Stereoscopic imaging
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Figure 1.

Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Figure 4.

Slide Bar

The Project

Those of us wishing to create stereoscopic images using sequential shots will realise the advantages of using a slidebar.  These tend to cost around £65 and in most cases that I know, are limited to approximately 3" (75mm) separation.

My slidebar Figure 1. is constructed from a computer keyboard shelf-runner, available in pairs from B&Q Warehouse in various styles costing between £8 and £12 for the pair.  I chose a heavy duty one because I intended to use it with a  rather heavy Canon 10D camera.  Slimmer designs are available if you only intend to use the slidebar with compact cameras.

These shelf-runners consist of two main parts, a traversing member (normally fitted to the shelf) and a fixed member (normally fitted to the desk) Figure 3.  The traversing member will carry our camera and the fixed member will be secured to a monopod, tripod Figure 2. a pistol grip or a "bean bag" ("The Pod" in Jessops language) Figure 4., depending on your requirements.  These two members are intersected by a ball track which make for a smooth, quick action between shots.

I chose to fit Cullmann quick-release mounts for both camera and tripod, this is my favourite quick-release device and one that I use for all my camera mounting requirements (including a bean bag).

My slidebar is also fitted with a bubble glass level, also available from B&Q and self-adhesive rubber feet, again from B&Q.  The latter are attached to the shelf mounting lugs on the traversing member Figure 2. for ease of operation.

The telescopic action of the shelf runner allows the overall length of the slidebar is kept to a minimum.  In my case, I cut the shelf-runner to make a slidebar that has a length of 9" (230mm) when not extended; this is the central position for the camera.  This extends to 13" (330mm) when sliding the traversing member Figure 3. either way from centre - providing a maximum image separation of 8" (205mm) for hyper stereo shots.  A unit built for 3" (75mm) separation could be built to a shorter length of around 6" (150mm).

The trickiest part of the construction is removing the ball-track to allow drilling and fitting of the Cullmann parts.  The balls will fall away from the track and hopefully into that receptacle that you placed there for this reason!!.  It's a good idea to use grease as a means of holding the balls in place when re-assembling.

Another point to remember is that in cutting the shelf-runner to the required length, we will have removed the end buffers.  These need to replaced by a similar device to prevent the whole thing falling apart in use.  I drilled holes in each end of the fixed member to receive a screw and nut which in turn retained a rubber grommet - this interacts with the ball-track and can be seen at the centre of  Figure 3.

Cullmann quick-release mounts are available at around £15, cheaper "universal quick release adaptor" at around £8.50. 7dayshop sell a similar device by Hama

"The Pod" is a good idea for any type of photography and costs around £15 from 7dayshop


 Barry Aldous – February 2005