Friday, November 9, 2007

3-D Headaches Continue

I've made multiple test discs now and tried them out on multiple NTSC monitors and none of them produce satisfactory results. I've been doing my research and determined that, as far as I can gather, there is no foolproof way to get perfect anaglyphic stereo reproduction on a television monitor. Two factors that figure into this are a) your NTSC television screen, and b) limitations of MPEG 2 video encoding.

From what I've read, MPEG 2 bleeds a bit of the green & blue channels into the red channel, resulting in a red channel that is not 100% red, and therefore it is impossible to reproduce the red that is needed to be cancelled out by the left eye of the 3-D glasses.

I am having better success playing the DVDs back on my HDTV display, which makes the ghosting more tolerable but still not a complete success. I am still frustrated that I cannot replicate the effect that I get with the Windows Media-encoded version that I stream from my PC to my Xbox 360.

What's more baffling is that on the same computer monitor, I had fine results watching the DVD using Cyberlink's Power DVD player and so-so results (more pronounced ghosting) via Windows Media Player's DVD player!

This raises all sorts of issues. I have prepared at least six different versions of the movie now, and testing suggests that there will never be one that works in all situations. I do have a version that works better on a computer monitor, or one that works marginally better on a TV set - which version do I put on the DVD? On a computer monitor, the effect is noticably better. There is still some ghosting, but it's within a tolerance range that I am willing to accept. Do I make the DVD for computer viewing and put a disclaimer on the front of the anaglyph version? I notice that the Spy Kids DVD has a similar disclaimer.

The field-sequential version remains unaffected and the preferred way to experience the movie in 3-D. The question remains about how this latest problem will affect theatrical exhibitions of the movie... if a theater can project the movie off of the Windows Media file, they'll get the best result. But can most of the film festivals take digital files? Will the DVD work better if projected?

Stay tuned.