Saturday, May 10, 2008

Stereoscopic 3-D advice for free

LinkedIn Stereoscopic 3-D Professionals Worldwide Group

Recently, I have started the 3-D Stereoscopic Professionals Worldwide LinkedIn Group: a group for professionals working in the field of stereo 3D, who also happen to be on LinkedIn. The group is growing very rapidly and already includes members from the big 3-D producers such as 3-Disney, 3-Dreamworks, 3-Digital Domain (sorry, can’t help it) and Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Beowulf 3D - Grendel's mother
Beowulf 3-D: Top-notch Stereoscopic Film Production

In the first round-e-mail I sent out, I asked the members why there is not more communication and cooperation between 3-D stereoscopic professionals and, more over, why there is no openness of information and a sharing of industry practises. It seems to me like a logical question and the desire to make the industry benefit as a whole by sharing information appears, on the surface, to be the only way to truly build a global 3-D industry. The immediate answers to this question were very positive and most group members responding agreed with my standpoint of cooperation rather than secrecy and greed towards 3-D information.

3D Stereoscopic HD camera system
Shhh, don't tell anyone: it's a 3-D camera system!

It was not all calls to arms, though, and a little reminder about the reality of the 3-D industry was given by Disney’s top 3-D man: “Unfortunately, I know a lot of 3-D gurus who have been severely punished for their generosity”.

I get contacted almost daily by people who ask for 3-D advice and I am the last person to send them away with no information, as I strongly believe in helping out those who cannot find any information out there and are unable to pay for professional help. How else can a real independent 3-D film library come into existence? But sadly it is not only people unable to pay for professional help who try to get as much 3-D information out of me as possible before they disappear into the thin air... On the upside one can sometimes get rewarded with kind words about supplying free 3-D information and of course a fantastic end product to enjoy. Last year I was contacted by a small independent animation production outset with the words: "I just found your website & I must say I really appreciate all the information you have provided on stereoscopy. I'm doing some research for a 3D film project and this just about answered all of my questions. I do have one more question though.”, and: "There seems to be little information on the world of 3D cinematography on the Internet, with the exception of your website, which has been an incredible resource. Thanks for all your help.”

3-D REvolution Productions - website with free information on stereoscopic 3D - the 3-D Revolution website

The metioned question pertained to how small an interaxial should be on a model shoot where the models would be integrated with bluescreened actors and what cameras should be used etc. The company was called Encyclopedia Pictura and half a year after the kind words and my free advice the news of Björk’s latest music video being released in 3-D reached me. Wonderful work by EP and nice & calm 3-D that never goes negative on the parallax but keeps the video in the small theatre of positive parallax, just the way Bjork loves it.

Wanderlust 3D - Bjork 3-D animation music video
Wanderlust 3-D - dark in places, even for Björk's taste

Wanderlust 3D - Bjork 3-D video
3-D composition in Bjork's 3D stereoscopic video 'Wanderlust'

Staying with indie 3-D animation, I have done very brief consulting on an independent stereoscopic animation production in the Netherlands by the name of ‘The 3-D Machine’ and the production company Ka-ching Cartoons thanked me and sent me a complimentary DVD of the final product. If you’re going to take free 3-D advice, at least thank the Stereographer. I am of the opinion that the 3-D industry can only grow when information is shared, but not even mentioning the person who helped you accomplish great 3-D is not the way to work either. That only makes for 3-D professionals shutting their mouths again and keeping the stereoscopic information to themselves in the most paranoid way possible. Regardless I am still keeping my website open for business and the information keeps on flowing freely. Maybe stupidly, but that’s 3-D belief for you.

The 3-D Machine by Ka-Ching Cartoons
'The 3-D Machine' by Ka-Ching Cartoons

By the way, you CAN also hire me for your stereo 3D music video or professional stereoscopic 3-D film or video production. Contact me.

Alexander Lentjes
3-D Revolution Productions

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