Tag Archives: 3d

Is this the future of 3D?

I am a big fan of 3D. I designed a a 3D rig, so I must be an enthusiast! However even I don’t believe that 3D is the future for all video production, but I do believe it is here to stay. I think it is for special event television, special features, movies and specialist presentations. I have long said that many of these non-movie productions will end up in the cinema. This has been born out by the release of a 3D film about the Isle of man TT races. TT3D, Closer to the edge, released just 4 days ago has shot straight into the top 10 of the UK box office charts making it one of the most successful documentary releases in UK cinema history.

Two PMW-F3’s used on 3D Cinema Commercial.

Rig-on-slider-200x300 Two PMW-F3's used on 3D Cinema Commercial.
Alister Managing the F3's on a Hurricane Rig.

I got back late last night from a big budget cinema commercial shoot where I was working with a pair of F3’s on a Hurricane Rig. All went very well and the DoP, (Denzil Armour-Brown)  was impressed by the F3’s. The overall light weight of the complete system really helped us when moving from position to position. We used a ton of Chapman grip equipment including sliders and dolly’s. I was responsible for the 3D rig, camera setup and alignment as well as assisting the DoP.
We shot using 2 sets of band new Zeiss Ultra’s, mainly at 32mm and 50mm (very nice) as well as some older and very heavy Arri 100mm macro primes. Our only small issue was that the follow focus motors were shifting the camera very slightly due to flex in the tripod base plate on the F3. You probably wouldn’t notice this at most normal focal lengths in 2D but in 3D small shifts are very obvious. So a stiffener plate for the base will be needed to prevent this (as well as general flex) or a pair of 15mm rails mounted to the top holes on the F3 body.

We were recording to a Nano3D (2 x Nano Flashes) as well as to a Mac workstation recording ProRes in the video village. The video village allowed for instant playback on 50″ 3D monitors in a blacked out tent for review and tech assessment.

It was an outdoor shoot in great weather. As well as the F3’s there was a second rig with a pair of Phanton HD Gold 35mm high speed cameras shooting 3D at 1000fps. So even thought the sun was shining brightly, many shots were done with 2 or 3 18kw lamps!!

Towards the end of day the F3 rig was tasked with shooting some blue screen and other effects shots and in effect I became 2nd unit DoP. The effects shots will be matted in to the finished commercial.
I’m under NDA so can’t talk about the subject just yet, or post any pictures that show the subject, but once the ad is released (2 weeks time!!) I’ll be able to post some grabs and more photos.

Ultimate Documentary Production workshop. (3D as well if enough interest)

alister-and-supercell-300x225 Ultimate Documentary Production workshop. (3D as well if enough interest)
Alister Shooting a Supercell Thunderstorm

I’m planning on running a Documentary production workshop and 3D workshop based on a Storm Chasing trip to the USA from the 4th to the 12th of June. The trip would be an excellent chance to really put your documentary skills in to practice and learn more about your cameras and workflow shooting a short film about the violent weather that hits Tornado Alley every spring. We can even shoot in 3D if that’s what people are interested in. I can provide a PMW-F3, lens kit and EX1R, but hopefully you would bring your own cameras and I can teach you how to get the most out of them. depending on the weather each day there would be a classroom session or practical on location session covering everything from sound and interview techniques, to camera setup and shooting tips. Will will do a lot of timelapse, make use of cache record (if you have it) and work in some very challenging lighting situations. Each member of the group will be given different roles to play as part of the “crew” each day so that they may gain a better understanding of the difficulties of each role. At the same time the idea is that each person will also create their own personal short film about our storm chasing adventure. With luck we should see incredible thunderstorms, giant hail and maybe even a tornado or two (I’ve been storm chasing for 12 years, it’s my speciality). The cost for this comprehensive and very exciting workshop will be $1800 USD per person for a place on the course. In addition to that each student will be responsible for their overnight accommodation. Typically we will stay in hotels/motels that cost approx $100 USD per night, so you should budget for approx $800 for accommodation bringing the total to $2600. We will depart from Denver, Colorado so you will have make your own travel arrangements to/from Denver. This will be a real educational adventure. The previous trips I have run to Norway for the Northern lights, Arizona for lightning and Tornado Chasing have been great successes with many people returning for more. We will spend a lot of time on the road, visiting many parts of the Mid-West. It will be fun and you should come away with improved video skills, a great short film, and amazing stories of adventure and excitement. Please use the contact form if your interested. Places are limited.

Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4 Recorder and Monitor… Yum Yum!

Gemini-Side-229x300 Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4 Recorder and Monitor... Yum Yum!
New Convergent Design Gemini

Well here it is. I’ve known about this rather amazing device for some time, but have been under NDA. I see this as the perfect companion for Sony’s PMW-F3 and with a street price of around $6,000 it’s a bit of a bargain. It is both a 4:4:4 uncompressed recorder and a rather handy monitor (it will do 3D recording and monitoring too), all in a single unit that is no bigger than most high end HD monitors. It records to readily available, cost effective SSD’s and can even make dual recordings to both drives giving an instant backup. It records uncompressed, so you get the absolute best quality possible. If you need an alternative codec then you simply transcode to your chosen codec when you ingest the material in to the edit system. When will it be available? Well CD are hoping to start shipping at the end of July, but that may slip a little, still it should not be too long to wait. Here are some of the headlines from CD’s press kit:

“Gemini enables videographers and cinematographers to capture at the ultimate video quality, in a small, low-power, lightweight package, at a very affordable price.  Gemini features a built-in high-brightness 5.0” 800×480 24-bit LCD touch-screen for monitor and playback, and introduces an industry first – the ability to simultaneously record to two removable solid-state drives – creating instant backups; an invaluable insurance against lost footage, as well as, opening new workflow options.

Building on, but not replacing, the highly successful nanoFlash, Gemini records 10-bit uncompressed 4:4:4 / 4:2:2 video in most popular HD/2K/3G formats, including 1080p24 and 1080p50/60, with up to 16-channels of embedded audio and timecode.  Gemini has slots for two removable 1.8” solid-state drives (SSDs), enabling recording in either parallel mode (instant backup), or spanning mode (longer record times).  Sporting a lightweight milled aluminum case, Gemini is about the same size and weight as the popular SmallHD DP6 monitor, but includes Recording, Playback, Image Processing, Dual HD/3G SDI I/Os, HDMI-Out and consumer level audio I/O; while consuming only 8 to 15 watts of power.

Gemini features S-Log support, with user programmable viewing LUTs, which can be enabled selectively for either HD-SDI output.  Flexible recording options, include simultaneously recording native S-Log video to one SSD (for on-line), and the same footage with burned-in LUTs to the second SSD (for faster creation of off-line proxies and/or H.264 video for mobile devices/internet).

Gemini-With-SSDs-300x168 Convergent Design Gemini 4:4:4 Recorder and Monitor... Yum Yum!
Gemini records on to one or two SSD's

A 3D/Stereo (extra-cost) option will also be available, enabling dual-stream recording and playback in a single Gemini unit; creating the world’s smallest, lowest-power, 3D recorder available anywhere.  Gemini will record independent left/right channel files, while providing full synchronized playback of two streams as well as side-by-side, 50/50 composite, or anaglyph combinations.  Gemini can uniquely output 3D in multiple formats simultaneously (ie side-by-side and 50/50 composite), to aid in camera alignment and monitoring.”

SxSW – South by Southwest.

sxsw-beer1-e1300215130559-224x300 SxSW - South by Southwest.
3D rigs and free beer at SxSW

What a great show in a great town. I really like Austin, Texas. Its a fun town with lots of great music, even better during the SxSW music and film festival. I’m here in the Manfrotto booth doing demos of the Genus Hurricane 3D rig. We have a nice JVC passive display and both a pair of Canon XF305’s and a pair of Sony XDCAM EX’s. But the best bit is free beer. Yes thats right free beer, not on the Manfrotto booth but from 4.30 it’s happy hour at the show and many of the exhibitors do free beer and free drinks. Oh I wish they had free beer at NAB which is only 3 weeks away now. Tomorrow I leave Austin and head to Iceland for a PMW-F3 workshop. From Iceland its on the Dubai so a busy week ahead.

Got to play with the Manfrotto 509 on the booth and it is a really nice tripod head.

Genus Hurricane Rig to be sold by Manfrotto.

IMG_0450-300x224 Genus Hurricane Rig to be sold by Manfrotto.
Genus Hurricane Rig at BVE

Just an update on the progress of my light weight, modular 3D mirror rig, the Genus Hurricane Rig. In many countries, including the USA and UK the rigs will be available through Manfrotto accredited dealers. To ensure the very highest quality of service and support I am assisting Genus and Manfrotto with a global dealer training programme. In most cases dealers will already have 3D knowledge, but in order to sell the rig they must attend one of our workshops and demonstrate a good understanding of 3D and the Hurricane Rig. The rig was on show on the Canon and Manfrotto booths at the recent BVE show in London where it attracted a large amount of interest. In the UK you will be able to order rigs directly from me via the hurricane-rig.com web site. The advantage of purchasing this way is that I will be able to ensure that the rig will meet your needs and provide after sales support and training if required.

IMG_04621-223x300 Genus Hurricane Rig to be sold by Manfrotto.
A pair of hurricane rigs at Singapore Poly.

I recently spent a few days in Singapore training the lecturers at Singapore Poly to use the Hurricane Rig. The polytechnic has purchased a rig as a teaching aid for stereoscopic 3D classes. They will be using it with an EX1R and EX3 as well as a convergent design Nano3D. This makes a really good light weight and low cost system. The Nano3D will output an anaglyph output so a conventional 2D monitor can be used on set to align the rig and for monitoring. This can be a big cost saver as 3D monitors are expensive items.

Hurricane Rig Update. Available via Manfrotto.

My 3D rig will be available in many countries via Manfrotto from the 1st of March. Production has been in full swing for the last few weeks and we now have finished rigs in stock at the factory. In the UK rigs will be available from Manfrotto or from the Hurricane-Rig.com website (approx €6700 euros, £6000 GBP plus VAT, price TBC). In the USA select Manfrotto Dealers will be selling the rig for $7995 USD.

We are working on a range of add ons for the rig which include a motorisation kit that will add motorised Interaxial only, interaxial plus convergence as well as dual focus and zoom options. These will options will fit all Hurricane rigs so there is no need to wait for these options to become available. Pricing TBA, but it will be very competitive and you can pick and choose the modules that you need.

Canon XF105, using OIS to correct zoom axis shift. (3D applications)

While I was in Singapore last week I got to play with a pair of Canon’s XF105’s on a Genus Hurricane 3D rig. We were able to use the programmable axis shift function to compensate for the way the zoom lenses don’t remain centred as you change focal length. Zooming in 3D with two cameras is very hard to do because of this shift, normally requiring very expensive matched lenses. With the 105’s and and a few minutes of adjusting we were able to do synchronised zooms (using the IR remote) that retained very good tracking and accuracy. This really is quite remarkable at this price point!

JVC GS-TD1 3D camcorder launched at CES.

JVC_GS-TD1_01-300x171-150x150 JVC GS-TD1 3D camcorder launched at CES.

JVC GS-TD1 3D Camcorder

Everyone is at it! Hot on the heels of the Sony TD10 comes the JVC TD1. With such similar names and numbers this is going to get confusing fast! Anyway this is another dual stream full 1920×1080 3D camcorder with some impressive specifications. This taken from the JVC press release:

The new GS-TD1 uses two camera lenses and two 3.32 megapixel CMOS sensors – one for each lens – to capture three-dimensional images much the same way that human eyes work.  JVC’s new high-speed imaging engine simultaneously processes the two Full HD images – left and right images at 1920 x 1080i – within that single chip.  The newly developed “LR Independent Format” makes the GS-TD1 the world’s first consumer-oriented camcorder capable of 3D shooting in Full HD.  JVC’s new camcorder offers other shooting modes as well, including the widely used “Side-by-Side Format” for AVCHD (3D) and conventional AVCHD (2D) shooting.

Side by side recording is going to be very usefull for going direct to consumer TV’s or for YouTube uploads so this is a nice feature indeed. It appears to only have a 5x optical zoom in 3D compare to the Sony’s 10x, like the Sony it features image stabilisation. It’s certainly an impressive looking unit. The flip out LCD screen once again uses some kind of parallax barrier for 3D viewing without glasses. The consumer 3D market is certainly growing at a rapid rate and I’m really excited about these new cameras. Sony.. JVC.. Anyone want to lend me one for my 3D shoot in Iceland in March???

The GS-TD1 should be available in March for $1995. More details on the JVC web site: http://newsroom.jvc.com/2011/01/jvc-full-hd-3d-consumer-camcorder-is-world’s-first/