YouTube Adds 3D Viewing Option for its Library of HD Content

Did you run to your local movie theater to watch the re-release of Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace in 3D? Yeah, neither did I. Who in their right mind couldn’t get enough of that movie the first time around, and so then wanted another excuse to see it a second time? All the extra dimensions in the world can’t save the wooden acting, stilted dialogue and Jar Jar Binks. Actually, I’ve been very happy visualizing The Phantom Menace in 0D in my mind, so thanks, no thanks.

But starting today, you can finally view the content you’ve been clamoring to see in 3D because YouTube has officially rolled out its 3D viewing and conversion feature for high definition videos, which began as a beta feature last year. Previously, creators could convert their YouTube videos into 3D by clicking a button. This option is still there, however, YouTube will also be automatically converting all short-form uploaded 1080p videos so that a 3D viewing option is available when clicking the gear icon on the YouTube player. Of course, you’ll need to buy a pair of 3D glasses to view your favorite videos in 3D. All of this, because remember, you’ve been absolutely clamoring for it.

According to YouTube, they use “a combination of video characteristics such as color, spatial layout and motion to estimate depth map for each frame of a monoscopic video sequence.” They then use “machine learning from the growing number of true 3D videos on YouTube to learn video depth characteristics and apply them in depth estimation,” and that the result is that the “generated depth map and the original monoscopic frame create a stereo 3D left-right pair, that a stereo display system needs to display a video as 3D.” In other words, they’re using impossibly complicated technology to trick Smosh’s fans’ eyes into thinking that their idols are a couple of inches physically closer, which means they will just be all the more disappointed when they try to lick Anthony’s face and end up tasting computer screen.

But for all you new media artist and creator types out there, this means you have a new tool to work with. Hopefully, we can expect to see your best 3D videos out soon.

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