Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Tech Behind MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D: Silicon Imaging and Paradise FX

**Working on some behind-the-scenes shots from MBV3D - stay tuned...

Jim here guys. Had a great opportunity to talk with Ari Presler, President of Silicon Imaging (SI) today and thought you would like to hear about some of the projects they have been working on - including MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D (MBV3D).
We also hear from some very talented folks who work with the SI equipment regularly. I have done posts previously on the RED cameras, now lets take a look at the other heavy hitter in digital 3D: SI.

The first photo on the right is of MBV3D's Howard Smith and director, Patrick Lussier operating a Si-2K 3D Mini Rig on Steadicam. You can see the portability of the rig and ability to adapt to challenging environments.

Silicon Imaging had one of its first test shoots with its new camera technology done on MUTANT CHRONICLES with Thomas Jane and Cinematographer, Geoff Boyle. It was at that time Thomas decided to develop DARK COUNTRY in 3D. You can see in SI's press release: 2K Digital Cinema Camera Streamlines Movie and HD Production where they recognize the unique capability of the SI-2K Mini and its ideal potential for shooting 3D.

"The Silicon Imaging camera is truly amazing," states Cinematographer Geoff Boyle. "The SI-2K MINI is small enough to be placed directly in a scene for point-of-view shots, used on robotic arms for model photography or incorporate two side-by-side for stereo 3-D. We used it on MUTANT CHRONICLES, a Sci-Fi feature with over 1500 visual effect shots. We shot flames and explosions using the 72fps slow motion mode and the recordings display smooth tonal gradations and natural colors. Finally, the director can immediately see full-resolution instant replays, without having to wait for film dailies or color correction."

Thomas Jane and Geoff Boyle connected with ParadiseFX (Max Penner and Tim Thomas), who were in the midst of building a 9-camera SI-2K 360 system for flight over Niagara falls. Here is a discovery Channel coverage of the shoot.

SI collaborated for several months to get our first Si-2K 3D Mini systems into the Sony Pictures / Thomas Jane production with Ron Perlman. The SI-2K steadicam rigs opened up a new way to shoot compelling 3D content with film-like results, on the move and in the scene. See release here.

“The physical size of the Silicon Imaging 3D rigs completely redefine the scope and potential of 3D cinematography," says Director of Photography Geoff Boyle. "For instance, the variable interocular rig on our MK-V-AR Steadicam weighed approximately 10lbs, and our fixed interocular version came in at a feather-light 3lbs. While most of shots had the cameras mounted in the Steadicam rig, there's really no limit to where you can mount these things. Our camera mounts are only part of the story though; where the true revolution lies is that we've now been given a visual language and stylistic choices that nobody has ever seen in a 3D movie before. Had we utilized any other camera system, there would have been nothing new to see – it would have looked like any other 3D film shot in the past 50 years in terms of the physical restraints of how or when we could move the camera. To bring a thriller car-chase movie like DARK COUNTRY to life, we simply couldn't make those compromises."

"DARK COUNTRY is a film that I wanted to express in a manner that remains true to the stylistic choices of film noir, while delivering an immersive reality and visceral experience that only the next generation of 3D cinematography could provide," says DARK COUNTRY Actor/Director Thomas Jane. "Every medium brings a life of it's own to the story-telling process, and with DARK COUNTRY, I wanted audiences to be there, to be in the car with the characters, and make the story their own with a heightened sense of physical contact never experienced before. The mobility and physical expression in each shot we were able to achieve with the Silicon Imaging camera rigs truly transformed my personal vision into a living and breathing visual reality."

The work on DARK COUNTRY, now in post, was the basis for the camera technology and techniques brought to bear for the shooting of MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D written by Todd Farmer (Jason X).

ParadiseFX built an even smaller 3D-rig for MBV3D with additional wireless controls around the SI-2K Mini. The two cameras are shooting the same scene thru a beam-Splitter. One camera is on top seeing a reflect image from the beam splitter and the second camera is looking forward. This is from the scene in the forest.

At approximately the same time as Patrick Lussier was directing MBV3D in Pittsburgh, Danny Boyle and Anthony Dod Mantle were shooting the award winning (4 Golden Globes) SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, with the same core technology, just in 2D.

The SI-2K Camera rigs and the ParadiseFX team are now on-set shooting with THE HOLE 3D with Joe "Gremlins" Dante.

The word on the street is Thomas Jane is now working with writers Todd Farmer (MBV3D) and Tim Bradstreet (Punisher) on DEVIL'S COMMANDOS 3D.

Several other SI-2K 3D are currently in production (see below) and while we can't discuss the projects yet, here are some interesting and certainly, question generating images. Looks like fun!

You have got to love it when technology and passion come together - great things happen. That's why I feel very safe in saying projects like MBV3D and THE DARK COUNTRY are going to look very stunning visually. Not only because of the people making the movie, but the passion that goes into the technology as well.

Thank you Ari for your time and in giving our readers a glimspe of what happens behind the scenes with new 3D technology. Enjoy the secret set snaps below...

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Jim Dorey
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