Fast and easy 3D that won't break the bank.
I've had mixed experiences with the Panasonic 3D-A1 but I finally (and luckily) found a shooting scenario that was just the right dimensions for its somewhat limiting 2.5" Interocular distance -
Inside the tent at the Big Apple Circus.
The lens to subject and lens to background distances fit just within the camera's "stereo sweetspot" and I was able to capture beautifully dimensional images free of parallax violations.
20 mbps (or something like that) AVCHD coming from 1/4" imagers isn't exactly the highest quality images but it's good enough for a lot of applications as long as you're careful with the exposure. Thankfully the camera has the same useful picture profile settings as other Panasonic cameras in its class to help you with shadow and highlight rendering.
Also - I used the new Sony LMD-2451TD 24" Passive 3D Display for the shoot. A perfect field monitor. It uses circular polarization so your RealD glasses will work with it. The quality of the stereo is so much better than the equivalent Panasonic version. Seeing as how the only other option for such a high quality 3D display is to drag the JVC or LG TV out into the field, I'd say the Sony monitor is now the best thing going.
I pulled the trigger on Cineform Neo despite my last post and it's the perfect solution for this project. I imported the camera media into First Light with the click of a button and in an hour I had Cineform 3D files containing both left and right eye images that can be non-destructively adjusted at any time. I brought the material into FCP, hooked up the Matrox MXO2 to my LG 3DTV and was editing and adjusting convergence in real time immediately from my laptop.
So f-n cool. There's no other way to put it.
Think what you will about 3D but I'm convinced that it's almost here in a big way. It's just getting so much easier and cheaper to shoot it and new delivery options are opening up every day. For instance -
Soon I predict passive polarization will just be automatically built into almost all LCD and LED displays. Viewing 3D content will be as easy as a menu option on your screen. And getting content onto that screen will be as easy viewing video on the web is now.