2D > 3D - stereo project guidance

Hi Everyone,
Client has provided 2D footage and wants to convert it to 3D.
I have never done this and need advice.
Resources / tips and tricks / things to keep in mind all are welcome.
Is it very time consuming ? It’s approximately 5mins.
Thanks for your valuable input and time always.

I’m not an expert, but until one chimes in, this will have to do:

the work is generally done by generating 3d objects to comprise a depth map that has the footage projected onto it and re-photographed from two virtual cameras that are eye-width apart, making the R and L of a stereo image.

For solid smooth objects this is reasonably easy, but for any leafy, fuzzy or semi-transparent things, or reflections, you are in for a world of pain. I honestly don’t know how they do that, or if they even can. I’ve certainly seen plenty of bad examples (I remember a tree from Alice in Wonderland that was clearly projected onto a sphere), but I’m not sure if things have improved.

There are whole studios who specialize in this, and I’d send it to one of them.


Send it to someone that specializes in this for sure. You don’t want to get involved with this. Unless you like getting kicked in the groin over and over again. And headaches. Actual genuine headaches.


it is a ton of roto and creating 3D objects approximating the shape of 2D images in your shot. StereoD (i think they are in San Diego) does this for a living as do companies that are off shore. def go through them and then make sure someone who is familiar with stereo oversee it. Managing the depth betw all the shots; positive vs negative parallax; etc is tricky to evaluate if you are not familiar. Also make sure you have a monitor that can show you a high quality stereo image (ie NOT anaglyph) i think most consumer panels all do it these days…


I agree with all the responses here…

Having had experience creating theatrical 3d main title sequences and studio mnemonics, all that stuff comes out of a 3d render, so you have way more flexibility to adjust things. From the limited 2d → 3d conversion I’ve done, thankfully, it’s been mostly hard surface & things like blown fire on black (additive), which is much more forgiving. To Andy’s point, trees and bushes would be a nightmare.

You have things like positive / negative parallax (if the screen is “zero”, objects going “into the aquarium” vs out toward the audience), interocular distance (distance between cameras/eyes), floating windows, scene/camera scale, but also minimum and maximum separation between eyes. Too little, and you feel no effect. Too much and your eyes can’t resolve the 3d and you get a splitting headache…

Most consumer TVs nowadays don’t offer 3d anymore. You’ll be hard pressed to find new models that offer it… It certainly was the hot new feature in the 2010s… Meaning used 3DTVs can be picked up cheap. If you can, definitely go the active shutter route. You’ll get less ghosting between eyes.

All that being said, for 5 minutes of content… Just send it out if you can :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thank you everyone for your valuable inputs

I once did a webinar for Autodesk on 3D conversion using flare. Will used my setups for this NAB demo…

If you’ve never done this, I probably don’t recommend you try, but watching this demo might give you some idea of the steps involved.
Good luck!

1 Like