It wasn’t long ago that shooting 3D movies in the home was something that only futurists talked about. But with the arrival of dual lensed cameras like the JVC-TD1 and the Panasonic CLT1 3D lens, used on camcorders like the Panasonic SD90 shooting is here and it is here to stay. The main problem with shooting real 3D, though, is that you have to make compromises. The TD1 is bulky and costly, while the CLT1 lens add-on is just plain costly.
This is where the JVC Everio GZ-HM960 comes in – it’s a 2D camcorder which can convert footage to 3D within its chassis. It’s an interesting idea and one which will have 3D purists up in arms, but the results are much more impressive than you might think.
JVC Everio GZ-HM96: Design and build
The first thing you notice about the HM960 is its LCD. The thing sticks out, dwarfing the camcorder’s body. The LCD is significant to the 3D, as it is lenticular. This means you can view any footage you shoot in ‘3D’ through it and see the illusion without glasses.
At 3.5 inches, the LCD is massive but actually adds something to the overall design of the camcorder and when you do playback your footage, the results will make you smile.
JVC Everio GZ-HM960: 3D shooting
As the camcorder only has one lens, the 3D footage is actually created by the conversion technology built into the camcorder. Because of this it is quicker to set up 3D shots with the HM960 than other 3D cams, but this does mean that you can sometimes shoot footage that doesn’t look great in another dimension.
We had a few issues with some of our test footage, in that the depth of the images weren’t quite as effective compared to 3D footage we shot natively in the past (although this isn’t really a surprise) this was especially apparent in fast-moving shots. Steady or more static shots and the 3D effect worked well, however.
3D footage looks best when played back on the LCD. Output through HDMI to a 3D-compatible telly and the footage still has some ‘wow’ factor but imperfections are also there.
JVC Everio GZ-HM960: 2D shooting
Switch the 3D off and you have Full HD capabilities, powered by a 0.5in, 10MP CMOS sensor. The sensor is a decent size and this is shown in the picture quality of the 2D footage. Colours were brilliantly perky and there was decent clarity of low-light footage. Couple this with 16GB internal storage and what you have is a camcorder with features that veer to the high-end.
The JV GZ-HM960 is a great go-between for those still not convinced that 3D is the future. While it should be seen as a great 2D camcorder with the ability to convert to 3D, and not the other way around, those looking for a way into 3D movie making will not be disappointed. Brilliant at 2D and decent enough converting to 3D – the HM960 is a uniquely versatile camcorder.
JVC Everio GZ-HM960 price: £799-£899 online, link JVC
JVC Everio GZ-HM960 launch date: Out now