Sunday, 1 December 2013

The Boer War in 3D!



This post sees the creation of yet another new page here at ‘28mm Victorian Warfare’ entitled, “The Boer War in 3D” and is the direct result of an impulsive bid on an online auction; the win, a rather splendid Stereoscope, which was then very kindly presented to me by my father.

This peculiarly, Victorian source of entertainment allows the viewer to gaze in wonderment as the characters from the Scriptures, fairy tales or even the news of the day miraculously come to live before their very eyes.  Viewing two identical images that are placed side by side through a lens ‘tricks’ the eye into seeing the images in three dimensions.  


Although my viewer came with a variety of slides it was the volume imaginatively entitled ‘The South African War Through the Stereoscope' that piqued my curiosity.  Here were thirty-six slides depicting events in the Boer War and published by Underwood & Underwood.  It is clear that there is an element of sensationalism to the images, many of which will have been reconstructed for the benefit of the camera, but they do provide an invaluable resource from the point of view of uniforms, equipment and even tactics of the British Army at the turn of the twentieth century. 

Those that have witnessed a stereoscopic image first hand, or perhaps its more modern incarnation, the 'Viewfinder', will appreciate that there is indeed a magical quality to it, not unlike the phenomenon of 3D cinema or television we have today.  It was whilst reviewing the slides that I was struck with the idea of trying to recreate them on this most humble of weblogs.  These days, if you are prepared to trawl for long enough, the World Wide Web will eventually deliver a solution as it wasn’t too long before I stumbled upon a various ‘fixes’ for my problem, the most common being to animate the stereoscopic slides as a 'GIF' (Graphics Interchange Format) and so that is exactly what I set about doing.  The process involved scanning both images, cropping as required and then creating an animation at the highest speed possible.  The results are not perfect by any means, with many of the images becoming difficult to view due to the jerky nature of the animation, but at their best, one or two actually start to give the illusion of depth!  


One of the original slides


Once an animated slide is ‘clicked’ on the page it can be viewed in more detail in the normal way.  It is also probably worth mentioning, purely as a disclaimer, that every effort has been taken to faithfully reproduce the text accompanying each slide at that any inaccuracies were as they would have been presented to the general public at the time.





44 comments:

  1. What a great addition to your collection

    Ian

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Ian; finally a Victorian era post!

      Delete
  2. That's a very interesting post Michael!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Phil, your GIFs were my inspiration!

      Delete
  3. Fun,,but I can imagine after 5 minutes of viewing seasickness Setting in :-D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean Paul, some of the less successful ones are quite difficult to look at!

      Delete
  4. Great addition to your collection. I can't view the animated gifs for very long though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Very cool. I spent a lot of a time as a child looking through these things, though none as cool as Boer War stuff. My parents worked in museums, I'm not 100 years old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you my good man, it just seemed a shame not to try and find a way to display them more readily as opposed to sending to a dusty loft.

      Delete
  6. Brilliant - as you say, a classic period device

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Paul, it certainly captured my attention.

      Delete
  7. That's a very old "viewmaster" you have there! Great purchase!

    Greetings
    Peter

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Peter, it is quite fragile but still fully functional.

      Delete
  8. Fascinating sir. There goes my lunchtime!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Excellent, I'd hate to think that you were sitting around idly wasting your time!

      Delete
  9. a very peculiar sopurce of informations!
    good purchase!
    bye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Luca, it was certainly a bit different.

      Delete
  10. A fascinating treat! I never know what I'll find when I visit your blog.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Monty, we do like to keep you entertained over here.

      Delete
  11. Fascinating, that bit of kit must be an antique!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It certainly is Scott and quite delicate, this way I hope to preserve the images for all.

      Delete
  12. Replies
    1. At least it has some relevance to the Blog's title!

      Delete
  13. Excellent little unit….will provide hours of entertainment

    ReplyDelete
  14. My dad has one of these. Been in the family for generations kind of thing. I think it belonged to my great grandfather. They are great fun.

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...