Real time 2D to 3D conversion -- It's here now, it works and it's inexpensive! - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 48 Old 05-31-2015, 06:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Real time 2D to 3D conversion -- It's here now, it works and it's inexpensive!

There are three myths perpetuated on this section of the AVS forum by naysayers that I'd like to tackle:

Firstly, that only natively shot 3D works. I think by now this "truth" has largely been debunked. Most here have seen post-production converted 3D movies like Pacific Rim or Teenage Ninja Mutant Turtles (crummy story but extraordinary 3D) and have concluded that post-converted 3D can be just as good, if not better than natively shot 3D, depending on whose shooting the native 3D and who is converting during post-production.

Secondly, that negative parallax is underused by Hollywood. Hollywood may not pop a lot of things out of the screen and into your face; however, negative parallax is used throughout 3D movies in a judicious and artistic fashion. You can do an easy experiment to see for yourself. Just put your monitor's menu up on the screen and leave it there while watching a Hollywood 3D movie. The menu will set the plane of the screen and you will see lots of objects in front of, at and behind the menu. The pop out may not very often be extreme but it's there.

And thirdly, real time 2D to 3D conversion doesn't work. Yes it does but I guess the real question is -- is it good enough to make it worth watching and what does it cost?

I just purchased PowerDVD15 Ultra for $89.00, If you already have a descent PC then $89.00 shouldn't hold you back if 3D is your thing. Does it work? Yes it does! There are lots of members on this section of the Forum who comment -- "I'd like to see Interstellar (one example) in 3D". Well now you can, it won't cost you much and the 3D IMO will look very impressive.

Here's my take on the good and the bad with respect to PowerDVD15's 2D to 3D conversion.

First the bad:

1) Not everything looks 100% right 100% of the time. Can you live with 99.5%? There are a few rare scenes with which it has problems -- the battle scene at the end of Ender's Game appeared problematic to my eyes (that's wit PowerDVD 13. I'll have a look and see how PowerDVD15 handles that scene).
2) If you push depth too much there is some slight artifacting -- straight lines will sometimes bend a little and I felt I lost some detail.
3) No negative parallax.

The good:

1) Wow, not only do you get very natural looking 3D with very nice spatial depth between objects (foreground, mid-ground and background) with really good overall depth and proper object placement (almost always), you also have gamma correction at your disposal through your PC's video card. This is a nice one-two punch, which isn't available on the much more expensive Teranex (about 45 times more expensive if you don't factor in the cost of the PC). So, with gamma correction you can boost luminance levels to help compensate for 3D's inherent light loss (which includes the light loss through the 3D glasses.) I believe Hollywood is using something similar to boost luminance so shadow detail is retained in darker scenes.

2) Nearly all scenes have very natural appearing 3D -- I'd say only real OCD 3D viewers are going to complain about objects occasionally not looking quite right. Simulated 3D at the default setting (50%) looks much better than it does on PowerDVD13 (way too many artifacts for me). You can actually max out the depth setting with little negative impact (some) to the 3D image so a high depth setting could be useful for some movies. (Personally I leave the depth setting somewhere between 25% to 50% of max.)

3) It also handles normal 3D really well along with 2D. IMO it is a nice step up from previous versions.

I would encourage anyone interested in 2D to 3D conversion to at least try the 30 day free trial offer and experiment with the 3D simulation feature. If you don't like it, well I guess real time 2D to 3D conversion isn't for you. If 3D is your thing then for $89.00 this could be what you've been waiting for. If you have a nice BD library you could be in for a very nice treat! Remember -- it's not perfect but for $89.00 IMO it's pretty close.
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post #2 of 48 Old 05-31-2015, 12:15 PM
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I don't think it's really about weather converted or native 3D works, it's which has the better natural feel and look. In other words if I shoot something in 2D standing in front of a subject and post convert that with DVD Fab how does it compare to native shot 3D? The answer: it doesn't compare. In all my tests it looks unacceptable but some of the best conversions are enough to fool you, but not at this price level.

Most of the converted films I've seen, the 3D isn't that impressive. But with so much CGI going on they really don't have much choice. Not all are that way fortunately, films like the Hobbit have a larger portion of scenes native shot. Maybe I'm more biased because I actually shoot 3D like some here and can see the differences first hand. When you convert 2D, all the natural perspective is lost. I see it as an eyesore and it stands out immediately that something is wrong. DVDFab 2D to 3D conversion and the built in LG converter are pretty similar, there's more effect with DVDfab. With DVDfab I immediately see the sides pushed back but there's no sense of perspective, and when the camera is panned there's a rolling wave through the image. I haven't tried PD, but I suspect it works very similar to DVDfab.

There's very few converted 3D movies that I've found to actually benefit from the conversion, but no where near where they'd be if they had a larger portion of native shot scenes. Jurassic Park, Titanic, Predator, to name a few. They put lot of rendering and painting in time, something like six months work on these, but that's much more than what you're talking about with a real time converter. Same with Pacific Rim or Avengers, there's a lot more going on than real time.

So to compare a real time converter like PD to a production team like Legend3D can't be used to justify the use of 2D to 3D conversion for 89.99. 2D to 3D conversion is expensive and basically you get what you pay for. Real time conversion alone isn't enough to give a convincing 3D perspective which is why there's so much more going on with this big budget conversions. If they used DVDfab I think everyone would walk out of the theater.

Obviously I know you know the differences here, just saying a matter of what you find acceptable. PD and DVDfab to convert entire 2D movies? If I already found I, Robot unacceptable why on Earth would I do it with a consumer program for 89.99? Not to mention a lot of the negative press on 3D is from cutting corners like this which has a negative impact on the use of 3D. When I view 3D I want to be wowed by it, not distracted by the unnatural bubble effect or rolling waves. But at least converted movies like Pacific Rim have been polished to an acceptable degree by a team of professionals not ran through a quick algorithm with a push of a button. I give them a lot of credit for trying and some do work in a very convincing way, some more than others.

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post #3 of 48 Old 05-31-2015, 12:43 PM
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Deja Vu I have PDVD 13 but the real playback of 3D blurays have motion stuttering. Did you experience that ? So I am reluctant to upgrade to 15.
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post #4 of 48 Old 05-31-2015, 12:56 PM
 
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Thanks for posting this, I have been wondering about version 15. Can you stream content from online movie services though Power DVD? Most of them make you use their own native viewer.
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post #5 of 48 Old 05-31-2015, 04:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSX1992 View Post
Deja Vu I have PDVD 13 but the real playback of 3D blurays have motion stuttering. Did you experience that ? So I am reluctant to upgrade to 15.
I've had lots of issues with PowerDVD13 from stuttering to not recognizing some BDs. So far PowerDVD15 is stutter-free and it plays everything I throw at it including lots of files PowerDVD13 won't play. I haven't tried anything yet at 1080p/60fps since I'm playing with the 2D tho 3D conversion feature. Every minute or so I think I see something that looks like a dropped frame. I'm going to try a customized 23.98 hz refresh. For some reason my Nvidia graphics card wants to reset to 1080p/23 Hz.

With respect to streaming -- I haven't tired it with PowerDVD15 yet. I'm pretty sure they advertise that it can.

Maybe this will help:

http://powerdvd.soft32.com

and

http://www.pcadvisor.co.uk/downloads...rdvd-15-ultra/
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post #6 of 48 Old 06-01-2015, 07:22 AM
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Tried it a bit over the weekend - it seemed to work reasonably well, I'm cautiously optimistic I'll buy the full version. Especially the static scenes where camera is not moving, somehow it managed to correctly place foreground actors and backgrounds at appropriate depths. Some of the backgrounds, though, were quite flat, but still, the overall result looked acceptable, so far. There were some obvious errors too that would never have happened with manual conversion, but, for the price...

Also it seems they have fixed the bug with sound card selection (previous versions would send audio to any card randomly chosen by PDVD, this one respects user's choice from Control Panel).
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post #7 of 48 Old 06-01-2015, 10:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pterodactyl View Post
Tried it a bit over the weekend - it seemed to work reasonably well, I'm cautiously optimistic I'll buy the full version. Especially the static scenes where camera is not moving, somehow it managed to correctly place foreground actors and backgrounds at appropriate depths. Some of the backgrounds, though, were quite flat, but still, the overall result looked acceptable, so far. There were some obvious errors too that would never have happened with manual conversion, but, for the price...

Also it seems they have fixed the bug with sound card selection (previous versions would send audio to any card randomly chosen by PDVD, this one respects user's choice from Control Panel).
Try experimenting with the depth slider. I have found that somewhere between 20% to 40% of max works best for me over different content.

Maybe I'm wrong but I seem to be getting a better image with PDVD15 that PDVD13 -- My projectors look more like a good Plasma or OLED T.Vs. I'm impressed with 2D, 3D and 2D to 3D conversion. If it remains stable it may replace my Oppo as my player of choice.
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post #8 of 48 Old 06-03-2015, 06:19 PM
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I tried 2D-3D conversion using PDVD15 and it is very good. And with the video enhancements capability of 15, it really looks good. I can only look at it on my 3D monitor, though, as I don't have computer hookup to my projector. It looks much better than the Sony 6200 conversion which mostly just pushes the screen window back. With PDVD15, you get better object separation. Thanks for pointing that out, as I never gave it a try before now.
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post #9 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 12:43 AM
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I recently posted my very positive impression of PowerDVD 15 when watching 2D to 3D conversion of THE ROAD WARRIOR. While it's still not perfect, I think it's noticeably better than the previous releases. To me, paying half price for an upgrade every year or two is worth it. I also like the fact that with software I'm not locked in to a specific level of quality for conversion, although of course there are many TVs nowadays that support firmware updates.

I think that the PowerDVD converter has made great strides in object placement, so much so that (as you say) it's rare that a shot looks "wrong" and takes you out of the movie. It's right so often that I readily forgive the occasional conversion errors.

One thing that I find a bit frustrating is that improvements to the conversion process are typically not mentioned in feature lists of the latest PowerDVD versions. I suppose that Cyberlink doesn't want the "new and improved" label to stick to their products for fear of admitting that the previous version(s) needed tweaking.

There's still something about decent 2D to 3D conversion that I find almost unbelievable, especially the fact that it takes place in real time. To me, it's more like magic than technology.
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post #10 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 01:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deja Vu View Post
I would encourage anyone interested in 2D to 3D conversion to at least try the 30 day free trial offer and experiment with the 3D simulation feature. If you don't like it, well I guess real time 2D to 3D conversion isn't for you. If 3D is your thing then for $89.00 this could be what you've been waiting for. If you have a nice BD library you could be in for a very nice treat! Remember -- it's not perfect but for $89.00 IMO it's pretty close.
I'm breathing a sigh of relief that you were impressed with the latest version of PowerDVD. I'd started to sweat a little, wondering if the improvement was just in my imagination. Your detailed analysis of the pros and cons was (per usual from you) fair and in my opinion accurate. I love watching my favorite movies in converted 3D and never dreamed that I'd see this kind of thing in my lifetime. Hollywood is not going to spend big bucks going through their catalog titles and converting them (with rare exception like THE WIZARD OF OZ). This technology gives us an imperfect but nevertheless impressive way of breathing new life into movies that I've seen so many times that I feel I know every frame. I can't speak for anybody but myself, but when I watch STAR WARS or RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK in converted 3D I get a huge kick out of the experience. In my view, if you're a 3D fan you owe it to yourself to try out a fine and reasonably priced converter like PowerDVD.

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post #11 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 05:56 AM
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Deja Vu: I'm wondering if you can subjectively rank the 2D->3D conversion options you've personally tested (scaled 1-10 maybe?) and where does PowerDVD fit in? Thanks.

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post #12 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 01:22 PM
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Just downloaded and evaluated the PowerDVD 15 demo with half a dozen movies.

It's fine if you enjoy realtime conversion, but at even 50% strength, errors are glaringly bad throughout the entire screen, like the movie is being watched on a wavy projector sheet. Elements that pop are seemingly based on how bright they are.

The resulting effect distracts from the movie because my eyes are constantly seeing these weird and unnatural shapes. In a properly converted or native 3D movie, I trust my instincts to guide my eyes to converge on multiple layers because they're always where they should be.

It's funny that you say it gets 99.5% right, because that's exactly how much of the image looks wrong to me.
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post #13 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by cakefoo View Post
Just downloaded and evaluated the PowerDVD 15 demo with half a dozen movies.

It's fine if you enjoy realtime conversion, but at even 50% strength, errors are glaringly bad throughout the entire screen, like the movie is being watched on a wavy projector sheet. Elements that pop are seemingly based on how bright they are.

The resulting effect distracts from the movie because my eyes are constantly seeing these weird and unnatural shapes. In a properly converted or native 3D movie, I trust my instincts to guide my eyes to converge on multiple layers because they're always where they should be.

It's funny that you say it gets 99.5% right, because that's exactly how much of the image looks wrong to me.
Let's face it -- we're never going to agree about anything 3D. You originally said no post-converted movie could ever look as good as a natively shot one and I disagreed. You called the use of negative parallax a gimmick and I disagreed -- it can be used artistically and judiciously and I feel it can enhance the 3D experience. I have used PDVD15's 2D to 3D conversion at about 25% of max and it is like RC with Sony projectors -- pull it back and and it can enhance an image or use too much and ruin the image. At around 25% to 30% most of the errors disappear and the image still retains a real 3D look. Does it provide depth between foreground and background -- yes it does. Does it separate and define each object in its own space -- yes it does. For $89.00 this is an amazing accomplishment since it has to recalculate scene by scene in a split second. You said real time conversion would never work -- well this actually works, it's not perfect but at some point it will be amazing, in fact I'm amazed now.
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post #14 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 03:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Deja Vu View Post
At around 25% to 30% most of the errors disappear and the image still retains a real 3D look. Does it provide depth between foreground and background -- yes it does. Does it separate and define each object in its own space -- yes it does.
It makes shapes, that's for sure... But the issue is how inaccurately it applies those manipulations. In every shot I've looked at across half a dozen movies today during my trial, foreground middleground and background are blending into each other. Background objects are popping into the foreground, foreground objects are creating sinkholes into the background, actors look like they're curving like cloth. 25% strength.

I notice all the imperfections, and you don't. You see it as only 0.5% flawed, you said it yourself.

We simply disagree, but that's not the end of the discussion. Continue to post your impressions, and when the products are accessible to me, I'm open to trying them so I can be properly informed.

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post #15 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 05:45 PM
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You guys!

Seriously... this is a civilized disagreement. Thanks to both of you for sharing your opinions and observations.

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post #16 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 05:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cakefoo View Post
Elements that pop are seemingly based on how bright they are.
Almost all converters struggle with this problem. It's especially bad in dark scenes with bright objects such as torch-wielding villagers. But I noticed a distinct improvement on precisely this issue with the latest PowerDVD version.

Another thing that PowerDVD does very well that a surprising number of converters still don't do as well is, for lack of a better phrase, tying the head to the body. I can remember laughing out loud at a converted sports broadcast years ago where (commentator) Troy Aikman's head was floating in front of his dark suit.

Certainly there's additional room for improvement. But... they're getting better (at least PowerDVD is).

(Why does the word "weird" bypass the i-before-e rule whereas the word "wield" does not? That's just... weird.)

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post #17 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 07:29 PM
 
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I have PowerDVD 14 and tried the free trial for 15 too. No difference between the two. Both handle 3D very well. Though I'm not a fan of the 2D to 3D conversion of either.

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post #18 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
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One of the things I really like about the 2D to 3D conversion with PDVD15 is that you're not limited to DLP. I'm rotating two Epson projectors with this programme and I'm not seeing any ghosting at all. These projectors are unusable with the Teranex -- just a ghost fest. The advantage of the Epson projectors are their better contrast and black levels over most DLP units.

I'm currently using a depth setting of approximately 30% and I'm very happy with the results. The criticisms noted in the posts above (the artifacts) I've certainly noticed with other converters but from what I'm seeing with PDVD15 there's little to complain about, especially when compared to the competition. I ran the "graduation" battle scene again from Ender's Game with PDVD15 and I thought it was handled surprisingly well -- better than PDVD13.

When I look at the state of real time 2D to 3D conversion I see it as a glass half full, not half empty. What might have seemed impossible only a few years ago seems like a distinct possibility today. I'm not looking for perfection. I'm looking for something that sucks me into a story and holds me there.
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post #19 of 48 Old 06-04-2015, 11:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cakefoo View Post
It's funny that you say it gets 99.5% right, because that's exactly how much of the image looks wrong to me.
The "Sync Invert" 3D setting should solve that problem.

(As Kirk says to Saavik, that's a little joke.)
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post #20 of 48 Old 06-05-2015, 07:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The "Sync Invert" 3D setting should solve that problem.

(As Kirk says to Saavik, that's a little joke.)
Now that's funny!

Anyway, my original post was intended to let people interested in 3D know that there is an inexpensive solution available that I think does a pretty descent job of converting 2D to 3D on-the-fly. Hopefully things will keep on improving. In the meantime I'm really enjoying my Epson projectors and PDVD15's 2D to 3D conversion.
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post #21 of 48 Old 06-05-2015, 07:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Deja Vu: I'm wondering if you can subjectively rank the 2D->3D conversion options you've personally tested (scaled 1-10 maybe?) and where does PowerDVD fit in? Thanks.
For me, right now PDVD15 is right up there near the top of the heap. It's not as refined as the Teranex but for 1/45th the price I don't think most will care. I just wish the Teranex included gamma correction. PowerDVD15 also has some built-in picture enhancement software that I think works well and helps with the overall image. It's a package, which IMO, is tough to beat.
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post #22 of 48 Old 06-05-2015, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by Deja Vu View Post
I'm not looking for perfection. I'm looking for something that sucks me into a story and holds me there.
When characters always look like they're bending in a time warp, and objects are intruding on layers they shouldn't be in, it's a distraction.
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post #23 of 48 Old 06-05-2015, 12:13 PM
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The bottom up 2D-3D conversion has been around for years and it does cause a "bending in a time warp" look as the algorithm "thinks" that whatever is at the bottom is nearer to you than eye level, which is infinity, so you get the warp. That said, PDVD15 appears to use that algorithm as it did in earlier versions, but has also added the line convergence algorithm plus focus/contrast algorithm to it, where the sharpest objects with the most contrast are placed nearer and less sharp, low contrast are farther away. And the motion algorithm for left/right or right/left object movement. When objects move the algorithm can determine a gap between the right and left eye to create the exact location of the object in space. All together, these algorithms can produce a pretty decent image. What it can't do is supply the missing information that one sees with the right or left eye, so it tends to curve objects to supply that information-ala the warping effect. I assume the Tarenex refines all these algorithms like a super computer and adds more missing information interpolation.


I must say PDVD15 is much better than the VEFXi 3D-Bee, which I tried a couple years ago, and has been discussed over and over in another forum thread.
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post #24 of 48 Old 06-07-2015, 03:05 PM
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I dismissed 2D to 3D conversion initially, but I came around later. Part of it was that there were no 3D movies in the first few months after the release of the first 3D TVs. That meant that if I wanted my 3D fix, it had to be with 2D to 3D conversion. That also meant using the converter built into my first Samsung 3D plasma. Fortunately, it did a pretty decent job, especially with some content. Since then I've tried many converters, some of which work quite well. For me, the conversion built into LG TVs can be very good, and generally it's a little better than Samsung TVs. I like the 3D-Bee, but it works best for aerial views of landscapes and cityscapes. For that type of content, it generally is effective about 95+% of the time! Once you get down to ground level, it's not nearly as effective (maybe 10% of the time), but those aerial shots look remarkably convincing. As someone who shoots 3D, a lot, I've done direct comparisons of 3D-Bee converted landscapes to the native 3D shot with my narrow interaxial 3D camcorder. In virtually 100% of distance shots (over 50 feet), the 3D-Bee not only looks good, it looks much better than native 3D. Except for those instances where I use a stereo base extender for my camcorders, using 2D to 3D conversion is a better solution in that particular shooting scenario.

2D to 3D conversion definitely has its place, and I enjoy it.
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post #25 of 48 Old 06-08-2015, 09:15 PM
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I'm really enjoying my Epson projectors and PDVD15's 2D to 3D conversion.

My Epson 5030 has a 2D-3D conversion built-in, which I think is only modestly successful. Have you compared Epson's real time conversion to PDVD15? I'd love to hear which you feel is superior.
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post #26 of 48 Old 06-08-2015, 09:17 PM
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My Epson 5030 has a 2D-3D conversion built-in, which I think is only modestly successful. Have you compared Epson's real time conversion to PDVD15? I'd love to hear which you feel is superior.
No comparison. I have the 5030 and it doesn't have good 2D to 3D.

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post #27 of 48 Old 06-09-2015, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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No comparison. I have the 5030 and it doesn't have good 2D to 3D.
Ditto
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post #28 of 48 Old 06-10-2015, 07:13 AM - Thread Starter
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What I really like about PDVD15 Ulta are the image enhancement controls called "True Theatre". IMO, not only does PDVD15 do a great real time conversion of 2D to 3D but you can manipulate the image to compensate for the loss of light using True Theatre.

One of my guilty pleasures is a 3D movie called Priest. I have it in 3D and 2D. I've now compared the converted image to the studio 3D and I'm very happy with what PDVD15 can do with the conversion and True Theatre. I like it so much that I'm not particularly worried about the health of studio 3D. My hat is off to the people at Cyberlink for giving us a great and inexpensive product and I hope they keep improving PDVD15 (especially the 2D to 3D conversion) and maybe they can find a way to add some negative parallax (user controlled) to the conversion.
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post #29 of 48 Old 06-10-2015, 02:14 PM
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I like it so much that I'm not particularly worried about the health of studio 3D.
After testing Power DVD 15 with half a dozen movies, I would be worried if studios stopped producing 3D. Power DVD 15's realtime 2D>3D conversion is worse than even the notoriously bad Clash of the Titans postconversion.

As a reminder, here's how bad Clash looked:


Just like Power DVD, there were weird stretch marks on the edges of people's heads and the 3D was way too subtle. But at least the artists knew what was in front, mid and back- Power DVD and all other realtime conversions guess wrong on the order, it's almost a coin toss.
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post #30 of 48 Old 06-10-2015, 05:23 PM
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ya i definitely agree with the pacific rim movie. I don't understand how the 3d effects are so awesome and it wasn't shot in 3d. I think Hercules was a pretty good 3d movie too for being a 2d to 3d. I found this site that lists all the true 3d movies shot in 3d.

Long live 3d tv's i get scared when I keep hearing all these people say 3d tvs are going to die off
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