Archive for the ‘Advertising’ Category

3D Stereoscopic Post Production Examined Pt.4 – Conform, Color, Master

This is the final in a four part series by Tashi Trieu detailing a 3D commercial spot:

On-line Conform

Three versions of the commercial were decided upon. Two 30-second spots and a 2-minute version for a viral campaign.

Using Cineform tools and a few proprietary scripts, the Cineform Quicktimes were debayered and transcoded to 10-bit DPX sequences with a conversion to CPD log (Cineon Printing Density) characteristics to match the rest of our Lustre DI pipeline. The DPX sequences for both left and right eyes were conformed into stereo layers within Lustre 2011 using a single EDL exported from Avid.

Color Grading

Stereo 3D color grading requires a substantially greater time investment than 2D grading.

First both eyes must be matched. While both left and right eye cameras were identical and the lenses matched and exposure was set identically, there were slight inconsistencies between the cameras. The cameras would sometimes have slightly different tints depending on the scene and the sky would render differently due to the beam splitter. Specular highlights also vary from eye to eye depending on the angle. Minor adjustments were made to prevent a difference in luminance that would cause a flickering effect when viewed in 3D.

After matching both eyes secondary masks or geometries would be applied to a single eye and then copied to the other. If the masks were tracking objects with positive or negative parallax, I would offset a parent axis to correctly align it to correct for the disparity without needing to perform another track or create additional keyframes.

Using Lustre’s stereoscopic toolset, I also adjusted convergence and rotational alignment to improve the stereo effect beyond what was originally captured. Production was very intense and there were a number of takes that made it to the final edit, but were not ideal for stereo. Those shots received a bit of extra attention to make the stereo effect either more pleasing. Sometimes this meant adjusting the vertical alignment or setting a new convergence point deeper in the scene.

Stereo 3D Compositing and Title Generation

All of the titles, captions, and animated logos were generated as 2D sources, but needed to be delivered in stereo. To do this, I used the native stereo toolset in Autodesk Smoke 2011. Smoke’s FBX camera was the primary tool I used. The FBX camera creates a 3D compositing environment where the convergence of stereo images can be manipulated and the stereo effect can be created using 2D images.

One shot required compositing of a 2D source into the stereo scene. Using the FBX camera within Action, I brought the 2D image into the scene and adjusted the convergence to create artificial depth. The stereo tools in Smoke made this very process very fast and easily repeatable for all of the different versions of the commercial.

Text overlays, 3D titles, and logos were all authored as mono images, but went through the same process as the stereo composites. The Action node in Smoke/Flame allows for repeatability of setups so the creation of many versions of the commercial was very fast and easy.

If you would like a PDF containing the entire series of posts, you may request a copy:

Trending toward oblivion. Internet as the ultimate distraction.

I love advertising but hate the interruption.  Does that make me a bad person?

3D Stereoscopic Production Examined Pt.3

Tashi Trieu continues his 4 part series on a 3D commercial shoot:

Post Production

Offline Editorial

Immediately after the shoot was concluded, I delivered one of the G-RAIDs to the editor so that post could begin very quickly.

Cineform Quicktimes rely on active metadata within the file. This active metadata tells Quicktime which eye to display, convergence, reframing and resizing, color correction, etc. We went through all of the footage and applied a base look for the commercial that would be suitable for presentation to the clients throughout offline post. We designated that all of the footage would be presented in side-by-side mode when opened in Quicktime or any program using Quicktime architecture.

Silicon DVR also creates an ALE file (Avid Log Exchange) containing text-based passive metadata (timecode, tape ID, etc) for all of the clips created.

The editor then batch imported the Quicktimes using the ALE’s. Once in Avid, you can specify that the footage is side-by-side and how to interpret it. For source/record preview, we chose to display 2D using just the left eye. Then, for fullscreen 3D playback to an external display, we set Avid to convert the side-by-side image to stereo interlaced to match the requirements of our display.

Through this configuration, the source and record windows in Avid play 2D, while the external display plays in 3D.

We used a 24” Hyundai W240S passive 3D display connected over DVI. While there are many monitors on the market right now that support NVIDIA 3D Vision active display technology, there are very few computer displays that use passive polarization. The Hyundai monitor is relatively inexpensive for a passive 3D display (starting around $1,250). However, it has a very limited viewing angle, I would say less than 5°-10° incident, in which the 3D effect is perceivable. While this is not a great monitor to use for group presentation, it’s sufficient enough for a solo editor and the director to edit with.

On-line and Beyond…

Currently, the plan is to create 2K masters for each version of the commercial. From there the various DCP, web, SD, and HD deliverables will be created.

Using Cineform tools, we will extract 2K DPX in CPD log format (Cineon Printing Density) from the Cineform RAW Quicktime files. From there they will be assembled using an Avid EDL or XML in Autodesk Smoke. The timeline will then be Wired to Autodesk Lustre for color grading, and round-tripped back to Smoke for mastering and versioning.

Color grading will be done in 2D off of calibrated Panasonic displays.

For 3D playback, we’ll most likely use a higher-end active display. Over dual HD-SDI, both images will be converted to a single HDMI signal for synced playback on the active display. This ensures full 1920×1080 4:2:2 playback of both left and right eyes.

Tashi will complete this discussion of 3D Post in Pt.4

3D Viral Video makes waves on YouTube

You may be familiar with the Mentos guys who mix Coca Cola with those explosive mints.  They recently shot a viral video directed by Rob Cohen in 3D.

Double click image to get anaglyph 3D

Coke + Mentos + 3D = an explosive combination

Learn how you make your own Anaglyphic viewer using a jewel case!

Advertisers take note.

3D Stereoscopic Production Examined – Pt.2

Tashi Trieu in Pt. 2 details a 3D commercial shot recently Southern California:

The Camera Rigs

We used two proprietary camera rigs built by the director of photography, who was also the stereographer. These rigs are not too dissimilar from other rigs out there. The main difference between this rig and more common rigs that are publicly available is that the vertically oriented camera points upwards towards the beam-splitter, not downwards.

Because the entire commercial was shot handheld, it was much easier on the camera operators to use the rig in this orientation. ….Top-heavy rigs make it much harder to maintain correctly aligned horizons during fast camera moves. However, this presented a disadvantage when trying to get low-angle shots or a shot on level with the ground, as the minimum camera height in this orientation was about three feet. To accommodate for this, the camera operators inverted the rigs. However, this resulted in camera misalignment, which took a good deal of time to correct for. The rigs were not built to be inverted and the mechanics of the camera alignment suffer from the reverse pull of gravity.

3D Playback on set

Because of the fast-paced and low-budget nature of this shoot, it was not possible to have a 3D client monitor setup for preview during a take. Instead, clients would view the footage with me in a screening room on set after I had downloaded the media to the DIT workstation.

The workstation ran on Windows 7, dual quad-core Intel i7 processors, several gigabytes of RAM, and an internal SATA RAID (Striped, Raid-0) of five or six drives. I used a SATA dock to connect the 2.5” SSD SATA drives from the Cinedecks. Three G-Tech G-RAID 4TB drives connected over ESATA were used for redundant backup and immediate delivery to the editor following the shoot.

After downloading the media, I used Firstlight, an application in Cineform’s Neo3D software package to review the footage. This allowed me to have instant control over active metadata – color correction, reframing, resizing, convergence, and keystone correction during playback.

I used a 46” JVC XPOL® Passive 3D TV as the 3D playback monitor, attached over a DVI-to-HDMI cable as a secondary computer monitor. The JVC is capable of interpreting multiple types of 3D signal. In this case, I chose to use side-by-side mode for fullscreen playback out of Firstlight. This TV was great. Because it uses alternating-line circular polarization, there is no need for active shutter glasses, and no need for external sync. This means that any side-by-side image I generated, whether it was from Firstlight or from Photoshop, could be played in 3D for everyone to view. We had a set of 10-15 RealD circular polarized passive glasses so clients, director, producers, camera team, PA’s, anybody could watch the footage and get excited about it.

In Part 3, Tashi will discuss post workflow

Google TV – Faster, Cheaper, Easier and loaded with advertising

“Google’s interactive TV platform might lower costs and improve targeting of ad spots” says Bloomberg Businessweek

“Google is going to revolutionize the way we use media,” says Shattuck Groome, president of New York ad agency Gotham Direct Interactive”

While “free” is meant to be a very good price, you could argue that the clutter and intrusiveness of hidden pop-ups and links to advertisers makes for a very annoying experience on the web and soon-to-be on your TV set, as users are “re-directed” towards a product or brand.  On the plus side, it does level the playing field by lowering advertising costs and targeting customers and matching them with viewer interest and brands.  The hegemony that companies like Proctor and Gamble and Pepsico have enjoyed on the regular nets may be ending soon.

3D Stereoscopic Production Examined – Pt.1

Here’s the latest from Tashi Trieu:

This overview will provide a technical breakdown of the production and post-production processes used for a low-budget stereoscopic 3D commercial. The details of the commercial itself are still confidential. This will be a discussion of the technical side only.

I served as the Digital Imaging Technician and 3D Stereo Playback engineer during production and will be serving as the Digital Colorist during on-line finishing.  As the DIT, I was responsible for media management and technical support and operation of the camera’s digital systems.  I also ran 3D playback for clients, producers, and the director of photography in addition to serving as quality control. If there was an issue in quality of the 3D image, it would be my job to report that and advise the director of photography on the situation.

SI 2K Mini  vs. SI 2K Camera Body


Cameras: Hardware and Software

The production company sought to provide a low-cost method of producing this commercial. The commercial is targeted to premiere before 3D films in theaters internationally. Content is to be delivered for 3D television broadcast, Blu-ray, and 3D for web. 2D versions will also be mastered.


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