STEREO

PHOTOGRAPHY

By ALAN LEWIS

 

Resources for Stereo Weddings

 

 

CAMERAS

The easiest camera to use for stereo weddings is the "Realist" format camera. This format was used by various manufacturers during the 1950's and 60's. The most popular models were the Stereo Realist and the Kodak Stereo.

These cameras are easily found on the used market at local photo swap meets, or at major photo dealers. It is recommended that you use a cleaned and adjusted camera. The old cameras get sticky and slow over the years.

These cameras use standard modern 35mm film. The cameras also have manual controls. Most of the older cameras will require an accessory flash adapter to accept modern electronic flash, but luckily the flash synch will be good since the shutters are usually leaf type.

If you are charging money for your services then you must also have backup equipment. You never want to find yourself without the equipment necessary for finishing the job.

Another camera to have on hand for close up stereo work is the NIMSLO stereo camera. Although this camera was made for lenticular stereo, it also works well for stereo wedding prints. It is a 4 lens, 1/2 frame, 35mm camera with fixed focus and auto exposure.

You will only use two of the four lenses on the camera. For closeups (at approx. 28") you will put a +1 closeup lens over the middle two lenses and black tape over the outer two lenses. For normal stereo photos (beyond 4 feet) you will do the opposite. You will put tape over the middle two lenses and use the outer two lenses. No closeup lens for this setup. The reason that you do this is so the film processor will be able to tell which of the four available frames you want printed. With tape over the unused lenses there will not be any image on the film, so the processor will only print the available images.

 

FILM

Use a brand name (Kodak or Fuji) print film of ISO 100 to 400.

For an outdoor wedding ISO 100 would be an excellent choice. For a reception that is indoors ISO 400 would be best because it will allow much better flash coverage distance. Indoor receptions usually have dark lighting conditions, so you need as much flash coverage as possible. It will also allow you to increase your depth of field by using a smaller aperture.

Color or black and white will work well for stereo weddings. Many people prefer the antique quality of B&W.

 

PROCESSING

If you want to have our own processing done, make sure that you request that the negatives be uncut. The printing machine will need to be masked down to 24mm square for the Realist format negative. Masking is necessary to assure that the left and right images will be exposed the same. Print onto 3 1/2" x 5"matte paper, it resists fingerprints better than glossy. The photos will have white unexposed bands on each side of the image. These bands will be trimmed off during the "windowing and mounting" process.

 

 Late news on photo processors that print stereo:

The three processors of stereo prints have ceased this service. This means that the only way you can get prints done is to work directly with your local lab to print individual prints. You will have to trim, window, and mount yourself.

 

 

MOUNTING THE VIEWCARD

 

The final mounting of the left and right photos onto the viewcard is a critical step. If it isn't done correctly then all of your efforts will be wasted, and your customer will be dissatisfied.

The individual prints will have to be "windowed" for proper stereo effect. A poor windowing technique will produce an unnatural 3-D image. Briefly; the stereo window sets where the viewer perceives the image to be in 3D space. If the object in the photo was actually 7 feet from the camera, then when viewed it should appear about 7 feet from the viewer. It also should appear to be behind a window, giving the sensation of looking through a window frame at the actual scene.

For wedding photos it is usually fine to set the stereo window to be just in front of the nearest object. In weddings there usually are not objects at infinity. If there are objects at infinity then you must be careful to have the infinity separation less than 3 3/8" for comfortable viewing.

The individual prints will have to trimmed to right size for the antique Holmes format viewcard. This is usually 3" square, and the upper corners may be rounded to give visual appeal. The trimming must be done with the prints registered for the proper window.

The mount itself may be a matte board mount, or a Q-VU stereo foldover mount. I use the Q-VU mount because it produces a professional, consistent appearance, and protects the photo from abrasion damage during handling. An excellent sample package is available for this mount.

 

FOR MOUNTING INFORMATION

http://www.skep.com/3D/holmscrd.htm

 

 

FOR Q-VU MOUNT INFORMATION

http://www.brawleyonline.com/~quellen/index.html

 

 

THE FINAL PACKAGE

 

Unfortunately this is where many people try to save money by using inferior or defective equipment.

It makes no sense at all to spend money on a good camera, buy the best film, expend your valuable time and energy taking the photos, and precisely mounting the photos, if you are going to use a cheap viewer. It is essential that you find a quality viewer.

There are two choices: A new Holmes style stereoscope, or an antique Holmes stereoscope.

An antique stereoscope can be a good choice if you understand what you are looking for. Many (no, make that most) antique viewers have something wrong with them. If it isn't missing parts, bad lenses, dented hood, then it is a warped tongue. All of these things are a problem. If you do find a complete stereoscope then you must check it out before using it.

First, be aware that the hood on an antique scope is too small for modern eyeglasses, and will stop the person from seeing the entire image.

Also, a warped tongue will make viewing a card very uncomfortable. You must have a scope that has the lens centerline parallel to the sliding stage. Very important!

A new stereoscope doesn't necessarily solve all of these problems. I have seen new stereoscopes that have misaligned lenses, warped tongues, and poor quality optics. I have also seen good stereoscopes. Be aware of the quality that you are getting.

New stereoscopes usually have the larger hood for modern eyeglasses. Most of them also use molded plastic lenses. The stereoscope that I use has glass lenses made to the original spec's of the antique viewers.

Molded plastic lenses can give a good image if they don't have manufacturing defects. The most popular plastic lens used today does have some defects and you should check them out first. I have found that some of the lenses have a ripple defect that distorts the outer portion of one image.

Remember: The Stereo Wedding Package is supposed to last a lifetime and be a family heirloom.

 

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Copyright 2000 by Alan Lewis