Three Generations of Three Dimensions

Grandma Ellard’s Stereographoscope. According to ‘the internet’ there were many of these made, most are French and ‘of poor quality’. This one doesn’t seem to take the oldest kind of stereo card, but is quite happy with cards made in the 1960′s – I would think it was made around 1920.

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The cards I have were included in cereal packets in the 60s – despite three boys eating through Rice Bubbles as fast as possible I don’t have a full set, but lots of duplicates.

Pa Ellard’s Viewmaster Model G made in Belgium and I suspect bought in Switzerland in 1968. Continuing the tradition of buying the cheap and cheerful. But it brought a lot of pleasure to my growing years.

Although the reel says ‘Unidentified Flying Objects’ it’s actually scenes from the TV series UFO – episode 13 Close Up. Mainly effects shots but I recall that there were some actors on the other discs, so they must have shot at least some of the show as 3D stills. American disc made 1969.

Tom Ellard’s FinePix Real3D W3 bought in a discount bin in January 2011. The salesboy remarked how fast they were selling, which wasn’t the brightest pitch seeing as I’d been watching the pile of unsold cameras get cheaper for about a month. (The previous version was named The Worst Camera Ever Made and only sold in the hundreds. Cool!)

Main advantage of course is that it records stereoscopic images and video, so you can make your own ‘boring images with depth cues’ (ViewMaster had a still camera as well). The screen at the back is autostereoscopic and quite impressive once your brain slides into synch with the display. What I found more interesting is how after using the camera for a while I had dreams with exaggerated depth, which suggests that the perceptive work the brain was doing was being garbage collected along with all the other data of the day.

Still images are much easier to compose in 3D. Video seems unstable, at least the test shots I’ve done so far.

(Yeah it’s a student information day, I was bored.) This Anaglyph version created with MPO Toolbox. See also Stereo Photo Maker which does many things including making printed versions of images that’ll fit in Grandma Ellard’s Stereographoscope.

And thus nature balances itself.