Straggling video from yesterday’s post finally live … stereographer Sean White on the mission to rig a 3D camera system portable enough to shoot the prep and implosion of a condemned sports stadium in Salvador, Brazil for the explosive demolition series Blowdown:
The great lens showdown is over: Meuser Optiks it is. After an intense push to After an intense push to choose lenses for our A cam system so we can shoot our first 3D documentary, these German lenses – 3.4 mm, designed for a 1/3-inch CCD sensor, and HD capable – were the ones that made the cut.
They work with our Iconix 1/3-inch sensors, and the interaxial distance can be set close enough to allow us to fil 1 ½ -2 metres away from our subject.
Another to follow ASAP on why the system should work to shoot the prep and implosion of a condemned sports stadium in Salvador, Brazil for the explosive demolition series Blowdown – YouTube’s fighting me.
And it’s almost time for the ultimate showdown: pitting three different models against each other, head to head … to head.
As I’ve explained, the winning candidate will ideally work with our Iconix 1/3-inch sensors, capture in HD, and allow us to film anywhere from 1 ½ -2 metres away from our subject to as far out as we want to go.
Easier said than done.
The Schneider Cinegon 5.3 mm lenses we ordered from New York are meant for a 1/3-inch sensor, but they’re not designed to shoot in HD, so I suspect the quality will be too low.
The A cam conundrum continues. We’ve been looking for new lenses since we realized the stock Fujinon models we had planned to use to shoot We’ve been looking for new lenses since we realized the stock Fujinon models we had planned to use to shoot our first 3D documentary don’t deliver the footage quality we need.
The successful candidates need to:
1) Be designed for a 1/3-inch sensor (specifically, the Iconix models we’ve purchased – lenses designed for a 2/3-inch sensor leave us with a cropped image);
2) Have HD resolution AND high-quality sharpness (the latter was what the Fujinon 2.8 mm and 4 mm lenses, generally used for security/surveillance systems, ultimately lacked);
3) Be a wide-angle lens that allows us to film 1 ½ to 2 metres away from our subject without having the background diverge – a cornerstone rule of 3D production.
Amazingly, it appears that there isn’t a lens on the market anywhere in the world that satisfies these criteria.
Well, why not just switch to a 2/3-inch sensor system, then?
Here’s the issue: we chose the 1/3-inch system because the 2/3-inch camera systems have a beefier head, which means the lenses would have to be mounted further apart.
This would increase our interaxial distance to a little further than we ideally want for these relatively close-up shots, a must for the explosive demolition series, Blowdown, that we’re going to film.
I’ve ordered the closest thing we can find – two Schneider Cinegon 5.3 mm lenses – from New York.
They’re designed specifically for a 1/3-inch sensor, and they apparently shoot better quality than the Fujinons – but they don’t shoot in HD.
We’ll have to test them and see if the footage makes the cut.
And while they’re in transit, our search for the ultimate A cam lenses carries on.
Success! We’ve tested the nano3D with our A cam system and it actually works! Looks like we’ll be able to usSuccess!
We’ve tested the nano3D with our A cam system and it actually works!
Looks like we’ll be able to use this little recorder deck to shoot our first 3D documentary later this summer.
But it did put up a bit of a fight …
Here’s how it all went down:
The nano3D comes with a trigger remote, used to start and stop recording.
We hooked it up to our sensor/lens kit and the remote didn’t work.
Likely a consequence of being one of the first pre production models released and rushed to us … but a consequence we couldn’t afford.
But the Iconix aren’t like normal video cameras – no tapes, hard drives or flash cards. They “see” the footage and then spit it out.
So where are we going to store it?
If this were a scripted production, shot in a studio or on a controlled set, a tape or digital recording deck with a large array would be the way to capture the footage at the 100 MB/S or more, the minimum bitrate we need to satisfy broadcast requirements.
But because the Fonte Nova demolition is event-based and will take place in an industrial worksite, we need a recording system that’s cordless, portable (not too heavy, cumbersome), and hearty.
I think the nano3D will satisfy these criteria for us – it’s a just-minted twin drive designed to record stereoscopically and keep everything in sync between the two cameras.
We plan to mount two Canon 7D DSLRs on the Indie Rig, a mid-sized model that’s currently being shipped to our production house.
Our stereographer, Sean White, chose the middle-of-the-road rig because he was worried that a small one wouldn’t allow for enough coverage when using a wide-angled lens, that the cameras would “see” the inside of the beam splitter box.
And a large rig was out of the question for the event-based, run-and-gun industrial-worksite shooting that’s required Blowdown, the explosive demolition series we’re going to shoot. Our stomping ground will be a huge, condemned sports stadium in Brazil!
But there’s a huge potential downside to our mid-sized, non-refundable rig – if the Canons don’t work, logistically or qualitatively, we won’t be able to mount larger, higher-calibre video cameras because the rig’s not big enough.
But it’s a gamble we have to take – as far as we can tell, there aren’t any other systems like this … no documentary has been filmed this way, using a hand-held self-contained unit.
Two is better than one, right? We’re getting a clearer idea of what it will take to shoot our inaugural 3D documentary: To effectively capture Blowdown in the third dimension we’ll need two different kinds of rigs.
For our A cams – we need a handheld, side-by-side rig, with all of these components:
– Heads – sensor – two Iconix cameras;
– “Brain box” to control Iconix cameras;
– Lenses that attach to the Iconix sensors;
– Convergent design 3D Nano-Drives;
– Interaxial sliders for the heads; and
– A handheld rail system
For our B cams, we’ve decided a beam splitter rig’s the way to go.
So we’ve ordered 3D Film Factory’s BS Indie Rig. It’s $2,900, pre-paid and no returns.
Hope it works.
I’m running up against the same issues as I had with finding a camera that may work … only amplified.
There are even fewer beam splitter rigs that would work to film Blowdown – an event-based production in an industrial work environment – than there are cameras.
Here’s why: At this point in time the 3D supply companies are geared only to feature and giant screen projects.
This means the few beam splitter rigs that might fit the bill require at least 25 kilograms of equipment – and rent for roughly $6,000 per week.
One company gave us a quote to buy, coming in around $60,000 – plus camera, monitors and record decks – plus a Steadicam operator to schlep this around.
This just won’t work for us because of the:
– Cost: above our budget – which is on the high end for documentary;
– Crew power: the Steadicam operator would be an extra body to travel, house and feed; and
– Logistics: the weight and the sheer volume are above our single operator criteria – which is maximum 20 kilos: The camera, the rig, the steadicam, battery and monitor would weigh in almost five kilos too heavy, especially when you’re running around an industrial work site, trying to capture moments where you DON’T get another take.
Even if we could get past all these obstacles, if we could find a way to use these rigs, it turns out there’s only a few exist in the world … and they’re hopelessly tied up.