The precise job of a stereographer depends on the project, but all stereographers work with images, either still or in motion, that utilize the three-dimensional (3D) visual effect commonly known as stereoscopic 3D. There are many ways in which a stereographer might be utilized in a 3D project, particularly if that individual is working as part of a team in which labor is divided among members. Stereographers who work with still images typically work alone or in small groups and might be required to perfect individual images. As 3D technologies improve, the job of the stereographer also involves staying up to date with the latest techniques and, in some cases, innovating new ways of recording stereographs.
At one time, stereographers were photographers who carefully recorded stereographs that were designed to be viewed using special devices called stereoscopes. Recording these images required special cameras and careful composition of the images. Although still stereographs are no longer as popular or as awe-inspiring as they were when they were invented, these images are still common in many applications.
A stereographer who works with still images is often very similar to a photographer. He or she typically is responsible for the entire composition of the image as well as its development and distribution. Many stereographs still require special devices to view, but some are designed to work without equipment. These artists might work for large companies or might be entirely independent.
It also is common for a stereographer to work in the film industry on 3D movies. Capturing 3D motion images alone is a feat that often requires the assistance of an expert, but the additional steps of processing and playing back the images also can be complex. Ideally, a stereographer should be involved in all steps of making a 3D movie to point out any problems that will arise because of the design of the film, because some shots are friendlier to this style of recording. In some cases, a large number of stereographers might be involved in producing a finished film.
There also are some stereographers who work primarily in promoting the art of using 3D images in films. Although it is possible to create finished movies in which the visual effects are dominant, many people who are interested in this art believe that 3D effects should add to a film rather than distract from its content. A stereographer might therefore primarily be involved in consulting with directors and cinematographers on what effects will work best for a film. It also is important for some professionals of this type to work as teachers, because learning this art form can be complex.