By Shaun D’Souza
TO411 Daily staff writer
/TO411 Daily/ — Seemingly unbeknownst to the majority of local and national media, a group of industry leaders has been gathering in Stage 8 of the Toronto Film Studios over the past week to test the capabilities of new 3D capture and post-production technology.
The project, spearheaded by Canadian cinematography veteran Bill White, is one that could have a significant impact on the film and television landscape in the very near future, as 3D technology is expected to take off within the next year given that several major motion pictures are going to be presented as 3D experiences in 2009.
According to Ken MacNeil, President of Creative Post Inc., one of the primary goals of the testing has been to try and discover the ultimate potential and limitations of 3D shooting capabilities, with regard to what current 3D post-production software can handle.
There is currently one major 3D post-production system in all of Canada (designed by Quantel) and one of the objectives of this test was to determine how to shoot this new medium in a way that is most conducive to efficient editing. The age-old adage, “Fix it in post,” is being ignored in this setting because of how much time and money can be lost if those shooting do not consider the constraints of the editing software that is currently available.
There will be significant impact on the future of commercial shoots, as any companies that are hoping to advertise during the new 3D films next year will likely hope to have their advertisements in 3D as well.
Among the partners in this venture is Rob Sim, President of Sim Video, who contributed two of his 4K Red Cameras to the test and various other pieces of equipment.
The significance of having the two cameras is that to simulate the three-dimensional experience for the viewer, the goal is to minimize the inter-ocular distance, which — in layman’s terms — is to see how close one can get the two lenses. Meanwhile Bill White was debuting a new camera that can produce a three-dimensional image by having two lenses within a single camera, while maintaining 35mm quality and HD capability.
For Sim, this venture makes sense for a variety reasons, not the least of which being that his company has been asked to look into filming 3D episodes of television series’ in the near future so whatever knowledge he can acquire from this project will only help these future endeavours.
With Kodak supplying the film stock for the tests and Deluxe’s post-production services also on board, the profile of this event is one of substantial consequence to the international film and television industry.
But maybe the most important piece of this 3D puzzle would have to be the legendary 3D cinematographer and DP, Paul Taylor, who brought his 25 years of 3D experience with him to Stage 8 all the way from Los Angeles.
His creative vision and ability to discern what works and doesn’t work in a 3D film environment is vital to the overall success of the project. Having worked on countless 3D films, television programs, and live events, Taylor brings a wealth of relevant experience to the set and the importance of his presence cannot be overstated.
When asked to describe what the primary concerns were when trying to shoot and produce 3D television, Taylor explained, “The main thing is to not hurt anyone’s eyes, and still maintain artistic vision… be immersive, yet unobtrusive.”
This remains among the biggest challenges that producers of three-dimensional content face. But with such accomplished and innovative minds working on developing this technology, it seems like a safe bet that they will be able to overcome any and all obstacles in their way.