3D Blog Post (3): Acting, Shooting and Editing in 3D

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Background:

On December 8th 2012 we held a 3D event in partnership with the BFI Future Film and BoldFace Productions called Visionaries:Youth in 3D. We were lucky to secure world class 3D experts for a panel discussion that followed the screening of TT3D. As a result of this event Alison Wright, director of VividEcho was invited to be a panellist at the first 3D Creative Summit at the British Film Institute  (www.3dcreativesummit.com). This is the final in the trilogy of our 3D blog posts that have been transcribed from the event . The panellists were (in alphabetical order):

Adam May: Head of Production for Vision3 who has worked on Jack The Giant Slayer, BBC’s Mr Stink, Horrid Henry, Pirates of the Caribbean and Flying Monsters with David Attenborough. Adam is also current Co-Chair of the UK Committee of the International 3D Society.

Jacquie Pepall: freelance Writer, Director, Producer and founder of Great Lake Films. She has created content in 2D and 3D across a wide range of genres. In 2009, Jacquie managed the launch of Sky’s dedicated 3D channel, acting as a Producer, Director, and/or Production Consultant on over 15 hours of 3D programming. Credits include 3D Producer for David Attenborough’s natural history series, Kingdom of Plants 3D.

Adam Sculthorp: Creative Director and Senior Stereographer for Dimension Media which he launched in 2010. In 2009 Adam became closely involved with the development and subsequent launch of the Sky 3D channel in the UK. His recent credits include Ridley Scott’s latest feature film, Prometheus and stereoscopic consultant on Atlantic Production’s Kew 3D.

Host: Iyare Igiehon

AUDIENCE QUESTION: In terms of acting is there anything that we need to be aware of?

HOST: How does it change for the performers being shot in 3D?

JAQUIE PEPALL: I think a good performance is a good performance. One of the things I really noticed in TT3D was the close-ups and often when you shoot 3D people tend to shy away from close-ups because you don’t get as much depth in a close-up but there were great close-ups in TT3D of one of the sponsors. And they were great, you really saw the lines in his face and they were fantastic so I think if you are directing actors get the character right. Do everything that you would normally do as a director but in terms of the way that you shoot the scene that could change because of 3D.

ADAM MAY: I think 3D allows a performance to be carried across even further. Touching on that thing about non-verbal communication in 3D allows an actor’s performance to be better interpreted by an audience because you have that sense of texture and depth. In close-ups, I would say you have more depth in close-ups naturally speaking because your eyes can see better over a smaller area and things like facial hair and cracks of skin are sensational in 3D. This is my major gripe with Transformers. All the attention was put on the action sequences and not on the drama. They could have flipped it around and the performances could have been really enhanced by really going to town with 3D, whereas a robot flying through a building at speeds you can’t really pick up on doesn’t give you anything.

ADAM SCULTHORP: I have done a lot of translating stage shows into 3D so Carmen the opera, Madam Butterfly the opera and Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake. Mathew Bourne’s Swan Lake in particular got some really amazing reviews from people that you would never expect to be reviewing 3D, from theatre reviewers. For them, it was the way that I was using the space. I wasn’t trying to chase the action I was allowing the dancer to move within the space. So there are ways that 3D can be used to enhance the way as a director you are using that space.

HOST: On the face of it 3D seems to lend itself to theatrical stuff really well because it happens in a three dimensional space so you are allowing more people to experience it.

ADAM SCULTHORP: It is shooting it right. I have seen some stage stuff that has not been shot particularly well all from the back of the theatre and you don’t get that sense of realism from being there. Whereas with the three performances I just mentioned our cameras were on the stage. We were trying to give the audience that feeling that they were almost hovering on stage with the actors. That, for somebody who is an avid theatre goer is an opportunity you would never get.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: I was just wondering how working in 3D changes the editing process or even if it does change it?

ADAM MAY: The key thing is the story and how 3D builds into that and I don’t think any of us are going out of our way to compromise editing from a narrative, creative point of view by throwing 3D in there. There are definitely theories, and it is relevant in certain circumstances with drama, that editing slower in 3D allows the audience to see more information. But what we say is to reverse that side of things and if it is a chase sequence, if you are cutting very fast with intentional reason then we’ll dial back the 3D and let the editing become the storytelling device in that situation rather than trying to pull against it. From a technical point of view I think that when 3D first came around there were ideas about off-line editing having to be in 3D and off-line editors will have the strain, it doesn’t work like that at all. Avid has a plug-in that outputs in 3D, most offline editors edit as they normally would in 2D and review as they go.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: When you are making a 3D film and composing a 3D shot to what extent does it make the focus pullers job hard? You seem to have made a decision about where the thing you are interested in is in the scene. I saw a lot of lovely shots in TT3D where the thing moved in to focus but can you still have a focus pull or is it just a nightmare?

ADAM SCULTHORP: You are looking at two different aspects of the way that you are composing a shot. You have got your 2D composition, your focus pull and the reason you would use that in 2D. Then there is your composition of depth in 3D. One of the great things, one of the reasons we can actually watch 3D is that those two things are not linked. You talk to some people and they will keep the use of the focus pull linked to the stereo depth whereas I un-link those and use them independently.

HOST: So you still need a focus puller?

ADAM SCULTHORP: You still need a focus puller. The reason that you do a focus pull is not necessarily the reason why I would change the stereo depth. You can do some really clever stuff. You can reverse the two, you can play around with the use of space and use a focus pull to emphasise it. They are hand-in-hand. They are entwined but not necessarily locked together.

ADAM MAY: Just picking up on Adam’s point about using space it can obviously be used to create a sense of realism of what we naturally see but it can also be used in more subtle narrative ways. An example is Chris (stereographer on Jack the Giant Slayer) who was trying to get the giants point of view so he basically changed the depth and the perception of the depth so you get a sense of the giant’s field of vision being quite different to the human’s field of vision. That is an example of it being used quite cleverly in a narrative sense.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: Do you have any restrictions in 2D that you are able to achieve in 3D.JAQUIE PEPALL: Sometimes landscapes and things. When you have got a really beautiful view and you feel that 2D is not doing it justice. Sometimes I find once you shoot it in 3D and look at it in 3D it makes the scene so much more beautiful. Or time-lapses of clouds look phenomenal in 3D. There are certain things that just make it more exciting.

ADAM SCULTHORP: You can use hyper-stereo. For us, we have a fixed amount of 3D that we can see. In the illusion of 3D that we are creating on screen we can play around with that and put depth, in stereo depth terms, into a scene that as human beings we would never see. That is a really nice technique and using it as a tool to engage a viewer and giving them that experience. Kingdom of Plants with time-lapse and macros – these are 3D events in nature that we would never naturally see.

We train people to make 3D content, if you are interested please drop me a line rachael@vividecho.co.uk

 

 

 

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