3D is set to go mainstream in 2011, but you don't need expensive equipment to jump on the bandwagon. We show you how to convert 2D video into a 3D movie.

Ready or not, 2011 is set to be the year that 3D goes mainstream. This year’s Consumer Electronics Show was crammed with 3DTVs – LG says more than half its 2011 line-up will support the extra dimension – and you can hardly turn a street corner without seeing a poster for a new 3D cinema release. The first consumer-oriented 3D cameras and camcorders arrived in 2010, and there are more to come this year, including some low-cost pocket models.

But if you’ve already got a camcorder and hours of existing footage, you may not want to upgrade your video-recording kit. Fortunately, your footage doesn’t need to languish in two dimensions. With Creator 2011, Roxio offers the ability to convert existing 2D footage to 3D.

You may be wondering how Roxio can create 3D images from 2D photos, given that your camcorder’s lens captured footage from just one direction. In fact, the parallax effect, where objects appear in slightly different positions to each eye, is only one of the ways in which our brains detect distance.

Pigeons, for example, can’t see with both eyes at the same time, because they don’t point in the same direction. So they constantly turn their heads so objects move in relation to each other. This is called motion parallax.

The textural appearance of objects, our knowledge of their shape, perspective and the shadows they cast also contribute to our sense of depth. The Roxio software we used for this workshop employs all these methods to recreate the third dimension, particularly analysing the motion of objects between adjacent video frames. But it can recreate 3D from still images, too.

For the following workshop, you’ll need a copy of Roxio Creator 2011 (both the £49 Standard and £69 Pro versions support 3D). Similar effects are offered by the latest video-editing packages from CyberLink, or you can take the DIY route and create your own 3D camera setup – see our How to create 3D photos workshop.

Create 3D home video with Roxio Creator 2011

Step 1. Launch Roxio Creator 2011 and choose the Video/Movies tab. In the Edit and Transfer section select Edit Video – Advanced. VideoWave, Creator’s video-editing program, will launch. This fully featured video editor can take your footage from raw clip to final output. In Creator 2011 it can do this for 3D footage, too.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 1

Step 2. Once VideoWave has loaded, you can start a new project or open an existing one. For this tutorial, choose the 3D project format – standard 4:3 or widescreen 16:9 – that matches the aspect ratio of the footage you intend to convert to 3D. This is important, since otherwise your footage will be stretched horizontally.

Roxio Creator 2011 3D step 2