Stereo imaging for tutorial images
I was watching a Discovery Channel interview with James Cameron about the filming of Avatar. One thing that struck me was his comparison of shooting in 3D to shooting in color. When color film was first introduced in cinema years ago, studios didn’t stop shooting black and white overnight, there was a period of overlap. However, there was a watershed moment for color films: the introduction of color television. Once color TV was popular, it was clear that the studios had to produce color films if they wanted to show them on television. This single move ushered in the era of color films, and now we only see black and white in the case of the occasional special effect. Cameron posits in the interview that 3D is likely to follow a similar trajectory. If some development in home theater or television enables casual viewing of 3D video, the norm for the movie industry will be to shoot in 3D.
Extrapolating these ideas a bit, it doesn’t seem unreasonable for us to be taking stereoscopic still images in the very near future. Searching around I’ve seen a few hacks that take a pair of digital cameras to create a stereoscopic still camera. I just wonder what the watershed moment will be for stereo images. Currently special techniques are needed to view stereo images, so their usefulness is currently limited. However, if we end up using some sort of stereo eyetap heads-up display interface for viewing digital media in the future, it could come to pass that we expect images to be shot in 3d.
What does this mean for tutorial images? I think that this could be really great for DIY and hardware hacker articles. I’ve been planning on writing a post on taking good pictures of things like electronic devices since I’ve found it to be a lot harder than I expected, but that will have to wait for another time. But in the meantime I’ve been thinking a lot about how to get better images for my teardown and modification articles. The biggest issues that I’m having revolve around lighting, focus, and depth-of field. However, choosing the angle of the shot is very hard in certain cases, such as when you are trying to show the position of an assembly relative to its neighbors. In cases like this 3D images would be a fantastic tool in my photo arsenal.