This past week I had the pleasure working on the Pilot shoot for The Red Show (3D), a quality children’s television show that possesses a strong foundation in morals and positive learning experiences. It was shot at Pyman Studios where John Reeve was the lead Stereographer and I took the role Second Unit Stereography. Alan Lennox, 3D Broadcast Specialist, took the role of Director of Photography as he possess a strong background in cinematography.
The Production was a multi cam shoot with a total of three cameras. The A-Camera was shot with the SI-2K cameras using 1-Beyond Wranglers as the capture devices. They were placed in a Quasar Mirror Rig, which allowed for the Interaxial and Convergence to be pulled remotely using preston motors.
The 2nd and 3rd angle cameras (used for close ups and cutaways) were Panasonic AG 3DA1’s. They provided good 3D but were limited in their flexibility as they have a permanent Inter-Axial (also incorrectly referred to as an Inter Ocular) of 60mm, which was only ideal when we shot at a distance of 8 to 10 feet because of our pre-conceived Depth Budget (Maximum Negative & Positive Parallax).
As a Stereographer, it is much preferred to have an adjustable Inter-Axial, as it allows for a much more diverse range of camera placements. The benefit of shooting with the Panasonic cameras is that there are virtually no misalignment issues and the cameras white balance and exposure readings are identical, making the post production workflow much faster.
We used Cineform Neo 3D to encode the Panasonic MTS files into muxed Cineform 3D files (both left and right camera files wrapped into one QuickTime with multiple 3D output options). The Si-2k Camera records to this type of Quicktime file natively and thus skips the need to re-conform the files.
John Reeve and I spoke throughout the process on a shot to shot basis communicating the Negative Parallax (objects that appear in front of the screen plane) and Positive Parallax (objects that appear behind the screen plane) values and their percentages so that all 3 cameras had similar Depth Budgets (total parallax sum between the negative and positive Z-Values). We determine the parallax values by measuring the physical separation between the left and right images on our monitors. The width of that separation in millimeters is then compared to the overall width of the screen and a total percent is produced.
Generally speaking, if the subject is placed in a similar area of parallax and the overall scene possesses a similar Depth Budget then they will cut together and it will be easier for the audience to follow the cuts between the scenes. This isn’t rule to base all shots and depth budgets upon, but can be a simple guideline at times. The photo above shows the use of an on screen grid to measure the parallax more accurately. Dashwood Cinema Solutions has a live monitoring software that will allow for operators to see this separation whenever needed.
The Director of The Red Show was Wayne Moss, who was a creative catalyst for one of my childhood favourites, Fraggle Rock. He gave us a great deal of freedom with our craft and allowed up to pursue ideal 3D accordingly. The executive producer is Jack Lenz