3D Blog Post (2): Why use 3D?


The 2nd post from our transcripts of Visionaries:Youth in 3D event at the British Film Institute on December 8th 2012. This event screened TT3D and short 3D films made by young people whom we had trained. The event was a partnership between the BFI Future Film and BoldFace Productions. We were lucky to have a world class panel of 3D experts including:

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 MEMBER: Question for Adam. TT3D is a great documentary. I wanted to know at what stage did you decide to use 3D technology as I saw a huge amount of archive footage being used so I wanted to know why you decided to adopt the technology and what you thought it would bring to the story?

ADAM MAY: It sort of went through a few different evolutions. Essentially CinemaNX came to our company with the idea of 3D at its core so I think the idea for 3D was very early on. It went from strapping a 3D camera to the front of the bike and riding at 200 miles an hour to realising that the more interesting 3D stuff wasn’t at that speed where your eyes won’t be able to pick up on any depth queues anyway, but it was more about trying to get inside the minds of the riders and that sort of side of thing. With the archive footage we are duty bound to show footage that is captured in 2D. With a bigger budget they could have probably spent more time on the post conversion side of things but I think the important thing that came out of this was that it was a very small budget for an independent film that managed to use 3D quite cleverly for nowhere near what a big Hollywood budget would use. It is a mixed media. There is quite a lot of stuff where the story has to take preference to us being able to capture it properly in 3D, we certainly couldn’t get Guy to try and recreate his explosion at the end. That whole thing with the explosion is quite interesting because there was a 37 mile section of track and you have to pick at what point the crash is going to happen. Despite the fact that that Ballagarey Corner is quite well known for being a bad corner, at that particular time there was nobody on the corner. It turned out that on the way back a photographer was saying that he had some pictures and wondered if we were interested. So that led us to the point of having to post-convert that because they were just stills as he was just sitting there taking pictures. So it is definitely a mixed media and possibly a great example of how to use 3D within the context of a story.

AUDIENCE QUESTION: A question for Adam. In regards to TT3D did you think we want to make a 3D film, or was the story there and you thought this is a great film? I can understand about big Hollywood budgets, Avatar and Transformers, it makes sense because the budget is there. You said it was a small budget so was it not a thought to save the money on 3D and spend the money in others ways so maybe you would have a camera operator on every corner of the course? When was that decision made?

ADAM MAY: Well, The Isle of Man Film Fund which bankrolled the project and CinemaNX are based on the Isle of Man. The TT is the biggest thing there so inevitably they were going to make a film about that at some point. Since their conception about 12 years ago they have supported a lot of films so there was always a lot of pressure within the island for the film fund to make a TT film. Early on the main executive producer Mark Samuelson and Steve Christian made the decision to go 3D but it is quite a niche market so they could never have commanded the budgets on the world-wide side of things that would have justified pushing the budget up. I think it was definitely a discussion backwards and forwards and I am quite happy that they pushed on against the obvious budget restrictions. I guess it was as much as possible about trying to get away from doing the live coverage and instead focusing on the riders, finding five riders and really getting behind their mind-set rather than the race and who wins, as it is really about what motivates them.

AUDIENCE MEMBER: I loved TT3D and actually hadn’t heard of it before – amazing stuff! There were a lot of riders and the heart of the story was about people taking risks. My question to all three of you is what would you say are the risks that you have had to take whether it is financially or creatively to get to this point in your careers?

ADAM MAY: At all levels we are definitely being risky given that fact that it is such a new format and at any given point there is a question about whether it is going to be taken on. I think all three of us in many ways have put our careers on the line by committing to this at the point before it is mainstream. There has been quite a lot of negative press at the early stage and all of us had to really push through that with a longer term view that over time people would adopt 3D TVs. Over a longer time it’ll spread beyond just Hollywood blockbusters as more people have access to 3D and this is very much a phase before it really tips over.

HOST: So what do you think of the idea that 3D can save cinema? It is very difficult to pop into a cinema and pirate a movie in 3D.

ADAM SCULTHORP: There is that, but the saviour of cinema is a good story. That is what you see in TT3D – it is a great story. I’ll come back and just counter a little bit with the crash scene of Guy Martin. Actually when I watched it the use of the still photographs actually gave a feeling of “Oh my God what’s going on?” Whereas if you watched that here and you saw other crashes maybe the emotional attachment wouldn’t be there. 3D or not, film-making or making a TV show is about the story and that is the most crucial thing.

HOST: I think the timing of that as well, that they don’t tell you straight away what has happened to Guy, you’re sitting there thinking “Oh My God”!

JAQUIE PEPALL: One thing that the three of us talk about quite a lot is that just because it is in 3D doesn’t make it cool. I think the three of us have got a lot of ideas from people that want to make stuff that doesn’t work in 2D but only works in 3D but it can’t work like that it has to be a great story that you want to watch and then it is extra-cool in 3D.


Final 3D Blog Post from this series will be posted on Friday 29th March

3D Blog Post 3 ‘Acting, shooting and editing in 3D’

If you like 3D then come to the 3D Creative Summit on the 27th and 28th March at the BFI. Alison Wright director of VividEcho will be a panellist focusing on grassroots training. 75% student discounts still apply here


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