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Since picking up the first of the Sony HDR-TD10 3D Camcorders to land in Vancouver, BC, I have carried it with me everywhere.

A few weeks into ownership and I feel it’s time for a review!

The only specs you need to know are: 64GB internal storage, SD-card slot for me. The rest is standard fare Sony camcorder, that happens to have 2 lenses.

Recording 3D Video

When I first started using the camera, I felt that I was quite often struggling with far too much parallax (the difference in angle between the two eyes). There is a manual “3D depth” override on the front of the camera, but I found it limiting and also impossible to discern within the camera’s viewfinder.

I soon discovered a parallax “button” that (sometimes?) appeared on the right side of the display (looks like two circles side-by-side above the word RESET, in a box). Pressing this before each shot helped, but was not the perfect answer.

Only after a week of fiddling did I discover a small button that appears in the bottom right corner. It leads to an “Intelligent Auto” page, which I sent to “On.” Now, my live shooting looks much better in 3D. This Auto feature even automatically switches to a macro mode, which is hugely useful – as typically I find that I must stand much further away when filming than with a 2D camera.

Playback

The easiest way to review your recordings is via HMDI. I connected the camera to my Sony 55HX800 3D television, which worked beautifully for displaying the clips at their full resolution and speed. I have no idea how well it works on a non-Sony screen, though.

Once again, parallax is only adjustable in large increments, so fine tuning your convergence point and 3D depth for the best view is next to impossible. When I get it right during the recording process, it is nothing short of stunning.

If you are anything more than a casual videographer, you will want to edit your clips on a computer.

So far, I do not see a way to play the raw clips in 3D, after they are copied onto the computer. Playback with any software results in a 2D image. Even the software that comes with the Sony camcorder has no facility for displaying them stereoscopically!

The solution is in your video editing software. Adobe Premiere CS5 includes the ability to pair stereo clips. When you set up the project, select your render resolution at 1080p24, 720p60 or 720p30 and select left/right or top/bottom HALF for the 3D type. Be sure that your interlacing is turned off.

When editing, everything will look 2D, but the final render will show as the two images, placed as you set in your project settings.

Sony’s Vegas 10 has a built in tool for correcting vertical and horizontal alignment of the two frames. It’s an “effect” that you add to the clips and not obviously stated anywhere.

Whichever you use – the final output will lack the resolution and/or frame rate of your source recordings, but if done right, still produces a fine clip for upload to YouTube or home viewing.

Recommendation

I tried the Panasonic “3D-adapter” camera: It was horrific.

I recorded video with my Fuji W3: Decent, but automatically stops after a short period of time.

GoPro 3D camera kit: Highest resolution, small lenses, not good for point-and-shoot.

Sony: Great resolution and picture quality, nice lenses, lots of storage and easy to use.

If you want to jump into the world of 3D video, the Sony HDR-TD10 is the way to go.