Canon 3D lens... Was it real? at DVinfo.net

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Canon XL and GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 10:34 PM   #1
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Canon 3D lens... Was it real?

Playing with my XL2 the other day and I recall a while ago (years) that Canon announced a cool 3D lens... Did anyone ever actually see one of these in the wild?
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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It was real (for the original XL1), but never made it to market. I've heard that about a half dozen were made.

I did not see the lens, but saw some 3D video that was likely shot with it in ~2002 at a Canon booth (mostly scanners and other document management systems, not video) at a trade show in NYC.

The demo used a special set of wired glasses with LCD panels for the left and right eye in the glasses. Display resolution was not very high, but I thought the the 3D effect was decent at the time. The nominal price was announced as something like $10K for the lens (maybe higher). Chris may recall more about it.

It was ahead of its time, by about 8 years. And Canon just might revive the technology, but then it may have been overpriced. I had a 3D adapter for a Pentax still camer back in the mid 1970. Actually worked well. Shot slides that one could view with a special viewer - nice, if private, 3D effect.

The adult entertainment market could well spur development of 3D.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 10:24 PM   #3
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Canon 3d lens.

Neat... I had no ideas it was that expensive..... all I ever saw was a blurb in an issue of Videography I think around the time it was announced.... too bad it never made it...


thanks for the info Don... you provided more information than I could find on this rare lens....
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Old November 24th, 2010, 08:25 PM   #4
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Scroll to the bottom of
Guide to XL1 & XL1S Lens Options by The Watchdog
and for more on it,
Reviews OnLine: Canon 3D Lens for XL1
Canon U.S.A. Introduces 3D Lens for the Popular XL1 Digital Video Camcorder | Business Wire | Find Articles at BNET

And there are more. Google can be your friend.
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Old November 24th, 2010, 09:03 PM   #5
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Thanks Don, that was a nice trip down memory lane!
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Old November 24th, 2010, 10:48 PM   #6
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I saw this lens in action briefly at the Canon booth at NAB in either 2000 or 01.

They had a camera setup with the lens, and a (bad) belly dancer gyrating in front of it.

I took a look at the screen through the 3D glasses, and to me the effect was not particularly impressive.

My thought at the time was in line with Don's. About the only application I could see for it at the time was adult entertainment, (and even then, it was pretty bad.)
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Old November 25th, 2010, 07:33 AM   #7
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But think how good it could look today with switching for Left-Right eye, each say 60P at 1920x1080, not the essentially 160x120 display goggles I saw (that was probably a down-scaling of the 240-line fields).

Getting a decent, convenient display for watching is likely the real issue.
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Old November 25th, 2010, 09:18 AM   #8
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I saw the lens in action on a large screen wearing 3D glasses, (they had a big screen and several pair around it. I lined up and waited my turn.) The results for me then were yawntastic.

Now, that was a decade ago, (my GOD! That long?) and I think Canon would be INSANE not to build a 3D lens for the H1. In fact, like Don, I have been thinking a lot about that lens lately as I see the new HD 3D cameras hitting the market, and I've BEEN wondering when Canon is going to roll out an updated version of that lens.

But it's out of pure curiousity on my part. While I'm interested to see how far other creative producers can push the "Emmersive Media" envelope with 3D video, I'm not really interested in investing in the technology myself.

3D has ALWAYS been a media fad and consistancy in implementation has ALWAYS been a major barrier to market acceptance. Not to mention that in the majority of applications I've seen, it's been exceedingly gratuitous and is just as distracting from the narrative and "4th Wall" breaking as an actor looking directly at the camera. The only 3D film I've seen that I found "Emmersive" in any way was Cameron's "Avatar", (which I openly admit that during one of the briefing scenes in the film when a group of marines crosses in front of the action to find as seat, FOR JUST A MOMENT I had the illusion that it was people coming into the theater late, and after the first of the big "Forest Burn" scenes toward the climax, I involuntarily reached up to brush a bit of floating ash from my view...Those moments when I caught myself, I thought "WOW! This old gimic might have some life left in it YET!)

But it's got a long way to go. It's like when "Talking Pictures" first came out, and all of the blocking, staging and acting methods had to be adjusted around everyone having to deliver their lines into this hunk of machinery the size of a small coffee can, so ALL the dialog was delivered loudly to this big, awkward vase full of flowers in the middle of the kitchen table.

I think the technology is finally there to support it without being distractingly gratuitous. From here, it's what the director does with it.

As I said, my curiousity is piqued, but beyond that...Not much.

Just my two cents, all the best!

-Dan
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Old November 27th, 2010, 07:58 AM   #9
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3D does make sound stage backdrops a bit more of a challenge.
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