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Tips for Filming a Looking Glass

Filming holographic displays is new territory. Sharing the magic of a 3D display through 2D video capture can seem like a difficult task, indeed. However, after years of work and experimentation, we at Looking Glass have compiled a list of accessible tricks/tips that anyone (with a DSLR or a phone camera) can follow to make showing their work on the Looking Glass as seamless a process as possible.

Here are some examples of some past videos that we've shot in-house:

The Looking Glass: The Holographic Display for 3D Work from Looking Glass on Vimeo.

Available Now: The Looking Glass 8K Immersive Display from Looking Glass on Vimeo.

Summary


  1. Pan side to side to show horizontal parallax
  2. Shooting static content is very effective for showing 3D effects.
  3. If you are shooting with a mobile phone (and sometimes, this does yield better results), ensuring that the Auto-Exposure (AE) on your camera is properly set
  4. Making sure that there are no bright spotlights / sunlit windows behind you.
  5. Knowing exactly where the 50-degree viewing angle starts and ends.
  6. Don’t forget to focus.
  7. Wipe the display for fingerprints.
  8. User real-world parallax anchors (optional)

1. Pan Side-to-Side

Multiplex diagram

The most effective way to show 3D content is to film the Looking Glass by panning the camera side-to-side, effectively mimicking the way someone would move around the Looking Glass. For most of these shots, we used a digital slider from Edelkrone. We had the camera move across a horizontal path, a small motor would also be rotating the camera on an axis to achieve the effect above.

2. Moving content is nice. Static content will show 3D effect.

Quilt

Just like in the example above, static content has the ability to show 3D content across 2D screens very effectively.

3. Adjust Exposure

On Looking Glass

Probably the most simple trick of all. In this GIF, you’ll see a drastic difference in the reflections inside the Looking Glass before and after the Auto-Exposure is brought down. Doing this darkens the scene as a whole but almost completely rids filmed Looking Glass of reflections. This shot was filmed on an iPhone but adjusting exposure is important for the shot.

4. Avoid direct spotlights behind the camera crew.

Close up on animation

Notice that even with the Exposure turned down low and filmed in a pretty low-light setting, harsh spotlights behind you will show up as bright spots inside your Looking Glass. Try to avoid filming with these direct lights behind you.

There is an art to lighting the scene properly without the use of backlights so we’ve found that adding floor lights to keep the scene bright, so that you’re not filming in complete darkness is super helpful as well.

5. Stay within the 50-degree view cone

Close up on Looking Glass

Make sure to stay within the view cone. Outside of it, the image will break and so will the illusion.

6. Focus! Focus! Focus!

I don’t have good visual examples of this but sometimes, it is hard to see what you’re filming on the small camera LCD screens so if this is an important shoot, I would recommend getting a secondary monitor to make sure that you notice when content inside the Looking Glass is out of focus.

7. Wipe the display for fingerprints

Use a microfiber cloth to clean dust, and fingerprints from the display. If there are streaks that you want to wipe off, use some warm water on a cloth. NEVER use alcohol or any cleaning agent as it will damage the display.

8. Use real-world parallax anchors (optional)

Moving Text

Place real-world objects in front of and behind the display to anchor the parallax effect within the display to real-world objects. An extreme use of this is to have some object (a person’s hand, for example) point to content floating in front of the display.

We don’t always use this technique as it draws visual attention away from the display itself, but it can be helpful to emphasize the 3D effect. Note that the following gif shows footage that is more zoomed in than we would generally recommend.

In other words, we've found a lot of our shots look good when you can see the table that the device sits on, and when it's next to familiar real world objects like a lamp, coffee cup, computer mouse, etc.