3D Camera Rig
This camera rig is designed for maximum versatility in stereo shooting. The Canon Elan II, an SLR film camera, was chosen for its extensive feature set and reasonable user interface. Many situations that were difficult or impossible for past stereo cameras can be sucessfully photographed.
Elan II Stereo Camera Rig
Design & Fabrication by Carl Pisaturo, 1999.
Machined Aluminum, Delrin, Stainless Steel; Cable, Cameras, electronics

Variable Camera Separation. 3" to 11". At distances over about 100 feet, we don't have much stereo depth perception. By increasing the camera separation ("stereo base"), this distance can be extended. Thus the 3-D effect can be exaggerated for distant scenes.

3 Focal Lengths: 28mm, 50mm, 105mm. Zoom lenses are equipped with click-stops to insure camera zoom equivalence. 

Electronic Trigger. Both cameras are triggered within milliseconds of each other by one button which can be several feet from the cameras. The excellent shutter synchronization allows for fast-action subjects. 

Versatile Exposure and Focus Control. These cameras can be anything from fully automatic to fully manual. 

Hand Held or Tripod Mount. Cushioned grip can be swung up or removed. There are tripod threads on the bottom surface. 

Portrait or Landscape Orientation.         
Basic Tips for Shooting Stereo Photos...
  • GOOD DEPTH of FIELD.  When viewing 3D photos, the viewer's eyes want to wander around the scene, so everything needs to be in focus.  This means you need to shoot with f 11 or f 16 at all times.  Unlike 2D photography which may want to draw attention to some feature, in 3D the whole scene is important; blurry areas are uncomfortable for the viewer.  The implication of this is that shutter speeds tend to be long, thus a tripod is almost always needed (except mid day).  This also means that wider angle lenses are advantageous due to their inherently high depth of field.  This requirement is a major impediment to 3D cinematography, since shutter speeds cannot exceed 1/30s.
  • VARIATION OF DISTANCES.  For 3D to have impact, a scene should have objects at many distances.  There should be close, medium and far objects, or the view will look like "cardboard cutouts".
  • APPROPRIATE LENS SEPARATION.  The human vision system is designed to give 3D information at relatively close ranges: a few feet to tens of feet.  Scenes which are primarily far away (e.g. cityscape from a distance) will not read well unless the lenses are separated much wider than the human eyes.  Conversely, small, close-up objects require close lens separation.  How to achieve the desired lensed separation?  You can get some flexibility from a rig like that shown above, but to go bigger or smaller requires some ingenuity.  For non-simultaneous shots (fine for static subjects), a single camera can be used - push, walk, fly or drive between shots.  For dynamic scenes you need simultaneous shots.  Special cameras for close up stereo have been built with 2 lenses as close as a few millimeters.  2 Widely spaced cameras can be set identical and triggered simultaneous by people or radio.
  • USE IDENTICAL SETTINGS.  When using a 2 camera rig like the one above, it is important that the 2 cameras shoot using the same settings.  Auto exposure and auto focus carry some risk in this regard.  Full manual is fully safe, but takes time with 2 cameras.

UP to 3D
works of  Carl C Pisaturo