So How Does One Learn 3D Cinematography

Published : 27th July 2009

Vince Pace stated:


>>Just as a DP learns their craft from hundreds of shot situations, stereo creativity requires the same >>learning curve.


It seems to me that's the rub. Is there no way for one to test and learn without expensive 3D stereo two camera rigs? I know Sean Fairburn does 3D with his digital cams but is that the same as the big boy rigs? I can shoot tests with my Aaton all day long and afford it but not 3D and I know a 3D shoot is too costly to allow a rookie 3D DP to work on. Is there a special viewfinder or apparatus that allows you to see the 3D effect on location? Do you operate in 3D or through one camera only? I have so many questions I can't ask them all.
So the inevitable question arises how does one learn The Art of 3D Cinematography? Am I correct in assuming the language of 3D Cinematography is the same with the special requirements and alchemy of 3D laid on top? Obviously lens selection is very very different in 3D. Since I saw my first IMAX 3D film I've wanted to work on one. I figured having a TI calculator with Trig functions velcroed to the back of my Minolta meter wasn't exactly up my alley plus I had to go to summer school for Algebra II.

BTW Tim did Sean Phillips ever get his 3D VistaVision camera up and running?
That puppy would make seasoned hardcore VistaVision aficionado Mark Weingartner drool.


Tom McDonnell, SOC
IATSE 600
New Orleans, LA
Los Angeles, CA
818-675-1501



>>"I have so many questions I can't ask them all."


Internships are always available.
3 questions per day max

.
Vince Pace
DP LA



>>"BTW Tim did Sean Phillips ever get his 3D VistaVision camera up and running? That puppy would >>make seasoned hardcore VistaVision aficionado Mark Weingartner drool."


Yep. Marty Mueller showed a very amusing video of how to load the Gemini at GSCA Vancouver. Didn't take any longer than it would to load a couple of 435's, maybe less. I don't think they've finished all the lenses, but AFAIK it's been working practically every day since they finished the basic kit. I think Stephen Low has shot a large part of Rocky Mountain Express with it. And BTW, you can operate it from either side, just switch the viewfinder over.


For a parallel camera like the Gemini or the Solido, the main thing you've got to watch for are close objects only appearing in one eye, particularly flares. A converging rig is much more complex to operate, but these days you don't have to bring your slide rule with you - they have software. You should go over to Pace, 3ality, or Paradise and get yourself checked out on their stuff.


Vince Pace writes:


>>"3 questions per day max."


Tom, maybe you should skip Pace - I know you aren't going to be able to abide his 3-question rule, and he's one tough hombre. You can tell by the steely glint in his eye. Steve and Bernie or Max and Tim, though are puddles of mush. You can ask questions all day long and they won't mind one bit.


Tim "has a very nice slide rule somewhere around here" Sassoon
SFD vfx & creative post
Santa Monica, CA



>>Internships are always available. 3 questions per day max.


Fair enough. I'll call you Monday but withhold any questions. Do questions have to be submitted in writing with a SASE?


Goodnight...


Tom McDonnell, SOC
IATSE 600
New Orleans, LA
Los Angeles, CA
818-675-1501



Tim ... I still need to crash your place and see what you really do in the deep dark recesses of your shop. You explained it to me at dinner that night but I think I had one too many beers. As I recall it sure sounded important and I think you mentioned something about always making your tee time...


Tom McDonnell, SOC
IATSE 600
New Orleans, LA
Los Angeles, CA
818-675-1501



I believe Sean's camera is up and running...not sure how many lens choices yet...


Many paths to the kingdom, folks... several good ways to shoot 3D and even more bad ones...I am all in favor of all this stuff as long as it is still about the story... a bad story won't play no matter how good the 3D is.


Funny how everyone is all excited about marketing the immersive 3D experience while we still prefer to shoot so much material sampling at a very un-lifelike 24 fps instead of something faster and more "lifelike" .
I'm not down on 3D as such... I am intrigued by the marketing tail wagging the artistic dog again.


Mark Weingartner
VFX DP LA Based



>>Funny how everyone is all excited about marketing the immersive 3D experience while we still prefer to >>shoot so much material sampling at a very un-lifelike 24 fps instead of something faster and more >>"lifelike" .


Heretic. We're building the bonfire now...

Bob Kertesz
BlueScreen LLC
Hollywood, California



Mark H. Weingartner wrote:


>>I'm not down on 3D as such... I am intrigued by the marketing tail wagging the artistic dog again.


Mark,


The new crop of 3D features reportedly includes "Hooters 3DD".
Clearly your concerns about the artistic merit of the new crop of 3D movies are unfounded.


Greg Lowry
Scopica Inc. / Scopica 3D
Vancouver



Bob Kertesz wrote:


>> Heretic. We're building the bonfire now...


Make it big enough for two, I'm with Weingartner.
Mark Smith
DP NYC



How about only having one eye like Andre De Toth , didn’t he make the best 3D movies in the 50s ?


John Holland ,
Lighting Cameraman , London.



If cost is the problem, you can use a nuview adapter on a cheap handicam to see some 3d stuff.
http://www.stereo3d.com/nuview.htm#NuView


Daniel "Chewie" Sanchis
Editor
Brazil - SP



With a dash of humility a chapter of instruction on 3D filming can be found on pages 386 - 398 of my 'Hands-on Manual' for Cinematographers.
I do not do not pretend to understand it all myself ... it was written for me by the late Charles Smith who worked with The Spottiswood brothers in the making of the series of 3D film for the Festival of Britain in 1951 and on many other 3/D productions since


David Samuelson



[greg]The new crop of 3D features reportedly includes "Hooters 3DD".
[lucas] And THAT is why I love this business. I see projects like this (even if it is a joke) and think, "somewhere, there was a pitch meeting for this project, and somebody stood up and said, 'GENIUS! Let's do it!' "
Shows that fall squarely into this category for me include:


1) Any art film including little people as a stereotyped expression of how surreal things are.
2) The current network show, "Chuck"
3) Fantasy Island.


Lucas
--------
ASSIMILATE, Inc.
LA, CA, USA


Don't laugh.

We did quite a few 3D LBE (location based entertainment) events for Iwerks Entertainment back in the mid-to-late 90's. Since there wasn't any real workflow, and the technology was changing before you could even finish a project, we did everything in stereo pairs. We've done quite a few stereo projects since then, but that isn't what this topic is about.


For real time display, we got a bunch of View-Master style Stereopticons (go ahead and Google it), and took off the front part so people could hold it up to the computer screen for testing and demo. With a little training, you could just cross your eyes and do a quick check. We later discovered a little device that you can still pick up at a good army surplus store that was used to view 3D spy photos.


The nice thing about stereo pairs is that all compositing software works with it quiet well, it is bullet-proof, it can be easily conformed to every flavor-of-the-month, stereo viewing and production system and it is available to everyone with a computer and two cell phones that shoot video.


Like Vince says, it takes a lot of trial and error, but the essential tools you need to learn are really cheap.


Scott Billups
Hollywood



A good place to start and have in the toolbox.


This site has a device similar to what Scott is talking about but in a stylish form factor. It also has Software and Drivers and syncboxes that help you with your Still shots.
http://www.pokescope.com/


B. Sean Fairburn
Digital Cinematographer



Read on:


http://www.stereoscopic.org/library/index.html
"Lux et veritas"


VIRGIL MIRANO
Topanga, CA 90290
USA



Another resource is some material written by Lenny Lipton, CTO (and Chief Stereographer) at REAL D.


It can be found at : http://www.reald-corporate.com/resources_download_whitepapers.asp for free download with full permission of the author.
In particular the book "Foundations of Stereoscopic Cinema" addresses the fundamentals of viewing and creating stereoscopic images. I think Dave Stump referred to this book in a posting prior to the creation of the CML 3D list.


Matt Cowan
Chief Scientific Officer
REAL D
Chair, SMPTE DC 28.40 Stereoscopic Digital Cinema working group



I am working with him now in Hammond Louisiana shooting 35 mm film with Fries Cameras and BL4 &2.
So old cameras and New Film Stock but in 2D. I then fly away to do a 3D shoot in south America and come back to shoot 2nd Unit again with the Fries.


What an interesting world we work in.


I really like working with David, especially his sense of humor. His long background in VFX and CGI is also very deep. He also does Circlevision as well and owns the gear to shoot it himself. Gotta get to the set 7 miles from my home in Ponchatoula


Be blessed.

B. Sean Fairburn SOC
Digital Cinematographer



I would agree about Dave Stump.

He was one of my mentors for Motion Control and VFX camera techniques when I first started out and is a tremendous resource of knowledge and experience.

Chris Dawson
VFX



After all of you math geniuses absorb Lenny Lipton's book (I reread it every six months hoping I'll absorb more of it, but alas my brain seems to reject math formulae), you'll need some practical experience. I believe the fastest way to learn the basics of stereoscopic imaging is by taking stereo still photos. Years ago I bought all of the stereo photo slide bars and adapters made by Jasper Engineering :

http://www.stereoscopy.com/jasper/


and used them with digital and 35mm still cameras. I even experimented with a pair of consumer handicams on the Jasper slide bars which are very well made and reasonably priced. It's an inexpensive way to learn. It's also fun. I still use the Jasper products sometimes for a form of pre-viz.


There are probably versions of these products from other manufacturers, but I haven't looked.


There are, of course, purpose-built stereo still cameras of various vintages that are easy to find with a Google search. Most provide limited interaxial and convergence control. That's why I prefer the flexibility of the Jasper products.


My 3 cents ... one for each D.
Greg Lowry
Scopica Inc. / Scopica 3D
Vancouver




 

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