GoPro is getting into 3D with its 1080p HD HERO actioncam range, but it's taking a slightly different approach. Instead of jamming two lenses and two sensors into one unit, the company has opted to build a special casing that joins two of the existing 2D cameras at the hip. The 3D HERO Expansion kit will be compatible with all 1080p HD HERO cameras and is expected to hit shelves in February at a cost of US$100.
The Expansion kit includes a cable which links the two 1080p GoPro HEROs inside the housing to genlock their signals. The user then downloads free editing software that allows them to merge the footage from both cameras into one 3D image.
Like the standalone cameras, the casing will still be is waterproof and shock-resistant and it will also enable both cameras to be set at different angles to capture individual footage.
The cons: to shoot 3D in this way you obviously need need two cameras (which means spending dollars) and you are doubling the bulk of the unit in a scenarios where size is critical – i.e. strapped to your head.
The pros: if the company made a dedicated 3D camera, it would definitely be more expensive than the regular model (the HD HERO 1080p costs $259, so if you already have one of the cameras, the outlay to go 3D would be US$359).
An extra 2D GoPro unit in the kit is also handy when not shooting 3D. As well as capturing two separate streams from inside the casing, you can, for example, mount one on the handlebars and one on the rear fork facing backwards on your bike. And if you have a buddy with a GoPro, $50 bucks each will give you the a 3D option.
The issue of the unit's size also loses importance when you consider there are several mounting options for the GoPro – surfboard, bike, or on the chest as shown above – and it's by no means a large or heavy unit to start with.
It looks like the pros have it ... and whether you like GoPro's solution or not, actioncam video is one area that will definitely lend itself to the 3D platform.
Share your thoughts on this and other tech coming news from our reporters on the ground at CES 2011 in the comments section.