3D is set to go mainstream in 2011, but you don't need expensive equipment to jump on the bandwagon. We show you how to convert 2D video into a 3D movie.

Ready or not, 2011 is set to be the year that 3D goes mainstream. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was crammed with 3DTVs – LG says more than half its 2011 line-up will support the extra dimension – and you can hardly turn a street corner without seeing a poster for a new 3D cinema release. The first consumer-oriented 3D cameras and camcorders arrived in 2010, and there are more to come this year, including some low-cost pocket models.

But if you’ve already got a camcorder and hours of existing footage, you may not want to upgrade your video-recording kit. Fortunately, your footage doesn’t need to languish in two dimensions. With Creator 2011, Roxio offers the ability to convert existing 2D footage to 3D.

You may be wondering how Roxio can create 3D images from 2D photos, given that your camcorder’s lens captured footage from just one direction. In fact, the parallax effect, where objects appear in slightly different positions to each eye, is only one of the ways in which our brains detect distance.

Pigeons, for example, can’t see with both eyes at the same time, because they don’t point in the same direction. So they constantly turn their heads so objects move in relation to each other. This is called motion parallax.

The textural appearance of objects, our knowledge of their shape, perspective and the shadows they cast also contribute to our sense of depth. The Roxio software we used for this workshop employs all these methods to recreate the third dimension, particularly analysing the motion of objects between adjacent video frames. But it can recreate 3D from still images, too.

For the following workshop, you’ll need a copy of Roxio Creator 2011 (both the £49 Standard and £69 Pro versions support 3D). Similar effects are offered by the latest video-editing packages from CyberLink, or you can take the DIY route and create your own 3D camera setup – see our How to create 3D photos workshop.

Create 3D home video with Roxio Creator 2011

Step 1. Launch Roxio Creator 2011 and choose the Video/Movies tab. In the Edit and Transfer section select Edit Video – Advanced. VideoWave, Creator’s video-editing program, will launch. This fully featured video editor can take your footage from raw clip to final output. In Creator 2011 it can do this for 3D footage, too.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 1

Step 2. Once VideoWave has loaded, you can start a new project or open an existing one. For this tutorial, choose the 3D project format – standard 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 – that matches the aspect ratio of the footage you intend to convert to 3D. This is important, since otherwise your footage will be stretched horizontally.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 2

3D is set to go mainstream in 2011, but you don't need expensive equipment to jump on the bandwagon. We show you how to convert 2D video into a 3D movie.

Step 3. Import your footage using the Add Content, Add Photo/Video menu. Roxio will prompt you to specify whether the footage was shot in 2D or 3D. VideoWave can edit native 3D footage from a variety of sources, maintaining the extra dimension. Here, we will concentrate on converting 2D footage to 3D.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 3

Step 4. VideoWave will begin to process your footage, analysing it for depth cues and converting your 2D frames into 3D. This can be a time-consuming process. It analyses each frame against adjacent frames, effectively doubling the number of video frames. The original frame will remain untouched, however.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 4

Step 5. The final footage will be encoded as a side-by-side format file. By default, it will be displayed as an anaglyph, with the images for each eye superimposed with red/cyan filtering. Alternatively, you can see the view from one eye or the other using the ‘3D Preview’ option. This is useful if you need to apply correctional filters.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 5

Step 6. Since VideoWave understands 3D formats, you can use its editing facilities to join together clips and add transitions, effects and titles. Bear in mind that most filters conflict with stereo vision, so avoid blocky digitising, glass texturing and similar effects. Adding a sepia tone won’t ruin the 3D effect, however.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 6

3D is set to go mainstream in 2011, but you don't need expensive equipment to jump on the bandwagon. We show you how to convert 2D video into a 3D movie.

Step 7. Now you’ve created your first 3D movie, it’s time to prepare it for viewing and distribution. The simplest solution is to create a separate file. You can choose any of the many video file formats supported by VideoWave, such as AVCHD and WMV. A range of 3D options is also available, including Anaglyph, Side-by-Side and RealD.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 7

Step 8. Alternatively, you can send the project to Roxio MyDVD, which supports creating 3D in anaglyph or RealD formats for both standard-definition and AVCHD discs. While you can add chapters and import pre-encoded movies for inclusion within the same project, it’s not possible to create a menu for 3D discs.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 8

Step 9. A more exciting prospect is offered by YouTube, which supports side-by-side-format 3D video. You can upload a 3D project directly to YouTube from VideoWave. Enter your account details, add a title and other information, and Roxio will encode your movie in the necessary format and upload it to YouTube.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 9

Step 10. We uploaded our video to YouTube. Note the ‘3D’ option next to the quality setting – this lets you choose between a selection of 3D display formats. You can also choose different filtering schemes, such as Green/Magenta, if your 3D spectacles use these colours instead.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 10

3D is set to go mainstream in 2011, but you don't need expensive equipment to jump on the bandwagon. We show you how to convert 2D video into a 3D movie.

Step 11. Creator inserts tags that tell YouTube the footage is in 3D format. Should you want to upload the file using YouTube’s interface, you can add these yourself. Edit the tags for your video, adding yt3d:enable=true yt3d:swap=true yt3d:aspect=16:9. Change the 16:9 at the end of the tag to 4:3 if the video isn’t widescreen.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 11

Step 12. It’s also possible to turn still photos into 3D. Choose the Photo tab from Creator’s home screen, then click Create, ‘Create 3D Photos’. The applet pictured below will appear, allowing you to load a single photo for Roxio Creator to interpret, or two separate photos for the software to combine into one.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 12

Step 13. If you’re using two photos, these will need to have been taken of the same subject in the same place, but with the camera moved just a short distance to one side for the second shot. If you load the left and right images the wrong way round, a button in the middle lets you swap them over. Click Next.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 13

Step 14. Roxio’s 3D photo applet creates an anaglyph from your two photos. Adjustment tools let you line up the photos by moving them up, down, left, right, and rotationally. Don your red/cyan 3D spectacles and make adjustments until the 3D effect looks right. Make sure you save the result for future viewing.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 14