Mirror Rigs in the past were usually one-off affairs that were only used by the 3D production company that built them. Element Technica has established their company by making available mass produced mirror rigs for sale. The initial Quasar model is available from many rental houses and was well represented around the show floor.
For NAB, they brought their much smaller and very clever "Neutron" rig. This small wonder switches very quickly from side by side mode to beam-splitter mirror rig with a slick hinged mechanism. A predecessor rig to the Neutron was recently used on Steadicam and in tight spaces for the upcoming feature film "The Mortician". This upcoming $2 million budget indie feature confirms that with these newer rigs, you don't need to have an Avatar budget to shoot 3D.
Element Technica "Neutron" rig.
P+S Technik was the third major presence in the beam splitter arena, and they also had a small beam splitter model to show off in addition to their "Standard" that's been for sale for awhile now. The Freestyle Rig, is meant for handheld and Steadicam work, although fully loaded with two cameras and recorders, even the SI-2k Mini and recorders, it's still going to be a lot more weight than most of us have become accustomed to in even high end 2D camcorders of the last ten years. I think this rig, with its fully motorized camera positioning will also find a lot of use on tripods and dollies.
Steadicam-mounted P+S Technik Freestyle rig,
Outfitted with two Silicon Imaging SI-3D cameras, and the Cinedeck SI-3D solid-state camcorder.
The debate over whether it is better to set convergence while shooting or to shoot with cameras pointed straight out (parallel) continues unresolved. For the parallel camp, there is Screen Plane, a newcomer from Germany. They were showing two automated mirror rigs, a large one called the Production Rig, and one quite small for cameras like the SI Mini, called the Steady-Flex. Their automated rigs only work in a parallel mode, with the expectation that convergence is set downstream or in post. Part of the system is a PC or Mac-based previewing system, allowing stereographers to set convergence on set as desired.
Unlike other mirror rigs, the Screen Plane's tilt pivot is at its center of gravity, not at the bottom of the camera platform. The system will be available initially from rental houses in Europe and the US this year, and then for sale sometime after that.
The smaller automated mirror rig from Screen Plane, the "Steady-Flex," mounted with two Canon 5D Mk II DSLRs.
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