3D documentary filmmaking – choosing a camera


Three months after we started sourcing gear for rent and sale for our first 3D shoot – for the explosive demolition series Blowdown – we’ve narrowed down a camera … we think.

The final showdown was between the SI-2K and the Iconix.

Before I go into which one we chose and why, it’s probably useful to explain exactly what we need them for.

This episode of Blowdown requires more than twenty 3D cameras:

– Two to film actuality and main story beats.

Our camera needs for this:

1. “A” camera system. Portable and operated by one person. This is when suppliers told us – “can’t be done.”

2. “B” camera Rig. As above – but for close-ups.

-18+ POV and kill cams capturing large and small scale on-site action and the actual implosions – which in the case of the Fonte Nova stadium will be many.

I’ve inserted screen grabs of the types of POVs we capture:

At the base of a rocket tower implosion, Cape Canaveral.

To get the dynamic idea of what these kill cams, mounted to the structures Controlled Demolition implodes, have to stand up to, watch them in action.


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.