Sorry for the long post, tried to condense down my first 2 days with the RH1 and this post is for 3D people curious about the RH1 for 3D not really about how it compares to other latest phones which isn't really important to me. But I do compare it to the old HTC Evo 3D phone as far as the 3D screen is concerned.
I'm going to start by saying I can't think of another product that I've been this excited about for this long. And it's not quite what I expected but it's unique in its own way and I think it will be a fun tool for 3D. Just have to keep an open mind and keep your expectations in perspective.
Enter the Holodeck
audio sample from TNG (The bay doors are opening now and your eyes grow big and glaze over at what you see inside...)
It’s touted as HOLOGRAPHIC
, well that all sounds high tech and wonderful. So is it all that
? Beyond 3D? When you first see it are you just blown away by seeing something that should normally be impossible to see? Alien technology? Again, insert the "Whoa!" commercial here.
Well, we've all seen 3D before and this is basically just that. It's a glasses-free 3D screen. The talk about 4v it's basically just dual cameras (stereoscopic) plus 2 additional views that are generated to help create depth. But it is more than that too, because there's a lot going on that is helping the screen create glasses-free 3D and with fairly decent viewing angles. But don't expect your jaw to drop either. You've seen good 3D before with glasses and we've had good 3D with lenticular displays like the 3DS and this is basically a major step ahead that gives you glasses-free 3D without having to look at it dead center, although it really still looks best to me dead center but you can move the display around and you can still see that it's 3D. Plus it works in both orientations equally as well.
So is the 3D what you would call stereoscopically correct? Not exactly. This is really a combination of stereography and real time conversion and to be honest it doesn't always look like real 3D should but it's sort of a compromise because in order to deliver glasses-free 3D because what we've had before like lenticular it only works really well for one person and even then, not always that great. I think you have to curb your expectations to some degree. So you shouldn't consider this product a true stereoscopic 3D camera/screen.
It's nano-tech and diffractive light field technology and we’ve heard about lightfields before. There was this camera company called Lytro that came and went without really finding a market for it. Now we have a display using the same concept, and oh yeah, it’s sort of a light field camera too but more on that later.
So don't expect holograms or really anything coming out of screen much, but you can get some pop out 3D same as the EVO screen, actually even more. But right here we need to leave the holodeck.
Audio cue (holodeck doors closing).
Because this isn't Star Trek.
The Bad Reviews
I've seen so many reviews comparing this phone to other similarly priced phones which have 2018 processors which the RH1 does not but that really doesn't make any sense. Do those
screens have 3D, do they have stereo cameras (although really close inter axial ones)? And that's why I picked up the old EVO for 20.00 off ebay, just to see how the tech has improved over the last 7 years and how native 3D files perform on both. Also to see personally if having 3D on a phone is really worth it before buying the RH1 because it is
expensive. So I think it really only makes sence to compare it to that phone and the LG 3D phone from way back in 2011. Reviewers are comparing this to what's marketed at the same level but they don't really get it. This is really a flagship, prototype product and also because of H4V and the screen by Leia: a whole new era in glasses-free 3D.
The 3D phones before came and went pretty quick. Looking at what they had for 3D, I can see why. There was the camera, viewing your photos and videos and a game hub which is now defunct it seems. So those died with hardly a whisper. The RH1 is launching a new way of showing photos called Holopix, a Flicker for H4V photos. So far, they don't have anything for videos yet and YT, there's no support yet for 3D videos so hopefully that gets addressed because sharing h4v video would be really cool too.
Native 3D files supported, mpo and SBS results.
On the Evo I loaded up some mpo's which it reads natively. And I must say overall, they look pretty good. But not always
. In some cases there's ghosting, the refresh rate is just too slow. Other times the 3D image just doesn't look right to me, like the left/right images are reversed but I know they're not. This happened in many images with lots of flowers through the frame. Somehow they just were hard to focus on for 3D, but then others looked very good. And the Evo is capable of decent popout 3D too given the right image for it. In some pics I could get what looks like 1/2" off the screen, though not too much more than that.
Overall, and I'm still testing mpo's on that phone too, it works for some and not so great on others, possibly some adjustment would help and you can adjust the parallax of the two images on the Evo without having to before hand on the phone even with images taken from the Fuji or the Pan 3D1 but in some cases, it didn't really help. 3D stills are difficult to get right sometimes and likely it's just not a great 3D image to begin with, this happens with stereo 3D. Could be too much screen violation or neg/positive parallax that isn't adjustable.
On the RH1, one of the first things I did, because I had been reading up on format for native stereo files was load up some 3D images from the Fuji and SBS video. This didn't go so well at first. So the Red Player doesn't accept mpo's natively (it's on their to-do list though so maybe at some point) so you have to convert images to SBS jpgs. So I did that manually in Photoshop, squeeze each image vertically and you have to add "_2x1" to the file name so Red Player can recognize the file as 3D and same with SBS video.
Now early on I had some trouble with some of my mpo files from the Fuji W3 which looked pretty bad but I noticed an update removed some of that issue and a major issue with imported SBS video from the Sony TD10 was corrected after discovering the SD card had become corrupted. And finally just today I got the system updates from ATT, so I'm current now which is really important with this thing.
Mpo's. It's hit or miss is what I'm finding. There's some conversion going on. It tries but it's not displaying things quite like they should be with native 3D. In one image, I have a sign that has lettering on it and on the right side of the sign it should be popping out of screen because it's angled closer
. It actually seems to be warping the sides of sign backward a little and also the lettering is no longer clear because of this, although it's pretty small to read anyway. So in this image, not so great. On the Evo, well, it actually has trouble displaying the pop out part on the right side of screen, because there's a good deal of contrast difference. If you hold it just right you can just get the image to resolve and it shows up like it should though a little eye straining, it's about max pop out and appears out of screen about 1/2". On the RH1 it just doesn't work too well.
Another mpo I discovered doesn't look quite as bad. There's some popout displaying like it should even. It's not perfect like it would be on a traditional glasses 3D screen and not quite as correct as the Evo's lenticular display but decent. Results may vary. That is the key. There's some conversion going on, while you supply the 2 stereo views, it does on board processing for the other 2. Now that's with 2x1 format, but possibly if you format for quad, it might ignore the processing, but I haven't learned how to format that yet so possibly this could get better with mpo files.
I loaded up the same SBS video recorded on the TD10 that was experiencing issues before and it's not too bad I must say. I discovered that for imported SBS native video it looks better if you turn down the 3D effect from 80% (default) to 20% (lowest), this is done by swiping the screen down while playing video. That seems to improve the background with less to no crosstalk issues and the 3D effect is still pretty good. But could be you will have to adjust it for every video to see what looks better. Now I think what they need to do with native stills is also have this adjustment setting, which there isn't yet unless they were taken with onboard cameras. Then you could play around with the settings and make the images look a little better, possibly
So there's some conversion going on, it's not what you would call 100% authentic as a glasses screen if we're referring to native 3D content your bringing into
the phone. You can see that there's some compensation going on to achieve the 3D effect. But comparing it to the HTC Evo's lenticular screen, it doesn't always look great either. It doesn't resolve every mpo I've put on it, some were really hard to focus on, some even appear that look like the left/right frames are flipped and some have crosstalk issues. Also, the main disadvantage with lenticular is it's really orientation-specific. It sort of works in portrait mode, but there's some major rainbow effect going on. It's best in landscape to match the lenticular grid. The RH1 works in both landscape and portrait, although to see the images in full screen you'll need landscape unless they're taken in the portrait orientation. And the Evo is much slower at displaying 3D images. It' an old phone, what can you say?
Viewing angles are way
better than the HTC Evo. On the Evo, while you can tilt the screen a little I would say it's possible to get 20 deg. viewing angle maybe, but it's not very comfortable and the 3D effect diminishes pretty quickly off center which is why I think it really only has one viewing angle: dead center for just one person.
The RH1, I don't know the exact viewing angle probably close to 90 degrees at least, beyond that probably not much. I would say 2 or 3 people could stand a couple feet in front of it and all would get their 3D view of it. As you turn the screen in your hands you can see the image shifting around as it is displayed differently for different angles to it. So you really don't want to turn the screen when you view it, that can be a little jarring if you do seeing parts of the image change, but just to see what it's doing, it's interesting.
The 3D effect? It's 3D, it's certainly capable of popout 3D too and quite a lot! More than the Evo and based on the physics and dimensions of the screen it should allow more. I can see at least 1" popout maybe a little more with some images. I tested this with a few stills so far. And one of the great things about it is you can change the disparity after you take the shot, less pop out or more. And you can get some decent macro shots with it too and fine tune them for the best depth and focus.
For stills what's really cool, is you can adjust focus, bokeh and depth after the shot is taken. Change it, change it back, save it as a new file so you don't replace your original, whatever. Remember Lytro cameras? They failed, but I think this is a neat add-on which the results can be seen right on the screen especially the 3d depth adjustment. Personally, I think the best 3D image is one with deep focus, no blurring or bokeh, but it's style and you can change it if you like.
For video, there only appears to be the 3D adjustment from 20-80%. So not as much post adjustment tools, at least for now.
Why the small interaxials?
The small stereo base, I noted the same thing and that was a major cause for concern but now I see it doesn't really matter with this product. It uses both left/right cameras but it also generates 2 artificial views to make the 3D image for the screen. Traditional stereoscopy is done with two lenses set a certain distance apart to create the illusion of depth, but you sort of have to throw all that out and realize this is a new ecosystem for creating 3D content that looks best on the Leia screen format and glasses-free.
Glasses-free is really a new frontier. I think about whether or not I would want this as a TV to display 3D movies. Well, first I don't think I really need
to. While it would be nice to show off 3D without any glasses, if I'm going to sit through a 2 hour movie, it isn't hard to put glasses on and get the real 3D effect. But a phone? No way you're going to put on 3D glasses so you really have to accept that some things are going to be different and that's what this is. It's a new way to get people into 3D, creating 3D, sharing 3D content and doing it all in a much easier format than shooting 3D in the traditional way, which let's face it: is a lot of work.
I originally didn't understand the camera layout either. I read about the 4 views and saw the 4 holes on the front of this thing and thought it had 4 front facing cameras, well it does have 4 but it's two rear facing and two front facing. Then I thought the 2 front facing were the two on each side of the speaker. It's actually the two on the left of the speaker. Yeah, it's a measly 7 or 8mm stereo base on the front facing but this is actually fine for what the screen does and it's facing you so they need to be close. The primary cameras are 13.5mm stereo base. Overall, though because of the 4v it looks fairly convincing and having them further apart really isn't needed.
Current limits of stills and 3D video
Currently, the h4v stills can't be accessed in 3D outside
of the camera. You'll only get the left view from the file. We're told there may be an app at some point to convert the file to stereo pairs at some point. For video, it's stored in .h4v which you just need to simply change to .mp4 and you have your stereo video images. It is in SBS but in 3840x1080 so that can be brought into your NLE, for instance in PD you would just select 3D type as SBS and should be ready to go. Video is only 12mbps encoded h.264. On screen this doesn't look too bad but when I set it up to play on my 4K 3D screen it could look better just with a higher codec. Obviously, 4K resolution in 3D would be nice but I don't think the processors are up to it. But I really hope we can get either h.265 25 mbps or as high h.264 as we can, 30-50mbps would be nice.
No I.S. built in so it will have to be stabilized. Judging the image quality of the stereo pairs, the images are full resolution 2x 1920x1080 which is actually higher than the little Panasonic 3D1 which was only half resolution SBS video and it's clearly better than that. I will say, it looks as good as the TD10 and maybe better, but again, the bit rate is only 12mbps and a bump here would really help. Also, off the Leia screen if you're playing on traditional screens then you will have the small stereo base to deal with so the 3D range is less.
The front facing cameras, it's in portrait orientation and they're lesser 8mp sensors so it wouldn't work for using those plus the even closer stereo base.
So there's other great things about the camera. It's modular. It will support 2D interchangeable lens and other add-ons. It's supposed to connect to the Lithium as a 3D display which is a beamsplitter rig for filming H4V content that is under development right now. I think that's great but probably not for the price point but it will shoot dual streams and you can use the files for stereo 3D too.
There's the Hydrogen Network which has a limited amount of H4V content to watch. Movies, documentaries, some are just real short pieces. I have 2 movies to download for free. Ready Player One and Fantastic Beasts. I tried out a few of the shorts, pretty cool.
Really hoping they add YT support and a content hub for sharing H4V video. That's one thing I really like about the RH1, it's a new ecosystem and it's all proprietary which usually not a good thing for developers but I do see this taking off and not here today gone tomorrow. I think they're just getting started. The H4V stills on Holopix, it's really cool to go through those. If you get a chance, go to a store that has the phone, ask to see it, hopefully they have one connected to internet and open the Holopix app and that really will show you the screen and what's it's all about.
This is really an easy way of creating 3D (or Holopix as they call it) and sharing content quickly as well as glasses-free 3D video which you could also pull the 3D video off and use it with your existing 3D cameras but keep in mind it's not stabilized, the bit rate is a little low plus the 13.5mm stereo base.
One of the best things about the RH1 is the support behind it. They are constantly updating it, repairing it, improving it and coming up with future requests and getting feedback from their user base. And the modular thing is very unique and it opens up a range of possibilities. The old 3D phones? Yeah, that was a fail from the start.
That's my take on it. Have to keep an open mind when you see it. Yes, glasses-free is kind of odd. I'm interested in seeing the Ultra D screens but I reserve the right to not like it for certain content, like movies, if it doesn't display things correctly or oddly, I may not be interested. I think if they have the viewing angles and for the living room to show it off, I could use it for certain content. With Ultra D it's 2D pus depth and with all of these glasses-free devices they look best when you create content in their native format. That's true on the RH1, it's probably true on the Ultra D and there's going to be more display options coming from Leia so the content on the RH1 should be directly compatible with those.
And I got 2 Holopix posted tonight, did a quick adjustment of background focus and changed the 3D convergence point and it was ready to post.