Effective use of solid wood and engineered wood products as competitive structural materials requires the accurate knowledge of the mechanical behaviour of wood. Low research activity devoted to this field of study in Portugal contrasts with the economic importance of wood based industry. Modelling of heterogeneous and anisotropic materials, like wood, requires extensive testing at acceptable cost. Traditional methods require complex and expensive preparation and equipment, which we believe can be partially overcome by optical whole-field measurement techniques based on digital image sequence analysis. New 3D methods for image sequence acquisition and analysis (with high temporal resolution) must be developed in order to measure the three displacement components of the specimen surface points, allowing for the control of parasitic effects on in-plane testing methods, the out-off plane properties measurement and the description of structural behaviour, at several strain rates.