Carnival of Souls 3D is an exclusive 3D conversion of the original movie Carnival of Souls. 2D23DConversions has spent 10 months creating almost 500 animated depth maps in order to create the 3D effect for every scene of the movie. This is a unique conversion and no other 3D versions of this movie exist. (See Demo video and other samples below)
Depth Map smoothing
As I am on a budget of zero for this conversion, not only have I had to use mainly freeware software for the conversion but I've also had to be a bit inventive in combining the different softwares to achieve my goals.
The main programs that I have been using are Photoshop 7 (for creating the depth maps), Virtualdub (for editing etc), Irfanview (for batch converting and previewing) and Bas-relief demo version (for the actual 3D conversion). With regards Bas-relief, it is really a conversion software for photos, but because it does "batch convert" I have been able to make use of it for video, albeit in a very laboured way. Now, due to the fact that this is a solo project, I have had to make certain time saving sacrifices along the way. One of them has been cutting down on the time needed for "depth map smoothing" in Bas-relief by using a lower value number. The higher the value, the more time the software spends analysing the depth map i.e. calculating distances between foreground and background objects when one is immediately in front of the other with nothing at the mid-point. In situations like these, the depth map will be pure white on black and the "depth map smoothing" value ideally should be set quite high. When the value is too low, the final converted image is of poorer quality and some objects may turn out warped. Unfortunately, the higher the value, the longer each frame takes during the conversion process. Now that's fine when working with just one photo (as the software is meant to be used) but when you are dealing with hundreds and thousands of frames, in order to save valuable time, I have generally had to use a lower setting for the "depth map smoothing". For me, these sacrifices have been a necessary part of the conversion process and fortunately don't effect the final result too much. The warping is less obvious when both sides are combined during the 3D viewing process too and not all scenes have the extreme foreground directly in front of the extreme background. Therefore, I generally set the "depth map smoothing" value at around 10 as at this setting, Bas-relief only takes a few seconds to convert each frame. Generally, the results are fine, when there is a normal gradual distancing between foreground and background objects. Occasionally though, as mentioned above, some objects can come out slightly warped (in the 3D side) when a foreground object is immediately in front of a background object with no mid-point objects in between. This phenomenon may even be a limitation of the software.
Click on the photo below for an example of the warping effect.
For more information about "depth map smoothing" in Bas-Relief click the link below
Overall though, I feel that this warping is not too noticeable as it occurs only occasionally and so doesn't distract enough to spoil viewing the final film. At a slightly higher "depth map smoothing" value of 20, each frame takes about a minute to convert, compared to just a few seconds when the value is set at 10. At a value of 20 then, 600 frames would take 600 x 1 minute = 600 minutes (10 hours) to convert. The difference in actual quality between a setting of 10 and 20 is pretty negligible. There is a slight lessening of the warping but not enough to justify the extra time needed. I have tested up to the value of 50 recently and though there is some improvement in the warping, because the software takes several minutes to convert at this value, it would be impractical to use because of the time factor. The whole conversion would just take too long and so it would be impossible for me to complete the conversion on my own. Still, even by making these sacrifices, the conversion process is scheduled to still take as long as 9 months. It should have only been 6 months but the whole conversion process has been a learning curve for me too.... not only have I had to think on my feet the whole way, but I have had to design a method of using "photo" conversion software, to convert "video" instead.
I estimated that without the sacrifices made during the conversion process, the whole conversion process, on my own, would have either taken years to complete, or would have been such a laborious and tedious a job, that it would have never been completed. As it stands, the conversion has still been a very laborious and difficult job to do but as I start seeing the completion of it looming closer and closer I'm feeling that, all things considered, it has been worthwile.
If you are planning on buying a copy of Carnival of Souls 3D, then please bear in mind the above "problems" that I have had to consider and the time saving shortcuts I have had to make during the conversion process. Even though I am very proud of the conversion thus far, this is not a professional Hollywood conversion and I'm not getting paid $70,000 a minute or whatever the ludicrous figure is that is charged. No, I am just a 3D fan, trying to make use of my Art Degree, attempting to do a 3D conversion that would probably never see the light of day normally. If I make a few quid along the way then that would be a bonus of course. So far though, I have received zero for all my efforts. Here's hoping to the future and the final film's release.