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.