Eye strain goes with the territory when sitting in a darkened conference room and donning the RealD glasses every half hour for most of the day. But the footage was worth it! We looked at U2, Dave Matthews, NFL football, Alice in Wonderland and Clash of the Titans, as well as a Praying Mantis eating the head off a fly. Much of the material was breathtaking, but why do they have to play the music at 100+ decibels? Do they think it makes the images look better?
I’m a morning person but they managed to run out of coffee by 8:30am (ouch!) when the session was due to start. Strangely, the organizers had not anticipated such a huge turnout as many were left standing without enough chairs, but not having caffeine in the morning was a cruel hoax, courtesy of Sony and NAB.
Understanding Stereopsis and 3D Image Capture
Peter Lude’ and Steve Schklair kicked off with an illuminating and sweeping explanation of Stereopsis. We began to grasp the concepts of divergence, floating windows, edge violations,vertical alignment and the “wow” factor. We also began to appreciate the difference between side by side cameras and beam splitters.
3D programming: Lessons learned
Al Barton, Patrick Devlin (Evergreen), Thomas Edwards (Fox Technical Group) and Jason Goodman (21st Century 3D) each took turns explaining their approach to 3D. The Fox sports reel was the most annoying and in your face, but Tom brought up an interesting dilemma: where does the ever-present score box go?. Evergreen’s production of the Dave Matthews concert was most exciting to watch. Jason Goodman (Call of the Wild) has been tearing apart and re-building the Panasonic DVX cameras and creating lightweight 3D rigs which work great on the steadicam. Their 3DVX 3.5 444 2.75″ 10 Bit Uncompressed rig warrants further investigation. The Red dual camera setup looks just plain big and unwieldy.
Warren Littlefield (formerly NBC) gave the sales pitch for 3D describing when in 1987, Third Rock from the Sun created a special 3D episode as a lead-in for Gulliver’s Travels. As the “yes man” for 3D he was the used car salesman of the day, advising us that we should go out and stereo retro-fit all original content from the last 20 years. Chris Bond’s story was the most harrowing as he described the 2D/3D conversion of Clash of the Titans during which they had a mere 8 – 10 weeks working on an unlocked picture. The word on the street is the final product looks like a quickie, but the upside is Prime Focus has developed the know-how to turn around features under a tight deadline.
After lunch, Mark Schubin gave the Keynote address and reinforced many of the concepts we were introduced to earlier. He described all the 3D technologies past, present and future including the concept of POOT, which is “plain old ordinary TV” which I am starting to miss at this point. There is always something comforting about the format you know and grew up with.
A Case for Quality in Production and Post-Production
Buzz Hays (Sony Technology Center) talked about the importance of education and getting the D.P.’s. Directors, Game Developers and Editors on board. Based on their credits, Sony is clearly an industry leader in 3D and I look forward to dragging my students through their learning center.
After the Capture – What other Tools Exist?
Matthew DeJohn (In Three) described Dimensionalization as the patented process created by his company for 3D conversion. By this time, my eyes are hurting and every demo reel seems to feature converted and original 3D material and quite frankly, I am having trouble telling the difference.
So now it is time to quote, Jeffrey Katzenberg:
“All 3D is not created equal. It is first and foremost a very, very powerful creative storytelling tool”.
Stereography and Storytelling
I started reading the Bernard Mendiburu book, this morning entitled 3D Movie Making and I my review will post shortly. I enjoyed his rather flip examination of the creative process. Chuck Comisky (Avatar) is clearly a 3D god and lives and breathes this stuff 24/7. Phil Streather’s (PLF) reel was gorgeous but uneven. The bug footage was startling. Clearly you can shove a 3D camera into a macro nature scene and still achieve great results. By the time Phil, the indie filmmaker got up to speak, it was the end of the session. I was spent and so was most of the audience. The scene he showed with the clown in the elevator was painful to watch but this guy is someone we should keep our eye on. When micro budget filmmakers post their 3D films on youtube, I think this is a game changer.