Fashion Show 3D Stereo Capture Using WiFi

Dancers warming up fashion show audience

3D side by side photo of fashion show dancers
Last week Delray Beach, Florida hosted #DelrayFashionWeek with proceeds benefiting the Delray Beach Achievement Centers for Children & Families. I went to the opening public fashion show in downtown Delray Beach with my 3D camera rig to photograph the runway action. My goal was to try out the WiFi Remote Capture app for shutter trigger of the twin Samsung NX500 cameras.

Using the WiFi trigger, the cameras did not perform well with many poorly synchronized 3D photos or missed photos from either or both cameras. See my analysis below.

Each camera has a 16 mm fixed focal lens (24 mm equivalent to 35mm full frame camera) with manual settings at 1/80 sec, F4, ISO 1600. The inter-axial spacing between the cameras was increased from the minimum of 86 mm possible with the rig to about 120 mm to get a better 3D hyper-stereo effect given how far away the subjects were from the camera. Photos were shot in raw, post processed using Lightroom, and aligned for 3D stereo with Stereo Photo Maker. 

The 3D camera rig was attached to a very light weight tripod and I was able at times, to lift it high above all the official event photographers in front of me, and keep the foreground clutter out of the shot. Here the remote bluetooth/WiFi combination was useful. In retrospect, I should have used a long shutter cable or PocketWizard remote triggers. 

With 24 mm equivalent lens I was able to capture the entire view of the models, stage, and audience. The show floodlights lit the scene well from my vantage point at the end of the runway, so a flash was not necessary. 

The public show space had a large crowd (guessing 300+) watching in a multi-retail store business location (with WiFi networks) and everyone had their phone out taking pictures, emailing photos, or what ever. So I think there was a lot of interference from WiFi signals and Bluetooth. I was thinking the cameras and phone where close enough to override any interference, but I misjudged the outcome based on home tests.

It seems my Sony Z1s phone WiFi hot-spot defaults to the 2.4 GHz channel 1 band. I should have changed this channel setting. Going back the next day with a phone WiFi analyzer, I saw at least 6 strong WiFi signals on channel 1 at my shooting location. Plus there were many more strong signals on other channels. I would recommend a strong signal portable router if its available instead of using a phone.

I also discovered a major problem in that the NX500 camera is slow responding to shutter close requests when triggered with WiFi, because a delay occurs when the camera saves files on the SD card and the camera does not immediately process network shutter trigger requests. This problem does not occur with wired remote triggers. With fast moving models it was not possible to consistently capture the best photo moment. For rapid shooting with twin cameras I would recommend a wired remote shutter release instead of using a WiFi trigger to capture your photo subjects.

WiFi control of multiple cameras can have advantages in some situations, where you can take your time shooting, but not for public 😢fashion shows, where camera wired remote shutter releases should work better with consistency. And unfortunately the NX500 cannot take a lot of shots rapidly, a camera feature needed for this kind of event.

I enjoyed writing the code for the Remote Capture app and learned some new techniques, so all was not lost, it was worth the effort. Maybe you will find the app useful for your photo projects. Please let me know how it works out for you, thanks!