Archive for the ‘Editing’ Category

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

We knew it would come to this…video editing on your iPhone!

A First Look at video editing for the iPhone

I can barely manage an editing session on my laptop.  Imagine my chagrin when   the client hands me the phone and asks to trim a few frames and add a new background and titles to the timeline.

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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FCP vs. Avid – One veteran editor checks out

Edgar Burcksen, A.C.E. provides insight on why he will no longer be editing projects on Final Cut Pro.

The fine people in Tewkesbury appear to have gotten their heads out of the sand as witnessed by the above demonstration at NAB 2010 in support of Avid v.5 (release timed for later this year).

UPDATE: 5.8.10

The firestorm continues in the blogosphere and one wonders if Avid has furnished some mu$cle here to bash the opponent. I’m not one for conspiracy theories, but hey, just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they are not out to get you or as Rodney King might ask: “Can’t we all just get along?”


Dede Allen, an extraordinary editor

The first woman to take sole editing credit on a Hollywood feature.

She was Arthur Penn’s editor on six films including Bonnie & Clyde and Little Big Man. More recently she cut the The Breakfast Club, Henry & June and The Milagro Beanfield War. In the A.C.E. documentary, The Cutting Edge – Magic of Film Editing, she graciously credits her assistant Jerry Greenberg for the spectacular and disturbing final shootout of Bonnie & Clyde. “He simply put it together and I tightened it up, making very few changes”.

Dede Allen’s imdb credits here

The Shark is back! Lightworks goes open source reports that EditShare bought the company and are rolling it out again.  I have fond memories of this pioneer N.L.E. that was developed by three blokes in a garage in England and went on to capture the hearts and minds of Hollywood film editors.  This was my first experience with digital editing (1993) and despite crashing a lot,  the original interface always seemed pretty intuitive alongside the “KEM style” controller. Shortly thereafter Tektronix bought the system and promptly drove it into the ground. Soon Avid became the “last man standing” and the fine folks of Tewkesbury stopped answering the telephone.

3D Digital Summit Day 1

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?

Morning Session

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.

3D Conversion

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.

CEO Howard Stringer bets the farm on Sony 3D

Sony has won and lost a few format wars, but thankfully they prevailed with Blu-Ray, and with the disks added capacity, they may just be the ticket when it comes to distributing 3D content.

In a recent Wired Magazine article:

“No other company seems to be staking as much of its future on the belief that an added dimension will convince millions of consumers to swap out their home entertainment components — which many just recently upgraded to hi-def.”

NAB here we come

Despite being a tech-head for all these years, I have resisted ever attending the NAB Conference in Las Vegas.  My main excuse has always been that it lands right in the middle of pilot season which traditionally is a very busy time for me.  For the last few years I have been working on my teaching credentials and leaving in the middle of the semester always seemed like an iffy proposition.

The real reason is, I start to get very anxious around all this new technology, amidst an army of strangers, in the barn-like convention center.  A form of vertigo begins to take over, and I am soon ready to flee.

This year Dodge College has generously offered to pay my way for the 2 day Digital Summit to be held as part of the convention.  We currently have a mandate which is to grasp all things related to 3D and employ them both in our facilities and in our pedagogy.  So this is a crash course for me and my colleagues and I hope to share as much of the wisdom as I can glean along the way.

In the meantime I have ordered a raft of books from Amazon and will be doing as much research as I can handle and will share my notes with you. And if you see me in Las Vegas breathing into a paper bag, it’s because it’s just so damn exciting.

-Scott Arundale

It’s a Brave New World!

We are pleased to announce the launch of a new blog dedicated to all things related to digital filmmaking.  The primary goal is to explore new and emerging methods of acquisition, editing and distribution of filmed entertainment. Topics to be discussed will be cameras, lighting, digital imaging, media management, editing and manipulation, motion graphics, sound and music, playback and display systems, mobile computing, and last but not least all things related to 3D production and consumption.

We are hoping along the way to enlist some help from my friends and colleagues and get their input in areas that will fill the knowledge gap.  I admit that I am not an expert in all of these areas. I bring to the table 25 years of film, tape and non-linear editing experience, and as you will see, I am particularly fascinated in the evolution of film and digital technology and how it has affected storytelling.

The genesis of this blog came from two recent developments in my career.  One is my desire to write a book on the topic of digital cinema.  The other is my latest assignment as member of a 3D Task Force at Dodge College of Film and Media Arts which is part of Chapman University located in Orange, California.  I recently joined the faculty and teach Editing and DI Workflow as well as Location Filmmaking.

I’ve enlisted my colleague, Tashi Trieu to join me in this endeavor and share his wisdom and experiences in the front line of shooting and coloring film.

When our Dean Bob Bassett announced that Dodge College would be converting the Folino Theater to 3D and we would begin exploring ways to support and teach 3D filmmaking, I leapt at the opportunity to participate.  Like many of my colleagues, I find the whole world of 3D to be somewhat mysterious and perhaps uncharted territory. In the course of my research, I will use this discussion page as a repository for ideas and information and I would like to invite you all in and encourage as much discussion and input as possible.

Scott Arundale

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About 3D & Digital Cinema

If you are a tech head, cinema-phile, movie geek or digital imaging consultant, then we'd like to hear from you. Join us in our quest to explore all things digital and beyond. Of particular interest is how a product or new technology can be deployed and impacts storytelling. It may be something that effects how we download and enjoy filmed entertainment. It may pertain to how primary and secondary color grading will enhance a certain tale. The most important thing is that you are in the driver's seat as far as what you watch and how you choose to consume it.