3D binaural camera helmet and CRT stereoscope

I sometimes like to make things together with my nephew, Kristian Castro. He is an art student and had couple of years in Oslo during which we did some projects together. The biggest project we did revolved around the idea of making a subjective 3D camera and showing the finished video on a stereoscope. We did some research and went for it head on. It seemed like a fairly easy thing to do at first, but I promise you it wasn’t!

The idea was to make a 3d camera helmet that would offer another quality than your typical 3D GoPro rig that you usually see action sports people wearing. Ours was not designed for break neck action, but rather for capturing social interaction. We also used GoPro cameras, but ours were mounted on a very stable camera helmet and each lens is exactly fitted over each of Kristian’s eyes. When someone looks him in the eyes, it seems, from the cameras POV that they are looking straight into the camera. Our hope was to capture something true and intimate.

To really immerse the spectator into the situation, we assembeled binaural mirophones. I made casts of Kristian’s ears in epoxy, and drilled holes for the ear canals. The talented Rune Van Deurs guided us in the selection and fitting of the microphones into the ears. When the whole thing was put together, the sound it recorded was totally perfect 3D sound. When listening to this sound on headphones, one can hear if the sound source is in front, behind, over, under, close or far away. It sounds just like it would do if you were there in person.

We were quite proud of ourselves, and now only had the simple task of making a device for viewing the video. We both really like the light and feeling one gets from CRT monitors. You know, the big, fat, old fashioned televisions? So we wanted to use two of those together with some stereoscopic optics. We fooled around with this for many frustrating days. So many problems! Just to make a videoflie that you can split in two in perfect sync was a challenge. It was tedious, but we finally got it to work like a dream! I tell you, the image quality it makes is far more pleasant and easy on the eyes than the average cinema 3D glasses. The downside is that only one person can watch it at a time.

Here are some photos from the building process:

Kristian made a video with our equipment where he experimented with aftereffects in 3D. He really pushed himself in a technical and artistic way, but the video lacks the intimacy of interaction with another person. Therefore we have to make a new video together. What will it be? Stay tuned to find out.

All photos by Kristian Castro