Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps Served in 3D
COW Library : Stereoscopic 3D : Benjamin von Cramon : Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps Served in 3D
Kentucky Derby Mint Juleps Served in 3D
As told by Producer/Director Benjamin von Cramon
Atlanta, GA: The same 3D technology that is creating new interest in Hollywood features is now creating attention-drawing audiences to specialty advertising. I was approached by Prenet Inc., a marketing company in Atlanta, to develop a unique branding opportunity for Woodford Reserve, the official bourbon of the Ky. Derby. Their concept was to utilize an HD video wall that displays a two minute program in 3D that does not require the audience to wear glasses.
Director Benjy von Cramon monitors the process of fire-curing the barrels for Woodford Reserve Bourbon. WR controls each step of the process from barrel manufacturing to the final bottling of their premium hand-crafted bourbon. Click to enlarge.
My company has been an early pioneer of 3D in Atlanta, so we helped develop the creative and then managed the shoot and post. As Director, I was asked to mold their message with the technical demands of stereo imaging. In the early location scouting in Lexington, Art Director Peggy Redfern and I designed a storyboard that would capture the art and detail behind the handcrafted process of creating a quality bourbon, that matches the devotion and detail of raising a champion thoroughbred. This was not a fast-paced, effects-style 3D program, but warm, beautiful cinematography that draws the audience into the whole experience, from making the wooden barrels, through the aging process, bottling, to the final pour and topping off with a mint leaf.
Director Benjy von Cramon (background) sets a crane shot as workers hand-craft the barrels in the Louisville, KY plant. The plant supervisor (L) watches the action on a 3D anaglyph monitor.
After aging in wooden barrels, Woodford Reserve Bourbon enters the final bottling process. The crew of Benjamin von Cramon Productions captures that process in 3D working in a tight 'footprint' amid the pallets of product boxes.
The marketing concept and distribution plan originated with Prenet Media. "Our goal was to reach a younger, urban demographic with cutting edge technology and linked with social media," explains Iricelis Patino, VP of Prenet. "We've created an Interactive Eco-system campaign that includes the monitor wall inside a physical three-dimensional set. The viewer will be able to interact live with the program using Facebook and other social media outlets to learn more about Woodford Reserve. Following the Derby, It's being displayed at high-traffic venues in the Soho District in New York and then other cities."
Since this was a small-crew production, I not only directed but served as DP and Stereographer and was assisted by my long-time associate Ted Hartle. "We had a lot of very tight areas in their plant to shoot in," states Hartle, "so we chose to use the SI2K cameras with Zeiss Primes and the P+S Technik Freestyle rig. We recorded to the new Cinedecks using Cineform Film Scan 2 compression. On the set we used the Panasonic 17" HD monitor and set convergence using red/cyan anaglyph glasses. That allowed us to move fairly quick and created about 20 set ups on the three day shoot."
Director/DP Benjy von Cramon sets a moving shot on the bourbon distillery floor using the P+S Technik 3D rig as Assistant Stereographer Ted Hartle (seated) checks convergence.
Close ups, such as this bourbon pour shot in 3D require extra attention that was made easier with the smaller size of the SI 2 cameras and the P+S Technik rig. Click to enlarge.
There were many physical limitations working on location in the manufacturing plants of Woodford Reserve which provided challenges to a 3D shoot. Careful planning during location scouting allowed von Cramon and his team to choose the right cameras and rigs. Click to enlarge.
I handled post production in Atlanta making the cut in FCP. You have to cut 3D in stereo to be sure you don't create dimensional jump cuts so I edited in 1080p with Zalman HD monitors, then passed the cut to Hartle for stereo mastering. We use After Effects for noise reduction and corner pinning and to create titles in Z-depth. Final color correction is very important in 3D so we turned to the DI suite at Cinefilm.
The '3D view' from the DI suite at Cinefilm in Atlanta. Art Director Peggy Redfern (L), Director Benji VonCramon, and Ted Hartle, review the final color session for Woodford Reserve Bourbon as Colorist Ron Anderson (rear) makes adjustments in Scratch.
"Even though you have matched lenses, the mirror rigs create different light paths to each lens," remarks Cinefilm Colorist Ron Anderson at the trackball console of the DI suite, "so you have to match each shot in both eyes to avoid eye strain. The Scratch system has many 3D features that allowed me to make a scene-to-scene color grade to the left eye, copy the grade to the right, and then wipe between them to match the final color. Color changes are made in full HD (or 2K) to both eyes in real time and we can play the two channels back to confirm the look and convergence in 3D on our 50' Panasonic Plasma. The color and lighting on the bourbon was gorgeous, we were all thirsty," Anderson adds with a smile.
This was the first 3D Branding experience for Prenet and with any cutting-edge process it had some technology hurdles to overcome. Working with the Auto Stereoscopic Format (so you don't have to use glasses) displaying across four separate monitors required some last minute technical corrections. There will also be other venues, like tours of the distillery, where standard large screen projection from two stereo sources with polarized glasses will show the program.
On set monitoring in 3D is crucial to quality stereography. Here Art Director Peggy Redfern (L) and Prenet VP Iri Patino, the client and project creator, confirm the depth convergence using anaglyph glasses.
But everyone is excited about the potential this medium creates to enhance specialty campaigns. To reach the new urban markets and bring attention to your message, 3D literally does help you 'stand out' from the pack.