. Now, don’t be too disheartened if your 3-D video doesn’t provide IMAX-quality 3-D; many videos can be given a little of the 3-D experience, but you’ll have far better results with future videos if you think like a 3-D director when you’re recording them.
Keep in mind that making your subject distinct from its background will be a big help, whether it stands out through color, focus, or brightness (or better still, all of the above). Ideally, you’ll want the 3-D object to be several feet from the camera, with the background at least another several feet behind that. And if you can get a nice steady shot from one side of the object to the other (i.e., one that shows a little more of each side), you’ll be ahead of the game.
Trust me; your results will get better with familiarity and practice. Don’t worry too much about picking up more expensive hardware and software; there’s very little available at a reasonable cost in the consumer market that will give you significantly better 2-D to 3-D conversion results than your standard video camera, and the free tools that YouTube offer