Global 3D conversion pipeline


Prime Focus 3D’s head of production Matthew Bristowe and senior stereographer Richard Baker were invited to the recent Durban FilmMart (DFM) to extend links with South Africa and initiate dialogue on 3D conversion.

“With the release of Avatar the world entered a new era of stereoscopic 3D story telling,’ Bristowe told Screen Africa. “3D brought people back into the cinemas and it is definitely here to stay. Directors such as Martin Scorsese (The Departed), Michael Bay (Transformers) and Wim Wenders (Wings of Desire) have all embraced 3D.’
During DFM the Prime Focus delegation, which was sponsored by Durban’s COA Group and Microsoft, made a 3D presentation at Sun Coast Nu Metro.

Prime Focus’ studios in North America, Europe and India are connected by a proprietary global digital pipeline which allows its artists across the world to collaborate on projects. The company recently provided 3D conversion services for the final installment of the Harry Potter franchise, as well as on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Green Lantern and The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It has also just delivered Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace and has four big studio films, as well as a Bollywood production, booked for this year.
Bristowe talked about the advantages of 3D conversion.

“Originating films in 3D is a complicated and costly exercise as it requires twin cameras and lenses that have to be perfectly aligned for every single shot and camera movement. 3D conversion cuts the 3D budget by about 30% as 2D footage is converted to 3D during the post-production phase, though we also advocate a hybrid approach, using our conversion techniques to complement and supplement natively captured footage.’
Baker explained that the Prime Focus’ 3D conversion process involves taking mono images shot on 2D and creating “a second eye’ through depth sculpting (the elements of a shot are separated into layers) and the use of the company’s unique proprietary software, View-D™.

Prime Focus’ 3D journey began when the facility was asked by director James Cameron to work on some of the 3D elements in Avatar, and the company now has multi-title deals in place with studios including Warner Bros.


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