The big hurdle that we needed to get over for these MNet commercials was to establish what the parameters were that would make for successful 3D.
The CG foreground elements were to be provided by animation experts BlackGinger and Director Ree Treweek (Shy the Sun). VFX Supervisor Hilton Trevis (BlackGinger) and Director Jannes Hendrickz (Shy the Sun) supervised the 3D stereo shoot of the backgrounds, and we allocated a full week of testing before shooting commenced.
The two parameters that we had to focus most carefully on were interocular distance and convergence. We had to determine where we wanted the pieces to appear, whether in front of the zero plane using negative parallax, or if we wanted them to go behind the screen.
This was more complicated than usual, because we were working on 14:1 scale sets. So, traditional thinking is that about 65mm is normal interocular distance, the distance between adult eyes. Divide that by 14, and it comes to about 4.5 mm IOD for the shoot. In the end, we were shooting IODs in the 2 to 3 mm range, because at 4 to 4.5, the stereoscopic effect was actually a little bit too much.
We had a number of people and all the gear in the studio to check this out as we ran the tests. We were able to play the footage after each set of shots, and see what everybody thought. As their brains tried to resolve it, some people found it uncomfortable. Some couldn't even watch.
I think that it is important to understand that it takes care to create 3D that works well.
You've got to be conservative, because 3D can be really good, but get it wrong and it can be very bad. The test phase was invaluable. We had to change the variables to get the correct interocular distances and peak convergences for each shot. We experimented until we knew the parameters to run for the shoot, and then we started laying down the actual footage.
- SIDEBAR: SHOOTING NOTES FROM DP JOHAN HORJUS
DP Johan Horjus
The M-Net job was a great challenge, and also very rewarding. My first concern was defining the area in focus. We were shooting a scale of 14:1 and then later life size action. The size of the 5D chip gave me a wider angle of view, this helped me to get wider and closer. This was very helpful when shooting with the 5D's maximum resolution.
Even on a wide lens, the focus is very intense when you are so close to objects. To avoid the possibility of exposure drift, I used Zeiss prime lenses, and taped down the focus and iris rings. I also used longer exposure times to allow me to close the iris to increase my depth of field.
In fact, between the long exposure times and the wait to transfer data to the computer, we had to be careful not to have the robot arm command the Dragon software not to move to the next frame too quickly. Like Peter, I believe that it will be of great help if the data transfer time to be faster.
The only other issue we had was minor. Once we had done our set-up and planned all our passes, the arm and camera starts its work, slowly clicking away. After one or two passes the camera will just stop and display a miscellaneous error message. We simply had to wait a bit, then start it up again.
That was it. The 5D has a great relationship between the lens and chip that produced great stills. I did not have to push the dynamic range, but from previous use, I know that its ability to do that is impressive. The 5D was great to use and I achieved great results using it.
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