Announced on the Official YouTube Blog earlier today, Google has pushed a beta feature live that allows YouTube users to view 1080p video in a variety of 3D modes. This 3D conversion process was originally added as a beta test during September 2011 when Google started encouraging video creators to try out the new feature. While Google recommended using a 3D camera for better results, the process works for all 2D video uploaded in high definition quality regardless of camera.
As of today, Google published the feature for all users as an automatic conversion process for all short-form, 1080p videos less than 15 minutes in length. However, viewers of 3D YouTube videos will need inexpensive 3D glasses or 3D capable hardware to take advantage of the new feature. Google is using its cloud computing infrastructure to convert the majority of the 1080p videos that have been uploaded to YouTube.
In order to switch over to the 3D view, users must click the gear icon in the toolbar of the video. If the video has been converted over to 3D already, an icon will appear to the left of the gear icon and switch the video to the 3D view when clicked. The user can click the 3D icon a second time to bring up a variety of viewing options.
For users with colored 3D glasses, they can choose between “Red / Cyan, Green / Magenta and Blue / Yellow” depending on the shade of the glasses. There are also three options for the amount of color that’s included on video. For instance, a user can watch the video in “Optimized” view to remove pure red and pure cyan. While the colors are less vibrant in most videos, this view reduces the amount of ghosting in the video. Ghosting occurs when the left or right eye sees a portion of the image meant for the opposite eye.
For users with active shutter glasses, they can try an “Interleaved” view assuming the computer monitor supports it and choose between arranging the pixels in columns, rows or a checkerboard design. If watching a 3D YouTube video on a HDTV, users can try the “Side by Side” mode in half width or full width mode. Some 3D televisions can take the two video feeds and turn it into a single 3D image. Google also supports NVIDIA 3D Vision by including a HTML5 stereo view.
For users without 3D glasses or a 3D capable device, Google has included a variety of methods to watch video in 3D. “Cross-eyed” view displays two video feeds side by side with one small white dot above each video feed. As the user crosses their eyes, a third video feed appears in the middle which appears in 3D. While the white dots help users to align the video correctly in this view, Google warns users that it may cause headaches for extended viewing. Other options for viewing videos without 3D hardware include a “parallel” view that requires the user to unfocus the eyes and a “mirror” view that requires the user to place a mirror against the screen as demonstrated in this video.