YouTube Lets Viewers Watch in 3D … But Will They?
A new 3D-viewing option on YouTube‘s video player ensures classic movies like The Lion King and Titanic won’t be the only videos getting retroactive 3D treatment.
The option allows viewers to watch short-form videos uploaded
to YouTube in 1080p while wearing 3D glasses.
YouTube’s enhancement, which rolled out across the site on Thursday, is the latest iteration of a beta feature the site launched last September that gave video uploaders a one-click method for converting their 2D videos to 3D. YouTube said in a blog post that users have since applied the option to “hundreds of thousands” of their videos.
In its most recent incarnation, the feature works a bit differently. Instead of allowing uploaders a choice to convert their videos to 3D as the original version did, YouTube now automatically converts them. Viewers can choose to watch 1080p videos with Red/Cyan, Green/Magenta, Blue/Yellow or interleaved 3D glasses through a new 3D button next to the gear option on the video player.
YouTube is, of course, not producing 3D effects on par with video originally filmed in 3D. True 3D video requires two versions of the same scene filmed from two perspectives.
Here’s a simplified explanation of YouTube’s version works: YouTube estimates a depth map for each frame of a video using color, spatial layout, motion and other characteristics. It improves this generated map by applying what it has learned from actual 3D videos uploaded to its platform. This pair — the original video and the generated depth map — make up the left-right video combination that a stereo display system needs to display a video as 3D.
The next thing YouTube will figure out is whether its users actually want to watch web video in 3D.
Although sales of 3D TVs are rising, it’s unclear whether consumers are purchasing them for their 3D capabilities or because it’s becoming harder to find a set without those capabilities. Surveys have shown they’re not pumped about wearing 3D glasses at home or hindering their ability to multitask.
Is watching Bed Intruder in three dimensions any more compelling?
Test out the effects in this example video (3D options can be accessed through the “+3D” icon next to the gear), and let us know if you’ll be keeping a pair of 3D glasses next to your computer.