Tips for Filming a Looking Glass

Overview

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.

Steps

1. Pan Side-to-Side

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 the shots we've done so far, we've 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.

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

3. Adjust Exposure

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.

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. 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.

6. Use real-world parallax anchors (optional)

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.