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Park Service Dives Into 3D

 With underwater footage, no less.

The Denver-based National Park Service Submerged Resources Center (SRC) is bringing the wonders of the world underwater to students across the country—in 3D.

Brett Seymour, SRC AV production specialist at the NPS Submerged Resources Center, at the 3D edit bayt The underwater footage is being produced through a partnership with the Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory (AIVL) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Woods Hole, Mass.

The SRC is using the JVC GD-463D10U 46-inch 3D LCD HD monitor to show it to students.

The GD-463D10U monitor has an integrated Xpol polarizing filter, so it uses inexpensive polarized (passive) glasses to produce flicker-free 3D HD images. According to Brett Seymour, SRC AV production specialist, the center will eventually design and distribute its own branded paper 3D glasses, which will provide students with a souvenir of the experience.

Students love 3D content because it engages them, Seymour said, and the use of special 3D glasses give them a feeling of active participation. “3D also provides a ‘wow’ factor, which is great,” he said—although the SRC avoids 3D gimmicks in its videos. Two of the SRC’s GD-463D10U monitors are housed in JELCO RotoLift shipping and display cases, which easily raise the monitors for presentations and safely stores them for transport.

The SRC is working with the AIVL on three projects. Shooting is complete on Alien Invaders, an educational look at invasive underwater species found in Lake Mead National Recreation Area in Boulder City, Nev. A video featuring the USS Arizona Memorial in Honolulu will start post production this summer. A third project offers a sample of the underwater wonders throughout the national parks.

The AIVL maintains a suite of 3D camera rigs for in-air and underwater use—and owns several GD-463D10U 3D monitors that are used for mobile presentations and internally for reviewing footage. Most of the AIVL’s 3D content is recorded on dual Sony SRW-1 HD portable digital video recorders. Several playback systems require ingest of 3D material before it can be reviewed, but the GD-463D10U allows the AIVL to review its footage in real time without going through a computer system.

William N. Lange, AIVL research specialist, said the AIVL tried 3D systems based around active (shutter) glasses, but found that passive 3D systems are better suited for their work.

“You don’t have to worry about batteries or sync,” he said. “We can’t really worry about that in the lab environment or the classroom environment—or during a live field recording event. A passive system lets us share our 3D experience with a much larger audience.”

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