This is topic My Super 8 3-D Monster Movies in forum 8mm Forum at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 02, 2015, 03:20 AM:
I got hit with the 3-D bug back in 1982, when I saw my first 3-D movie at 11 years old. I was already a big movie buff with a fair knowledge of film history, and I was mildly outraged that something this wonderful, something they had known how to do since at least the 1950s, was only just now making a bit of a comeback.

As we all know, that particular comeback didn't last long. I wanted more 3-D movies, and since Hollywood didn't seem to be making any, I decided to do it myself.

Here then are links to two honest-to-goodness dual-strip 3-D movies I made in 1985 and 1986, The Freak and The Minotaur. I filmed them using two Chinon cameras on a common base, edited them as best I could without a multi-gang synchronizer, and projected them very imperfectly using a pair of Super 8 projectors I had.

Lately I've had them digitally scanned. I've tweaked the sync and made some much-needed adjustments in convergence, which I did not understand very well as a young teenager. On The Minotaur in particular, you will notice that some shots are marred by illumination asymmetry, as the left eye is darker than the right eye. I hope to correct this problem soon and upload an improved version.

You will also notice that the films are silent, with intertitles and musical accompaniment. I didn't get a magnetic sound camera until Christmas of '86, and then only because it was a closeout special at Sears. So one might say my films have stereo but no sound! ;-)

I hope you will look past the considerable imperfections in these films and find the entertainment value. I am very, very proud of myself for having had the gumption to make them. I've learned a lot about 3-D and films in that time, but I'm still striving to have as much fun as I did from day one.

Thanks a bunch for looking!
Posted by Martin Jones (Member # 1163) on July 02, 2015, 05:01 AM:
Always wanted to do it...... gathered all the equipment but didn't have the cash for filming at the critical time!
Worked on several ideas for single strip (over/under and side by side)..... cash again the limitation.

Well done, and thanks for presenting for cross eyed viewing. I do that without effort, though not with brightness differences.

I've kicked the real film approach into touch and gone digital. A recent unfortunate event in my life and the consequent complete re-organisation has left me able to indulge my lifelong interest in 3-D in any of its forms..... so if anyone out there has actual two-strip or single strip prints in their possession perhaps real film 3D is still on the cards (I don't hold out ANY hope, however!!!!!).

Again, well done! Great stuff!!

Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 02, 2015, 11:27 PM:

Thanks for the good word! I'm glad you got a kick out of my films.

I wasn't able to pursue more dual-strip 3-D as a teenager owing to tight finances, but I eventually came up with a simple and fairly practical single-strip solution. I put two mirrors out in front of my camera lens, such that the shared edge of the two mirrors divided the film frame right down the center. One mirror was at a 45-degree angle in relation to the camera, the other at... oh... we'll call it a 44-degree angle. This gave two "portrait format" left- and right-eye frames, side by side on the film. So the aspect ratio was not ideal, being about 0.66:1, but the scheme worked.

I found out later, after I'd shot a film this way, that a number of other people have come up with the same scheme down through the years. That was actually gratifying to learn, that I'd been thinking along the same lines as other clever folks.

Of course, if I'd only known about wedge prisms, I could have inserted a pair of those between my camera lens and my mirror arrangement to achieve an anamorphic squeeze, and my stereo pairs would have had a landscape orientation.

If I wanted to shoot 3-D stills today with a single, ordinary digital camera, I'd use the exact same mirror arrangement. I'd set the aspect ratio on the digital camera to 16x9, even for stills. When the 16x9 frame is split down the middle to form two "portrait style" frames, the resulting stereo pairs have almost exactly the same proportions as the familiar Stereo Realist-format slides many of us know and love.

One added benefit to this arrangement, for others who might wish to try it in Super 8 or other formats, is that it allows a measure of control over the interaxial distance, or lens separation. Placing the camera closer to the mirror pair results in the equivalent of bringing your "stereo lenses" closer together, which is ideal for closeups. Placing the camera farther from the mirror pair reults in a wider interaxial, good for scenic vistas and other distant subjects. And of course by swiveling one of the mirrors in relation to the other, one can effect a change in convergence.

I don't know if you're involved with Facebook, Martin, but there are several good groups on there devoted to the stereo hobby. My experience so far is that the members are friendly, welcoming, and encouraging, and on those occasions when they offer criticism, it is always kind and constructive. If you're not already involved, I encourage you to join right in!

Thank you again for the kind words. I hope we get a chance to chat further about this shared interest of ours.
Posted by Bill Phelps (Member # 1431) on July 03, 2015, 07:07 PM:
David...that was awesome! I really enjoyed your films. I also enjoy viewing the Magic Eye books so had no trouble viewing your films. How far apart did you have the two cameras mounted....does it have to be a certain distance?

Bill [Smile]
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 04, 2015, 02:07 AM:
That's a great question, Bill, and the answer is, I don't know exactly! I got my dad to drill three holes in an ordinary blank electrical outlet cover. The center hole attached to my tripod, and the other two holes had bolts for mounting the cameras. The two tiny holes that were already part of the plate, I used for tiny screws to act as shims, to tilt one of the cameras slightly upward in relation to the other, as a means of fine tuning the vertical alignment. As best as I can recollect and deduce, the cameras were at least 2.25 inches apart, and no more than three inches apart. I regret we never took a picture of that setup.

For most ordinary live-action 3-D, you'd probably want your lenses about as far apart as the average human eyes, 2.5 inches (63 millimeters), or slightly less. But you can get away with more if you're careful-- the 3-D system used to shoot House of Wax back in 1953 had an interaxial (or lens separation) of 3.5 inches, and that flick is just gorgeous in 3-D. And there are certainly circumstances when one is technically and aesthetically justified in choosing a much narrower or much wider intraxial.
Posted by Bill Phelps (Member # 1431) on July 04, 2015, 06:03 AM:
I was wondering if the farther apart the cameras are if the depth perception is greater...but it makes sense that you are basically reproducing human vision. Have you ever done any split screen in any of your films? Not really 3-D but multiple images.

Bill [Smile]
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 04, 2015, 08:43 PM:
Yes, the farther apart the lenses, the more exaggerated the stereoscopic depth. But this also results in miniaturization: Even vast landscapes can start looking like tabletop models if you shoot with a wide stereo base. Sometimes that's an interesting effect, it's just that one has to be careful.

I did try splitscreen effects in 2-D regular 8, where I could wind the film back. The results were imperfect, but not discouragingly so.
Posted by Lee Mannering (Member # 728) on July 06, 2015, 08:31 AM:
Hello David. My late father also a keen cine man used to film 9.5mm 3D using two Pathe cine cameras cabled together during the late 1950's. Some years later I got the 3D bug using Super 8 in the early 80's making my own anaglyph system up and later used the Elmo 3D unit which gave great results. Oh the things we used to do!
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 06, 2015, 01:30 PM:
Lee, you and your dad sound like my kindred spirits.

Do any of his films survive? And do any of yours? Perhaps someday if they're ever digitized, you could share them on YouTube. I would love to see them.

I've always been intrigued by the ELMO 3-D unit. Oh, if only I could have laid hands on one of those back in the day! But given my circumstances at the time, I had to rely on my own inventiveness to accomplish anything in the 3-D movie sphere. And to this day, I've never actually seen an ELMO 3-D unit with my own two eyes.

I think we all agree that just being a film enthusiast, especially in this day and age, sets one apart. But to add to that a passion for stereoscopic 3-D is to become part of a very unique breed.
Posted by Dominique De Bast (Member # 3798) on July 06, 2015, 01:54 PM:
Lee, that's very intersting. Could you write a post in the 9.5 section (or an article in the 9.5 magazine) about the 3D filming on 9.5 ?

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