Magic Journey to Africa
"Magic Journey to Africa" is our second coproduction with the Barcelona-based Orbita Max. We had previously worked together on the first Spanish IMAX production -- a film called "The Mystery of the Nile." This time, we provided post-production, as well as 3D production consulting.
My father, Jose Maria Aragones, Technical Director and Co-producer for "Magic Journey", and founder of Apuntolapospo has a long list of accomplishments, including a first 3D production in 1992. In fact, my first job was as a member of the production crew with my father on this project, a 20-minute promotional piece for the Frankfort Motor Show.
LENSES AND RIGS
As in other stereoscopic productions, we went over a number of lenses to find matched pairs. We used Zeiss Ultra Prime spherical lenses from Servicevision, a rental company in Barcelona. The film was shot in 35mm full aperture. The aspect ratio was 4:3 for IMAX, and 1.85 for digital cinema. All shots were composed with the two versions in mind. There was a lot of repositioning in post, but it was really quite straightforward.
Director Jordi Llompart on camera.
We ran many camera tests to decide which was the best format to film in. After using ARRI D-21, Genesis, and the RED One, we finally decided that 35 mm, scanning as 4K, would be the best format suited for the hot conditions in the Namib Desert and the extreme locations to which we were going.
Shooting in Namibia.
We went with two stereo rigs, one over-under mirror rig, and a side-by-side rig, using the ARRI 235 and 435 for the two sets of cameras in Africa. We also had helicopter shots, and later, in Barcelona, we had other rigs. The reason for this was very clear to us. Depending on the kind of shot, you need different interaxials. If I wanted to shoot a close-up, and I wanted to bring the camera close to the actor, I needed to diminish the interaxial distance. This called for a mirror rig.
Of course, in 3D IMAX we will not go in close, because of the huge magnification that it creates. In IMAX, when we say close-up, it's almost a medium shot in traditional cinematography.
The problem with the side-by-side rigs is that they are limited by the physical space that you can have between the cameras. If you are using Silicon Imaging cameras, for example, you can get them very close together, but this was not our case. With the ARRI 235, you cannot get the cameras closer than 132mm without the two camera bodies touching each other. This is why we used it for the second unit, where it was free to go to other locations to shoot landscapes and the like.