3D equipment hunt – the shortest shortlist

With Parallax Film’s first 3D shoot in Brazil less than a month away I’m twitching to nail down gear.

Our stereographer and a producer have spent the last few weeks researching and compiling a list of camera and equipment options that may work for Blowdown, the explosive demolition show we’re shooting.

The results are in, and the good news is, in fact, also the bad news – the list is even shorter than I anticipated.

I didn’t expect to find much – now the team’s confirmed my fears that there is absolutely nothing out there for the size we need that meets current broadcast specs.

Even the Panasonic and Sony’s mechanic guts are using older technology – and the compression will not meet the strident broadcast requirements – so that means even if they arrive on shelves today, we can’t use them. (There are options to bring up the bit-rate, but that presents its own suite of problems – more on that later.)

So this coming week we’re looking at the only games in town (well, actually out of town … all hail priority shipping) – Iconix and SI-2Ks – for a side-by-side configuration.

The list of accessories is extensive to make these work – we’re gathering what we think we need, and I’m sure we’ll require more – I’ll post the final manifest once we figure it out.

I’ll also continue to share all the other tech/spec/how-to trials of our mission: impossible as we slog through them – next step, the Iconix SI-2K showdown.

From 2D to 3D – converting stock VFX

It’s funny how whenever one feels like they are going in circles – one probably is.

As we prepare for our first 3D shoot, we’re feeling stereoscopic frustration because we keep hearing – “you can’t get there from here.”

I decided it was time to break the loop … by tapping our library of documentary material and our ambitious compositor.

We don’t have any footage shot in 3D, but we do have an extensive collection of 2D VFX shots from previous shows.

So as the rest of the team hunted for equipment, Jakub Kuczynski forged ahead and tried to add a third dimension to this material using After Effects.

His visual stock: cinematic shots from Blowdown and Ancient Megastructures -not CGIs but VFX constructed with plate shots – with live action or green screen elements.

The outcome – our first taste of 3D success … Parallax in stereoscopy.

Here’s a screen grab from Jakub’s demo –  converted VFX material from the http://successessay.co.uk/, a stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana that Controlled Demolition Inc. imploded and we delivered in 2D:

But as I absorb our visual milestone I’m reminded that our VFX are only window dressing for the actual meat of the story.

If we can’t get the story down, the window dressing will only serve to draw attention to the painfully empty house it hangs in.

Can we conjure the equipment we need to capture interesting and compelling 3D doc footage in the chaos of a run-and-gun industrial environment?