The Great War in 3D restoration project planned for 2014

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Speaking to 3D Focus, Phil Brown, who is also known as 3D Phil, says he hopes the documentary will be timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the First World War in 2014.

review dividing line The Great War in 3D restoration project planned for 2014

the great war 3d 475x675 The Great War in 3D restoration project planned for 2014

The programme will consist of interviews with historians as well as poetry, which was popular with the troops at the time, animation, and ‘basic’ trench re-enactments’. Phil Brown, who was the Lead Stereographer for the award winning upcoming movie Spiders 3D, is currently restoring approximately 400 original photos taken at a time when 3D photography was still quite popular, but the challenge has been to make photos processed almost a century ago suitable for the HD digital era.

When those images were created in 1914 -1918 there were lots of stereo window problems that included rotational errors and sizing issues and sometimes damage like dust marks, scratches etc.  Part of the job is to digitally restore them by scanning each image at a very high resolution of 2400 DPI. Contrast and black levels are adjusted. I then remove all the dust and scratches by hand and repair any damage such as spill marks etc on the photographs, and making sure that the integrity of the left and right images are kept perfect for 3D viewing.

Phil Brown Poster 204x300 The Great War in 3D restoration project planned for 2014After restoration is complete, a virtual camera will be able to move around the image and close up to the faces, offering detail not been seen before, as the 3D views were so small at the time.

Talking about the first golden era of 3D, Brown said, “It’s not only a way to commemorate the anniversary of WW1 but also to honour and celebrate the stereographers of the past. 3D was really the television of the day back in Victorian times and between 1850 and 1900, there were literally millions of 3D photos taken”. He continued: "3D stereograph cards were available in many subjects including travel views. These 3D stereo cards were collected by families who weren’t able to travel the world like the wealthier people could on “The Grand Tour”.  When the conflict started in 1914, the 3D photo companies decided to produce some 3D sets to document this war to end all wars.


Phil Brown is keen for 3D Focus readers to contact him should they be able to contribute to the project: "I’m looking for more pictures for the film so if you have any that you feel you can let me scan then please contact me. It’s a massive project to undertake, but I do feel that it ought to be done – each one of these stills can take between two and twenty hours to restore for each stereo pair. The Western Front Association are acting as advisors but I can’t do all this work on my own so I am looking for possible investment to help pay for extra 3D restorers and production costs. If any individual or production company feels they want to get involved then please get in contact and be a part of it."

You can contact Phil Brown by emailing 

(YT3D enabled, Select “3D” icon to choose your viewing method,  If using Red/Blue  glasses it’s best to set it to Anaglyph – Optimized Dubois,  “Settings” to select 720p)