Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Exclusive Interview: UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING's Kasimir Lehto, Stereographer And 3D Supervisor

Ok guys - here's interview #2 for the lead up to release of UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING. This time I have the pleasure to speak with one of the busiest stereographers in the world right now, Kasimir Lehto. He was Lead Stereographer on THE DARKEST HOUR and now of course the latest UNDERWORLD iteration. Kasimir also directed 6 projects and was cinematographer on 12.

Kasimir is Finnish and so English is not his first language but the interview goes very well. He is the son of another filmmaker, Pekka Lehto who directed 17 projects - mainly documentaries. Entertainment definitely runs in the family.

Keep in mind that we recorded this interview i
nside a cafe so there is the typical barista background noises!

Enjoy the interview...

0:30 -
Kasimir just came off of shooting THE DARKEST HOUR (which was amazing!)
1:00 - On how he was attached to UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING. Kasimir was working with the same Director of Photography on THE DARKEST HOUR and he asked him to come with him to the project.
2:00 - On the Red Epics, workflow and 3ality Technica rigs. He loves the atom rigs as they are much smaller and designed for the smaller form factor of the Epics. Kasimir talks about how 3D equipment is getting more and more compact, fast and light, much less cabling and a lot less hassle in using it.
4:10 - On what exactly a Stereographer does for a production. Every project is a little bit different. The starting point is how adept are all the other crew in 3D (and how willing to learn and utilize 3D) - then the stereographer inserts his/her knowledge. On a daily basis, he starts with the 3D concepts within the script (creates a "depth script") and brings these ideas to the director and cinematographer for discussion. One of the biggest demands of the stereographer is to evangelize 3D within the film's departments - to build the excitement and educate on how to use it for their line of work. Stereographers are responsible for the quality of the film's 3D and must be willing to adapt to fast changes in the direction of the movie.
6:40 - Tips for aspiring filmmakers who want to be stereographers. His background is cinematography and he did films and commercials before getting into 3D. Kasimir's story is similar to mine and MarketSaw as he noted that Cameron was going to do AVATAR and that the digital screen revolution was poised to explode. He studied 3D full time to accomplish this.
8:10 - On co-founding a S3D company called Stereoscape. Back when they started the company there were not many 3D opportunities so they had to make it themselves.
8:35 - On 3D research projects where they measured the psychological and emotional impact of 3D on audiences. Kasimir learned 3D the way everybody should - on how audiences experience it. If they don't like something, they took note. When they did, the researchers jumped all over it and optimized their work for the end viewer. Further, with a differential analysis they determined how the creation of 3D differs from 2D.
10:20 - On moving from Finland to LA to find work in 3D.
11:00 - Potentially supervising the post production 3D for UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING.
11:40 - On using the 3ality Technica 3D rigs.
12:25 - Setting up shots in 3D with 3ality's Stereoscopic Image Processor. The SIP is an intelligent and image pair optimizing tool to assist filmmakers in real time and in all stages of production.
13:35 - On whether UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING will break the screen, rely on depth alone or a mixture of the two. He is mixing the effects - there will be some objects coming out to the audience, but depth will be there as well for full immersion.
17:10 - On the learning curve on using the Red Epics.
17:40 - On setting up 3D continuity. Keeping depth to a minimum for dramatic shots - closeup of the eyes and faces so that the audience is paying attention to that instead of how much a character's nose is coming out at them! Always reinforcing what the directors and DP are trying to achieve with their lens choices and set up.

Thank you very much Kasimir for your time and expertise! Looking forward to talking again very soon and keeping up to speed with your next project. Again, thanks to Sony Screen Gems for this opportunity and in particular Gloria Davies.

Oh and I had some lengthy discussions with actor Michael Ealy (2nd photo) who is a tremendous basketball fan, however his choice in team leaves much to be desired! Sorry Michael. :-)

Stay tuned for more interview surprises coming up! UNDERWORLD: AWAKENING opens January 20.

Contact Me

Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

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