Day 211 / DIY View-Master Reel

A while back on Day 113 my pal Dantes called me up because he had built this rig for shooting stereoscopic images with two SLR cameras.  And since we both had the same camera with the same lens we decided to go out that night to shoot some 3D pictures.  It was pretty cool to bring back the images and process them for viewing.  The trouble with 3D is that the anaglyph method ( the red and blue glasses) is not perfect you usually see some ghost image of the red in the blue or vice versa.


There is no better way to view 3D images, in my opinion, than the view-master.  I love the view-master actually and wish there were more contemporary versions of this classic toy.  I was pretty inspired by this post I saw some time ago on the MAKE blog, where a person had taken two small keychain LCD monitors (which I think you can get at best buy) and fashioned them into an old view-master.  I don’t know why Fisher-Price or whoever owns View-Master now doesn’t make a video version.  I think it would be awesome and I’d buy one for myself.


Anyways, last night I decided to make my own custom View-Master reel from the pictures I collected with Dantes.  I measured the window size on an original reel and created a photoshop project with guides to help me scale down my images to the right size.  (One important thing to note, I created my photoshop project at 8.5X11 in size but I made the pixel resolution quite high, like 600 pixels/in. because when you scale these images down to their tiny size the resolution lowers on them.  You want them to be clear and sharp even at full zoom.)  Then I went to Kinkos and had them printed on a transparency.  I also bought two sheets of their strongest card stock.


I brought the supplies home and I cut out two sides of my own reel out of the card stock.  Then I simply cut out the left and right eye images out of the transparency one by one and super-glued them to one side of the reel.  Finally, I glued the two sides together and cleaned up the edges as best as I could with an X-acto blade.


It ended up working awesome!  Just like an old slide projector presentation I accidentally glued in some of the images upside-down but over all the 3D effect looked nice and clean.


I think this might end up being a future project because it might be fun to create a little children’s story for June using 3D in After Effects.  The one drawback is because the images are printed you can see the dot pattern pretty clearly through the view-master and they don’t look as clean as the original photo versions from back in the day.


If I can find a printing process that can print smoothly at that small size then that would be the thing to do, or I could print out the images and then recreate them with pen or paint on transparency.  That might be interesting.