In theory, stereoscopic media content can be edited exactly the same as 2D content is, when an offline-online workflow is used. This allows the editor to edit one stream in 2D, in any standard offline editing application, and the stereoscopic 3D aspects are taken care of later in the post production process once the editorial cut is completed. While this is a workable option, the depth information that is being ignored can have an impact on the finished piece, that the editor will be totally oblivious to during that step of the process.
It would be ideal to edit stereoscopic content with at least some level of depth viewable to the editor, so that is can be taken into account during the editorial decision making process. Most NLE applications now have some level of support for 3D editorial workflows, and many 3rd party plug-ins exist to further extend those capabilities and support. For example Avid Media Composer 5.5 has native support for over-under and side-by-side image combinations, but all of your source media has to be prerendered in that format in order to use the standard MXF media workflow. This isn’t significantly different than some standard 2D Avid workflows that require transcoding source media into offline MXFs, but Quicktime AMA workflows add some new interesting options that could allow users to skip that step.
The solution that I use for my stereoscopic work is Cineform’s Neo3D, which allows 3D content to be processed through a fairly standard post production workflow. They also have a creative way of supporting stereoscopic content, that allows stereoscopic finishing work to be done during any step in the process, even concurrently on a separate system if desired. This process uses the same active metadata workflow that they have made available for color correction for the last few years. All of the stereoscopic adjustments, as well as the muxing of the left and right streams is done on the fly by the decoder, so changes don’t have to be permanently rendered into the media, and the target application receives a premuxed single stream of video. This allows certain 2D apps that have no integrated support for stereoscopic post, to be utilized for 3D editorial, and still give editors a live stereoscopic preview. I discussed the options for connecting 3D preview displays, as well as some of the display options available, in earlier articles in the series. I am sure the process will continue to evolve as new products are developed to simplify the workflow.