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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

World Exclusive: Han Solo And Chewbacca Final Concept Artwork For STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS !!


This is the real deal folks! I received these concept art images directly from my top STAR WARS source and so you know these are absolutely legit. This is the same source that gave us the exclusive information years ago that STAR WARS VII, VIII & IX are coming and that the original cast would be involved. I have complete and absolute trust in this source, so have a look and enjoy!

These are absolutely final iterations of concept art for Episode VII.

I am loving the artwork here. Looks like a gorgeous watercolor (by hand?) with Solo's name in grey at the bottom right and Chewbacca may be a pastel or digitally done. I'll leave you guys to zoom in and do further analysis which I'm sure you will be doing, but Han Solo in particular definitely looks the hero role! And that's an awesome full length coat he's got on! Definitely has a western brown leather feel to it as opposed to his black and white fashions of the original series.

He definitely still has it! There are few actors that can carry a role like Harrison Ford and I can't wait for him to revisit this iconic character. Back behind the wheel of the Millennium Falcon!

Speaking of iconic roles, how about Solo's good ol' buddy Chewbacca? Check him out! I don't see too much in the way of difference with Chewy except for perhaps some aging going on. Maybe some of you eagle eyed Star Wars fans can spot some differences that I'm not.

Chewy does look quite pensive in the artwork. What's on his mind? Looks a little worried about something.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy the early look at these pieces of final concept art while you can. I suspect Lucasfilm will want to have these removed soon. Just a guess.

I will have more STAR WARS and AVATAR exclusives coming up soon. You KNOW I will :-) Have a happy holidays everyone! Nothing beats an early gift right?

STAR WARS EPISODE VII: THE FORCE AWAKENS will open on December 18, 2015.



Monday, December 22, 2014

Movie Review - THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES - 9.1 Stars!

Peter Jackson has done it again. He has nailed the genre and no one is better on the face of the earth in bringing such to the big screen. Furthermore Jackson is spearheading the future of cinema with his outstanding use of stereoscopic native 3D (using rigs from 3ality Technica) and High Frame Rates (48 fps).

That said, one really does have to watch all three Hobbit movies one after the other to get a sense of story and character development and so as a standalone movie I have to score those aspects much lower than I would if all three movies were one. I would wager most movie goers will have seen the previous two Hobbit movies however and the best way to see the whole story is to watch them all back to back to back.

I won't spoil the movie for those of you who haven't seen it as of yet. I will tell it is more of what you have come to expect from Peter Jackson and company. Thrilling adventure, magnificent characters and epic battles. Everything is as it should be from Howard Shore's magnificent score to the visuals to the acting performances.

I'll briefly diverge here for a moment. The sole operator of movie theaters in my area, Cineplex, has decided to not distribute THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES in HFR in my area - perhaps all of Canada - I'm checking into this. I am extremely disappointed in this decision. They have no competition here and so I have no way of checking out the HFR version of the movie. So I apologize to you that I can't comment on the HFR . I will say that judging from previous movies I have seen I believe variable frame rate will be the way of the future in that portions of movies will be shown in HFR while the remainder will toggle back to 24 fps. This way the effect will not be jarring and HFR will only be used for moments that truly will shine with the technology - such as slow motion.

So what did I love about the movie? Certainly I will elaborate in detail in the comment section below where spoilers are encouraged, but to be honest, I loved the whole thing. I have some questions that I'd like your opinions on (again in the comments) but overall I have seen the movie twice now, one in IMAX 3D and the other in AVX (7.1) 3D and it just keeps getting better.

Some scenes are literally crying out for more - or origin stories - or just singular character stories; essentially I want Jackson to continue to make Middle-earth stories, but with his own original ideas within the world. Again I can't say more here, but I will below.

So the native 3D was outstanding! A perfect blend of function (immersion and excitement) with the practical (forgetting the 3D was even there). In other words, this 3D that was shot on the world's leading native 3D rigs from 3ality Technica was perfectly executed. I saw no flaws to speak of at all. Battle scenes were amazing. Sweeping shots of cities and towns along with the jaw dropping vistas of New Zealand's 3D Middle-earth were inspired and delectable. Intimate character shots were oh so real in native 3D!

The visual effects of the movie were definitely in the genre wheelhouse of Weta Digital and they brought them to us with unreal precision. Suspension of disbelief came easy for me when the extremes were handled with care - from decisive serious scenes to comedic scenes didn't make me think at all about how it was done, but simply to live it.

70% of the initial world box office was generated from 3D ticket sales for the movie, underscoring that 3D is now part of our culture. Can't wait to see what 2015's 3D movies have in store for us!

Sadly, this will be the last trip to Tolkien's world - unless we are very lucky. But it was as if Peter Jackson himself said: "If this is to be our end, then I would have them make such an end, as to be worthy of remembrance."

If you have seen the movie already, then I invite you to read the comments below and join in on the conversation! And if you haven't seen the movie yet... WHAT? What are you waiting for? :-) Christmas? 'Cause you know, Christmas is here...

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is now playing in 3D, IMAX 3D, HFR 3D and flat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

GOLD! THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Will Open $75M+, Already At $122M+ Overseas - Over 70% Of Total From 3D Screens!


This is it guys. The last trip we will have to Middle-earth for a long time. So go out and enjoy it! Peter Jackson's THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES opened last night to massive midnight screenings and is projected to hit north of $75 million for the weekend. Add on the $122 million it has already made overseas and we're well on our way to another gigantic release for Tolkien's imagination. Well mostly Tolkien and some kind liberty by a fella known as Peter Jackson.

After seeing the first two releases in this franchise series, it really makes me wonder what Guillermo del Toro's versions would have been like. More practical effects I'm sure, but what would be the big differences? I'm hoping that perhaps some of those concepts get included in the upcoming trilogy blu-ray set for THE HOBBIT next year. They've got my money already, but that would be the icing on the cake.

Back to the matter at hand - I won't be able to see the finale until the weekend, but Tim says he's seen it already so it will be great to see his review on the movie and the native 3D. Mine will be coming forthwith! Can't wait to see all that native 3D goodness, all from the amazing 3D rigs of 3ality Technica. Bring it on!

Here's the movie's storyline:
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.

Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES is now playing in 3D, HFR 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.


Thursday, December 11, 2014

Longtime Cronenberg Producer Martin Katz Acquires Feature Length Rights For FOXED!


My good friend James Stewart has ample reason to be full of cheer (other than the holidays being here) with producer Martin Katz (MAPS TO THE STARS, COSMOPOLIS, HOTEL RWANDA) acquiring the worldwide rights to Stewart's 3D short FOXED! as he plans to spool up a feature length stop-motion animation under his production banner Prospero Pictures.

Says Katz: "Emily is a sympathetic girl and the foxes are terrifying. There's no punches pulled in the film's design, which combines stop-motion animation techniques with modern 3D."

I've known James for years now and he is always in the center of the Canadian stereoscopic 3D industry. To view his 3D short on iTunes, click here.

In the short, children are being kidnapped by foxes and forced to work in mines. The feature-length “Foxed!” will continue the story of Emily and the other children who have been kidnapped and must work together to escape and save their town.

From THR: "Stewart's short was released on iTunes in 60 countries after screening at 90 film festivals worldwide. Foxed! has won a half-dozen awards, including at the San Antonio and Garden State film festivals.

Stewart is at work on a script and will direct the Foxed! feature. His screen credits include the 3D work on Werner Herzog's Cave of Forgotten Dreams as well as a slew of cinema commercials, stop-motion and CG animation.

Katz compares the look and mood of the upcoming Foxed! feature to Tim Burton's dark fantasy animation, or Henry Selick's 2009 stop-motion film Coraline. Foxed! is set for a 2017 release, and will include a full Oculus Rift VR experience written and designed to run alongside the theatrical release."

From Variety: “As a storyteller, it’s exciting to work on multiple platforms at once,” Stewart said. “I’m excited about telling the story in an immersive environment, where the viewer is able to have a very different experience with the same story. The VR experience will be a separate, similar story, but it will obviously be nonlinear and be an active experience in 360.”

Stewart said the VR platform offers a host of new opportunities for storytellers, which he finds energizing.

“From a narrative point of view, the difference between VR and linear storytelling is very much like the difference between reading a book and having a dream,” he said. “The way we dream is very nonlinear and very abstract, and I think that is what VR is going to closely resemble, as opposed to something that starts with a beginning, middle and end. It’s definitely going to have a beginning, it’s definitely going to have a middle and it may not have an end, depending on who you are and how enthusiastic you are about it.”

So thrilled for James to have this happen for him and Geneva Film Co. I'm really looking forward to seeing more details about the full length stop-motion animation and how the story has being adapted. Keep an eye open for this one!

Trailer for the 3D Short FOXED!


Sources: THR | Variety

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Official Teaser Trailer For Dwayne Johnson's SAN ANDREAS!


I've been waiting for this! I do get a flashback to Emmerich's 2012 with a few scenes in this. I was hoping for a more accurate depiction of what a large scale fault event would look like, but judging from having a huge crevice open up just in front of the movie's protagonist and ripping a gas station EXACTLY in half, it seems this may be more of a popcorn movie. Still, that's fine by me as long as expectations are communicated well.

Dwayne Johnson can carry just about any movie so I'm not worried about being entertained, but I still have high hopes for some realistic action - I don't want to have to work too hard at suspension of disbelief.

SAN ANDREAS is a 3D conversion headlined by Graham Clark of Stereo D - these are the guys that do the lion-share of the Marvel universe conversions, so they are getting pretty darn good at it.

Here's the movie's storyline and description:
After the infamous San Andreas Fault finally gives, triggering a magnitude 9 earthquake in California, a search and rescue helicopter pilot (Dwayne Johnson) and his estranged wife make their way together from Los Angeles to San Francisco to save their only daughter.

But their treacherous journey north is only the beginning. And when they think the worst may be over…it’s just getting started.

The action thriller “San Andreas,” from New Line Cinema and Village Roadshow Pictures, reunites Dwayne Johnson with director Brad Peyton and producer Beau Flynn, following their collaboration on the global hit “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island.”

The film also stars Carla Gugino (“Night at the Museum,” TV’s “Entourage”), Alexandra Daddario (“Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters,” TV’s “True Detective”), Ioan Gruffudd (“Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer”), Archie Panjabi (TV’s “The Good Wife”), Hugo Johnstone-Burt (Australian TV’s “Home and Away”), Art Parkinson (TV’s “Game of Thrones”) and Oscar nominee Paul Giamatti (“Cinderella Man”).

“San Andreas” is produced by Beau Flynn (“Hercules,” “Journey 2: The Mysterious Island”). Tripp Vinson (“Red Dawn”) also serves as producer. Richard Brener, Samuel J. Brown, Michael Disco, Rob Cowan, and Bruce Berman are the executive producers, and Hiram Garcia is co-producer. The screenplay is by Carlton Cuse, story by Andre Fabrizio & Jeremy Passmore.


The creative filmmaking team includes director of photography Steve Yedlin (“Looper”), production designer Barry Chusid (“The Day After Tomorrow”), editor Bob Ducsay (upcoming “Godzilla”), VFX producer Randall Starr (upcoming “Into the Storm”), VFX supervisor Colin Strause (“The Avengers”), and costume designer Wendy Chuck (“Twilight”).

Shot on location in The Gold Coast and Brisbane, Queensland, Australia, and in Los Angeles and San Francisco, “San Andreas” is slated to open in theatres in both 3D and 2D format on Friday, May 29, 2015.

New Line Cinema presents, in association with Village Roadshow Pictures, a FlynnPictureCo. Production, “San Andreas.” It will be distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures, a Warner Bros. Entertainment Company, and in select territories by Village Roadshow Pictures.

SAN ANDREAS opens on May 29, 2015.



Thursday, December 04, 2014

MUST WATCH: First Trailer For TERMINATOR: GENISYS !


Finally it's here! The first trailer for TERMINATOR: GENISYS starring an older Arnold Schwarzenegger seemingly doing battle with, well I'm not going to spoil the spoiler for you. But yes, a pretty cool element of the movie has been revealed in the trailer, so again I warn you if you want a pristine viewing experience in the theater, don't watch this trailer. Then again, HOW COULD YOU NOT?

My friend Patrick Lussier (DRIVE ANGRY, MY BLOODY VALENTINE) wrote TERMINATOR: GENISYS along with Laeta Kalogridis (SHUTTER ISLAND, BATTLE ANGEL) so you can expect a VERY well written movie here. Alan Taylor (THOR: THE DARK WORLD) is directing. 

Here's the movie's unofficial storyline:
The year is 2029. John Connor, leader of the resistance continues the war against the machines. At the Los Angeles offensive, John’s fears of the unknown future begin to emerge when TECOM spies reveal a new plot by SkyNet that will attack him from both fronts; past and future, and will ultimately change warfare forever.

You will see similarities with the original James Cameron directed TERMINATOR and TERMINATOR 2. That is intentional and you will begin to see why in this trailer and if you like the BACK TO THE FUTURE franchise, then you should like this movie too it seems. The old parts have been recast with some great talent, namely: Emilia Clarke, Jason Clarke and Jai Courtney.

Can't wait until July 1, 2015 for this thing to drop! "Your money... Give it too me now."



Tuesday, December 02, 2014

World's First 4D Film Festival Kicks Off This Weekend

3D FILM FESTIVAL AND LEADING TECHNOLOGY PURVEYORS TO DEBUT TWO NEW GROUNDBREAKING EVENTS AT 7th ANNUAL PROGRAM INCLUDING WORLD’S FIRST 4D FILM FESTIVAL AND NEW VR FEST LINEUP

HOSTED BY:
Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE and The Hotel Figueroa
DECEMBER 6TH, 2014

3DFF, the worlds first and largest all digital 3D Film Festival presented by 3opolis and RealD will hold its 7th annual event on Saturday, December 6th, 2014 at Regal Cinemas L.A LIVE and The Hotel Figueroa in Downtown Los Angeles between the hours of 10am to 2am. The newly revamped and more immersive festival will feature the advent of two new cutting edge technology programs including a first-of-its-kind 4D Film Festival line up including Dreamworks Animation S.K.G’s 20th Century Fox release of “Penguins of Madagascar in 4D” and Lionsgate’s “The Hunger Games Mockingjay Part 1 in 4D”. Both films will be screened in Regal Cinemas new 4DX enabled movie theater, the first in the United States to feature 4D technology pioneered by CJ 4D Plex.

In addition to its 3D and 4D screenings, parties and panels, 3DFF will also launch a new Virtual Reality Festival initiative that will feature a variety of VR technology displays and content demonstrations provided by leading purveyors. 3DFF Pioneer Award winners Havas Worldwide and Dos Equis will showcase their award winning “Dos Equis Masquerade”, a revolutionary new VR Ad campaign for the Oculus Rift featuring The Most Interesting Man in the World, who stars in this first-ever live action 3D cinematic virtual reality film directed by Jordan Fish and Patrick Sherman in partnership with Montreal based filmmakers Felix & Paul. Note: This exhibit will also be shown at the official 3DFF Costume Masquerade Ball and After Party.

Additional award winning VR displays will be provided including: “11:57” (the first interactive short horror film for VR) presented by Sid Lee with VR technology by Wemersive. This groundbreaking short film will be presented in 3DFF’s very first VR Fright Room, which will demonstrate a fully immersive VR experience for a limited amount of attendees presented by ImmersiON-VRelia on their smartphone powered VR HMD “the GO”. Also, “Collider” presented by Edward Lee (an interactive audiovisual VR experience with motion controls), WemoLab (VR content and software creators); Otherworld Interactive (A VR Content Studio that will be showing off their Mobile and Oculus Experiences); “Freevi” featuring the Flight Deck 3D Android Tablet; Specular Theory (VR content creators) plus other great exhibits.

This special edition one-day 3D Film Festival will open on Saturday December 6th at 10:00am with three back-to-back 4D feature film screenings presented in 4DX followed by a panel discussion entitled “The Evolution of Cinema Panel featuring 3D, 4D and Virtual Reality”, which will take place from 5:00pm to 6:30pm featuring top speakers from the 3D, 4D and Virtual Reality Industries. Moderated by 3DFF Founder Christopher Crescitelli and Head of Post Production Jonathan Shaw this expansive panel will include 3DFF Pioneer Award Winners: Jim Hord (Executive Creative Director for Havas Worldwide/Dos Equis Masquerade); Blair Erickson (Jamwix Founder/ Director of Banshee Chapter 1st VR Feature Film); Theodore Kim (CJ 4D Plex/4DX); Catherine Yi (CJ 4D Plex/4DX ); (Aaron Latham-James (Tech Producer, Stereographer/Guns and Roses Appetite for Democracy 3D); Eric Deren (Creative Director/3DM Music Festival); Ethan Schur (ImmersiON-VRelia) and Stuart Warren Hill (3D Content Creator/Inventor of Holo-gauze).

Also at 5:00pm in theater number five the 3ology Shorts program will be serving up a selection of the best 3D short films, music videos, and experimental content from around the world all presented in RealD 3D. 3DFF is proud to host the big screen debut of NASA’s two amazing 3D short films entitled “International Space Station Tour” and “Astronauts Grow a Water Bubble in Space”. Other world premieres include: from Italy, “Vice Versa 3D”, a 3D short documentary presented by 3DFF alumni Francesco Rotunno and Alessandra Vinotto also “The Whitewashing of 5 Points” directed by Ben Schwartz of Queens, NY; “Carta de la Muerte a Frida” directed by Ana Leticia Reyes & Diego Sandoval of Mexico; “Situation Vacant” directed by Andrew Murchie from the U.K.; “Holotronica” directed by Stuart Warren Hill from the U.K.; “Sunday Morning Drive” directed by Ole Schell of USA; “The Silver Ghosts” directed by 3DFF alumni Caroline Orme from the U.K.; “Airground” directed by Sylvia Nicolaides from Cyprus); “Lost in Reverei” directed by Tom Gifford from USA; “Love Lift Me” directed by Hanspeter Aliesh of Switzerland. “The Art of Diving” directed by Helmut GoerZitz of Germany; among other amazing short films.

Later in the evening at 8:00pm, the festival will world premiere its official Best 3D Documentary Award Winner entitled “Cosplay Dreams 3D” directed by Gulliver Parascandolo. The highly anticipated part live action/part CGI film is the first to tell the story behind the magical world of Cosplay. "As filmmakers, we were immediately captivated by the idea of Cosplay even through we had no idea how popular it was when we started", commented the film's Director Gulliver Parascandolo, "We decided to shoot this film in 3D from the project's inception because the colors, craftsmanship, and art form really immerses you into the fun of Cosplay. Each Cosplayer featured in the film is like a living walking sculpture. Many people are empowered to be, finally, who they WANT to be...though this hobby. That's a very powerful and positive thing. There was no better medium than 3D to bring this world-wide phenomenon to life.”

At 10:00pm 3DFF After Dark will world premiere “Hackin’ Jack vs. The Chainsaw Chick”. This comedic horror film by veteran horror film director Norm de Plume is sure to entertain in Splatter Rama 3D and Thunder Rama Sound. Must be 18 years old to enter.

Directly following a full day of screenings, panels and technology displays, the festival will debut its first all-ages “Cosplay Dreams 3D Costume Masquerade Ball and After Party” which will take place from 9:30pm to 2:00am inside the Hotel Figueroa located across the street from Regal Cinemas. The premiere screening and after party for Cosplay Dreams 3D will be attended by cosplay superstars including YouTube sensation Traci Hines who will appear along with veteran actress Tracy Reiner (League of Their Own/ Apollo 13) who will open the show as Celebrity Host for the evening. Additionally, hundreds of Cosplayers from the Southern California Comic Con Community will be on display at the event in full costume regalia.

Event Information:
The 7th Annual 3D Film Festival will take place on Saturday, December 6th, 2014 at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live and the Hotel Figueroa from 10am to 2am. Please note that all 4D screenings will take place in theater number 6. All 3D screenings will take place in theater 5. All Virtual Reality Lounge demos will be on display in Gala A and B Event Rooms just down the hall from theater 5, with additional activations located on the Mezzanine Level of the theater. The Costume Masquerade Ball and After Party will be located at the Hotel Fig located a short walk down Olympic at the corner of Figueroa.

Tickets and Information:
For tickets please visit http://www.partyearth.com/3dff and for a complete program of events please visit http://www.3DFF.org

Seating:
All seats are filled by 3DFF Badge Holders on a first come first serve basis. If you are a badge holder and wish to RSVP in advance for a particular movie on the day of the event, you can do so by visiting the check in table located in the main lobby of the theater.

Event Location #1:
Regal Cinemas L.A. Live: 1000 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles CA 90015. Festival Hours of Operation are from 10:00am to 12:00am at this location.


Event Location #2:
The Hotel Figueroa: 939 S. Figueroa Street #930, Los Angeles CA 90015. Festival After Party Hours of Operation are from 9:30pm to 2:00am at this location.

Parking:
Regal Cinemas will validate 4 hours for $6.00 in any L.A. LIVE Parking Structure. Please bring your parking ticket with you to the theater for validation stamp. Additional parking located just outside L.A. LIVE. Save time and money by taking the Metro and only walk a few short blocks to L.A. LIVE.

Congratulations Chris on the continued success of the festivals! Hope you all can make it.

First Clip From THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES!


Check the first clip from THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES and Bilbo's bravery in spite of Gandalf's opinion of the situation.

The falling snow in this particular scene is going to add a enchanting piece of realism and immersion in native 3D! Stereographer Sean Kelly (my exclusive interview with him here) and his team using 3ality Technica native 3D rigs and RED Epic cameras are going to nail this movie, I can feel it. Add in the CG snow for optimal immersion and we have a perfect balance for this shot. Can't wait to see in three dimensions!

Here's the storyline for the movie:
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.

Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES opens on December 17, a mere 2 weeks from now! See it in 3D, HFR 3D and IMAX 3D.

**WARNING: Obvious spoilers in this clip as it is from the actual upcoming movie! Fair warning.




Monday, December 01, 2014

Fall Stereographer Interview Series - THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES' SEAN KELLY


Our Fall Stereographer Series continues and has a great list of the world's best stereographers and technicians. Our goal is to enlighten you about the modern stereographer, his/her role in major tentpole productions, new technology and expert advice for the up and coming new generation of 3D creators. Be sure to check out all our interviews right here.

Next on tap for our series is stereographer Sean Kelly (THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG, THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY) who has also worked on some other movies in various capacities that you MAY have heard of, like AVATAR and THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN. How I would dearly love to be a fly on the wall during the production of these movies!! Well, we've got the next best thing in Sean right now...

Here's THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES' storyline:
From Academy Award®-winning filmmaker Peter Jackson comes THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES, the third in a trilogy of films adapting the enduringly popular masterpiece The Hobbit, by J.R.R. Tolkien.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES brings to an epic conclusion the adventures of Bilbo Baggins, Thorin Oakenshield and the Company of Dwarves. Having reclaimed their homeland from the Dragon Smaug, the Company has unwittingly unleashed a deadly force into the world. Enraged, Smaug rains his fiery wrath down upon the defenseless men, women and children of Lake-town.

Obsessed above all else with his reclaimed treasure, Thorin sacrifices friendship and honor to hoard it as Bilbo’s frantic attempts to make him see reason drive the Hobbit towards a desperate and dangerous choice. But there are even greater dangers ahead. Unseen by any but the Wizard Gandalf, the great enemy Sauron has sent forth legions of Orcs in a stealth attack upon the Lonely Mountain. As darkness converges on their escalating conflict, the races of Dwarves, Elves and Men must decide – unite or be destroyed. Bilbo finds himself fighting for his life and the lives of his friends in the epic Battle of the Five Armies, as the future of Middle-earth hangs in the balance.

Thanks for making yourself available Sean - I know you are very busy! Let's start off with what is your favorite 3D movie and why?
Sean Kelly: I enjoyed the visuals and story of THE LIFE OF PI. The idea of being left in the middle of a large expanse has always appealed to me in 3D. To me, this is a movie that deserved 3D due to simplicity of the environment for much of the movie and how it played on the fact that we naturally understand the space of a vast ocean. 3D did its job of enhancing an already fantastic story and absorbing the viewer in the drama without asking for any "work" on the viewers behalf. The beautiful visual effects and lack of gratuitous 3D, for 3D sake, did it for me. GRAVITY was also a movie that worked extremely well. Again, the environment of space being a fantastic setting to showcase 3D, albeit, a conversion.

I loved LIFE OF PI! And GRAVITY was amazing with plenty of rendered 3D too. Explain your thoughts on the native 3D vs. 3D conversion debate as it stands with today's technology?
SK: I practice the native style of film making so I am prejudiced towards that. There is no doubt that conversions can be done at extremely high quality. Cost will of course always be a factor in the decision. If a movie is converted without enough money or time, then the final product will suffer. This is not necessarily true when shooting native. In conversions, if each shot is "signed off" by the director when they are 100% happy, and have the proper resources to ensure there is no compromise, there is no reason flawless 3D cannot be achieved. I suspect that often the reason a movie is converted is based on the fear of shooting speed on Set with 3D rigs. I believe this fear is unfounded with todays equipment and crews.

What do you make of the negative comments that Seamus McGarvey has made regarding 3D?
SK: Making a 3D movie was often filled with unknown technical dangers. These can be easily solved now. They can have a roll on effect when shooting starts. Preparation of the rigs to be used and the understanding of their limitations and expected uses is extremely important. On "the Hobbit" we had a very clear understanding of what was expected when shooting started and were lucky enough to have the backup and technical expertise on hand to ensure we were ready. 3Ality and RED were with us from the start so we could discuss, develop and solve issues in a very quick manner. We found that rather than prepping, we used the systems as though we were in a shooting scenario as early in preproduction as possible. This enabled us to encounter not only the time frames needed to put our systems into different configurations, (lens changes, cranes, hand-held, steadicam etc) but also to find 3Dcentric issues that a 2D crew would not normally anticipate. Our aim was to shoot at 2D speed and we were all very proud of the end result. Some of the developments, like wireless steadicam, helped operators continue their jobs without technology becoming a burden. Of course, the post production pipeline also benefited greatly from this pre production approach. To start a shoot, without solving these mainly time issues, understandably leads to problems. These "problems" are solvable and it is very possible to shoot movies, as we have always done in 2D, with the right people, equipment and preparation. It is a pity he had such an experience, it doesn't necessarily need to be that way.

Yes I've heard many, many great things about the technical expertise from 3ality. How to you position China now on the world cinema stage now that they have ~20,000 3D screens in place and growing?
SK: A major improvement! Its great to see how they have embraced the 3D technology and have decided it is the future. I believe they are shooting more 3D than 2D now? And TV content must also be delivered in 3D in many cases. For me it is a natural progression in visual media. We have had the technology to make this possible for many years now and the leaders, like 3Ality, are firmly setup there now. I hope other countries take note that, with good content, 3D is at least equal if not a better experience. They are also a huge market for the West which can always help the bottom line. Too much negative press for 3D worldwide was based on hearsay and faux 3D. Everything is in place for many countries to do the same as China and, also, the 4K TV can only help.

I agree. What brought you to 3D in the first place? (chance, study, interest, etc)
SK: I was a 1st AC based in Wellington. When James Cameron came to town to shoot Avatar I was asked if I would be interested in being a "convergence operator". I very quickly found I enjoyed the medium and learned many valuable lessons under James Cameron. After this I became involved in various projects with local cinematographer Richard Bluck and Peter Jackson. Peter was very innovative and experimented with 3D well before the Hobbit. During these times we used 3Ality rigs and RED cameras. I could safely say I was in the right place at the right time with the right people.

I'll say! James Cameron and Peter Jackson are two of the top driving forces of the 3D industry. What is your preferred set up on set? (camera, rig, lens, etc)
SK: Steadicam. The TS5 lightweight in full wireless mode. prime lens, a few picture receivers set up, our wireless IA/convergence set up, with many players in the scene. I imagine a nightmare for the operator to remember all the lines but the more IA/convergence moves the better. This, when done right, can be seamless and very rewarding as an end result. I think this may be the focus puller in me.

Are there any new stereoscopic technologies coming out in the field that has your interest?
SK: Laser projection for better brightness and bigger dynamic ranges. Colour is such an important part of depth perception so the whiter whites and blacker blacks with a greater controllable range in between will be a benefit to 3D.

When working with optics do you find there is disparity between how long it takes to make a 2D lens change verses a modern 3D set up?
SK: We will always blow our trumpets at this point. The 1st AC's I have worked with are extremely capable. We mainly shoot prime lenses. For them to unhook lens motors, slide two cameras back, remove and remount the new lens, re-hook motors and slide the two bodies back into position takes one to two minutes. The stereographer part of remotely loading the lens data to the rig and then visually aligning the lens in a zero or overlay position takes another couple of minutes. This sounds fast, and it can be. Obviously the physical position of where this needs to occur can add a little time. Many times it can be done quicker and there are tricks with the 3Ality system that means the remote stage done by the stereographer can be done during setup/rehearsal to shorten the time even more.


What would be your favorite shot for 3D and why?
SK: I have always liked a wide lens on a big technocrane move into a full drama shot. A slow move establishing the environment at the head. I like to ignore any so called edge violations in the move. Lots of atmosphere, heavy rain and a finishing point where the negative space can be used. A set with texture and natural depth cues. With luck, no CG elements that weren't expected will appear later!

Obviously 3D has matured since the late 2000's both in technology and expertise. What credentials / experience would you mention that helps separate you from the field and brings you to the top of the industry?
SK: I have been extremely lucky with the people and technologies that have crossed my path. From my first 3D experience with Avatar to the continuing work with experts like Director Peter Jackson, Cinematographer Richard Bluck, Post Production Stereograhper Meetal Gokul, physical and electronic technical expert Dion Hartley, and the farm of experts at 3Ality, I'm just very lucky.

What education would you recommend to up and coming stereographers / cinematographers in today's world?
SK: There are now many 3D courses available worldwide. I don't really have any knowledge of their quality so I can't comment. I am sure there would be excellent ones out there. Or the "hands on" method of contacting anyone who is in 3D. We are an industry of people passionate about what we do. Many of us (if not all) have been helped to get where we are by kind and sharing people and will naturally help others, when possible, into the industry. The problem can be the timing of when that help can be given so keep trying. Also, read about and watch 3D! Lots of it, you need to train your eyes to see it properly. Cinematographers shooting in 3D can be greatly helped by collaborating with a good stereographer. Stereo is only there to enhance what the Cinematographer and Director are out to achieve. It shouldn't be a compromise.

Do you have a post-production software preference for working with the stereo images to do any fine tuning you need to do?
SK: Meetal Gokul is the expert and he is using Mistika from SGO. Park Road Post Production have worked closely with SGO to develop pipelines and workflows with their DI platform Mistika. It has been a strategic partnership for a number of years, providing the solutions that have been needed.

How important is resolution? Would more pixels be more important for stereo 3D? Higher dynamic range? HFR, like what is used in THE HOBBIT trilogy?
SK: Acquisition at higher resolution is a benefit but it is necessary that they go through the entire process to realize their benefit. More pixels only if they are "good" pixels. They must include the best dynamic range, color space and color range. HFR is a given when you see and feel the smoother visual delivery of the movie.

Are there any specialty filters that you find enhance the stereo images? How about specialty filters that you have found should never be used?
SK: We have always shot without filtration. Polas can cause retinal disparities very easily and should therefore be used carefully.

Split focus diopters are a popular tool in 2D. Do you think a director looking for an effect like that can get that in stereo 3D?
SK: That would be something I would like to try. I haven't up until now and would be interested in the result.

Open mic: What is the biggest challenge that you'd like to openly discuss about today's 3D?
SK: Conversion vs Native. Can we find a way to shoot Native in the first place rather than convert later? I still believe that negative space looks better in native capture. Are the producers convinced that the native process is much more expensive? Is 48fps or 60fps the future? Does this slow down the uptake of native shooting due to the post production price and fit out? And subtitle placement??! These questions are part of what keeps the 3D world an exciting place to be involved in as it develops.

Open mic: What are you happiest about in the 3D field
SK: I enjoy the film making process and being part of the creative process. It is good to still be onset and still have the experience of film making. The physical side of shooting native 3D means I can still be up a mountain or beside a river. Knowing that advancements in technology mean that 3D will only become better and more accessible. I love walking onto a new set that will lend itself to good 3D and know that this is where we can make a difference from the traditions of 2D

If there was one thing you could change about the industry what would it be?
SK: The sometimes negative attitude towards 3D. I understand that it is very differcult to make everyone enjoy 3D, but we can help change this pre-conception by making more good 3D. There are very capable Stereographers, Cinemotographers, and Post Production houses who could help in projects that are damaging the 3D reputation. The people and physical technology is already here to be used and New Zealand is a great place to do it.


Thanks so much for your time for this Sean! Speaking for everyone, I wish the best of success for the finale of THE HOBBIT in THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES at the box office and for the award season. I'm sure I'll be in the theater multiple times to relive the experience over and over again just like I did with the first two! For more from Sean, check out Peter Jackson's production video blog #6 right here.

Stay tuned for our next interview in the our Stereographer Series coming soon!

Friday, November 28, 2014

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Teaser Trailer Here!

Tim here with the first exclusive teaser trailer for star wars: The Force Awakens finally upon us! Let me say that it's pretty awesome! Below is the YouTube video:

You can also head over to Apple Trailers to watch it, and if you have a an AppleTV it's able to be played on your HDTV through that by going to the Trailers app. First thoughts are that the opening shot is very JJ Abrams, and gets the trailer moving with some quick glimpses of his vision of the Galaxy Far, Far Away… It's John Beyega in Stormtrooper uniform without his helmit seemingly stranded on Tatooine. We get a brief look at a new droid, followed by an intense three (possibly four) shot sequence with Stormtroopers in a drop ship. Next we get Daisy Ridley on top of a speeder, and I must comment that she looks like a descendent of Padme Amidala based on her facial structure, and as a result the daughter of Leia and Han Solo. That seems to fit with the running theories. We then get an interior shot of an X-Wing pilot followed immediately by an exterior shot of that X-Wing being joined by two others. And we finally get the forshadowing shot: a tracking shot of a Sith, in a snowy and wooded environment, walking amongst the trees until something/someone causes him to pull out his red lightsaber. Note the cool design where the hilt of it shoots out short perpendicular blades. And the trailer concludes with the money shot: the Millennium Falcon soaring over the sky while the camera tracks it back down to the surface of Tatooine and two TIE Fighers shooting at it… and missing.

 star wars: The Force Awakens is set to hit theaters Dec. 18, 2015. JJ Abrams is directing, and it stars John Boyega, Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher also reprising their roles. It's shot in 35mm Film, with some sequences shot in 70mm IMAX film, and will be a 3D conversion.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

James Cameron Dishes On AVATAR Sequels: "They’re gonna be BITCHIN'!"


James Cameron has come out from his creativity cave to finally give the world some comments on his AVATAR sequels and he doesn't disappoint! What I love about his movies are that they go for broke and leave nothing on the table. It's in your face and authentic. So yes, you can expect to have your mind blown for each and every one of these sequels. 

Here's what he had to say:
“I can tell you one thing about them, they’re gonna be bitchin’. You will sh*t yourself with your mouth wide open.”

Not surprising words to describe his movies - he's earned the right to say them, jokingly or not. More importantly to me, he addressed a technical issue that has been on the top of my mind since I spoke with him after his high frame rate (HFR) demonstration in Vegas. Specifically, whether he was leaning more toward 60 fps or 48 fps. Here's his dish on that:

“My thinking at the time was that 60 (frames per second) might be a better segue to the video market. I’ll be plugging into a system that’s a little more mature, so it makes sense for me to do 48 frames at this point.”

We all know that Peter Jackson's HOBBIT franchise was all shot in native 3D (with those amazing 3ality Technica rigs) and at a HFR of 48 fps. Cameron is giving a nod to Jackson for getting the ball rolling on HFR and it appears as though Lightstorm Entertainment will follow this same path at 48 fps. Further, with Cameron's close friend's franchise finale THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES launching in mere weeks, Cameron also acknowledged that a MAJOR plot point in the original AVATAR originated from Jackson and/or Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens...

“When Neytiri is holding Jake and she’s just brought him back to consciousness, the ‘I see you’ line was suggested by them. It might have been Peter who said that.”

For me, that scene in the trailer where Neytiri holds Jake is the culmination of the entire movie. It was make or break time and the visual effects prevailed big-time. I can't tell you the emotional impact that scene had on me from a creative standpoint. It resonated with me deeply and it still affects my creative writing to this day. So yeah, huge contribution by Jackson and his team on that one, and good on Cameron to give that credit. Man, would I ever like to see a collaboration between Jackson and Cameron on a project - similar to what Jackson has done with Spielberg - but MORE. :-)

More on the AVATAR sequels when I get them.

Source: Empire

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

YES! New Teaser Trailer For Universal's JURASSIC WORLD !! New Images Too !


"Probably not a good idea."

Universal has released the full teaser trailer for Colin Trevorrow's JURASSIC WORLD and it's a doosey. LOVE the tension build up and it actually channels the original movie so much that I'm salivating at seeing this thing! I am so hoping to re-experience what I felt the first time around. I hope my expectations aren't too high.

The teaser trailer is exactly what I wanted to see. It's engaging. It pays tribute to the original, yet looks original. Perfect casting from what I see. The story is sufficiently thrilling enough in theory. Can Trevorrow deliver?

Here's the movie's Intro:
Steven Spielberg returns to executive produce the long-awaited next installment of his groundbreaking Jurassic Park series, Jurassic World. Colin Trevorrow directs the epic action-adventure from a screenplay he wrote with Derek Connolly. Frank Marshall and Patrick Crowley join the team as producers.

JURASSIC WORLD opens on June 12, 2015 in 3D, IMAX 3D and flat.




Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Blue Sky Studios PEANUTS by Schulz Trailer #2 Impresses


Tim here, and I have to say that this second trailer for Peanuts coming out in 3D next November is looking better and better with each new trailer. I'll be honest and state that I've been a tad skeptical that these characters, who were drawn in a two-dimensional comic strip, didn't seem like they could translate well to the 3D world. This trailer shows that skeptics are wrong. The animators did a great job with subtle 3D, and what could translate into very pleasing stereoscopic 3D images, and maintaining the classic style and framing of the Peanuts comic strip. The texturing and other modern 3D computer animation techniques are subtle to the eye and invoke the nolstagia we hope to get from this movie. Yet, the trailer hasn't revealed anything about the story yet!

IMDB has this written for the storyline: For the first time ever, Snoopy, Charlie Brown, and the rest of the gang we know and love from Charles Schulz's timeless "Peanuts" comic strip will be making their big-screen debut like they've never been seen before in a CGI-animated feature film in 3D. And if you're yearning for a bit of trivia: This is the first theatrical Peanuts movie in 35 years!


There's also a few still frames below that come with this for you to take a closer look at. It's incredibly impressive what the animators have accomplished. It feels like Charles Schulz drew these.


Peanuts comes to theaters in RealD and Digital 3D November 6, 2015 from Blue Sky Studios and 20th Century Fox.

Check The Full Gag Reel For GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY!


For all of you GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY fans out there (including me), I've been waiting for this! The full blooper reel from the movie in anticipation of the Blu-ray release that's coming on December 9, just in time for the holidays.

Some really funny outtakes and of course Groot and Rocket make appearances as well - so have a look...



Source: Tumblr via CBM

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

New BTS Video And The New Extended Trailer For AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON


Take a look at the new extended trailer for Joss Whedon's AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON which features some new shots AND a cool 2 minute Behind The Scenes (BTS) video of the massive production.

I'm really looking forward to seeing the production value in this thing. There's nothing like a huge budget movie delivering the goods on the screen and with the confidence that Marvel has with it's franchise pedigrees I can see ULTRON topping the original both critically and financially.

Here's the storyline for the movie:
Marvel Studios presents AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON, the epic follow-up to the biggest Super Hero movie of all time. When Tony Stark tries to jumpstart a dormant peacekeeping program, things go awry and Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, including Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, The Incredible Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye, are put to the ultimate test as the fate of the planet hangs in the balance. As the villainous Ultron emerges, it is up to The Avengers to stop him from enacting his terrible plans, and soon uneasy alliances and unexpected action pave the way for an epic and unique global adventure.

Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON stars Robert Downey Jr., who returns as Iron Man, along with Chris Evans as Captain America, Chris Hemsworth as Thor and Mark Ruffalo as The Hulk. Together with Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow and Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, and with the additional support of Samuel L. Jackson as Nick Fury and Cobie Smulders as Agent Maria Hill, the team must reassemble to defeat James Spader as Ultron, a terrifying technological villain hell-bent on human extinction. Along the way, they confront two mysterious and powerful newcomers, Wanda Maximoff, played by Elizabeth Olsen, and Pietro Maximoff, played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson, and meet an old friend in a new form when Paul Bettany becomes Vision.

Written and directed by Joss Whedon and produced by Kevin Feige, Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is based on the ever-popular Marvel comic book series “The Avengers,” first published in 1963. Louis D’Esposito, Alan Fine, Victoria Alonso, Jeremy Latcham, Patricia Whitcher, Stan Lee and Jon Favreau serve as executive producers.

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON is due to hit theaters on May 1, 2015.




Via /Film

Monday, November 10, 2014

Blackmagic Design Releases 3D VFX Software Fusion 7


Tim here, and today Blackmagic Design announced that they are releasing the popular visual effects and motion graphics software Fusion 7 for free, with a Studio version for as low as $995. Wow! Like Blackmagic did with DaVinci Resolve and color grading they have now done with Eyeon's Fusion. Back in September Blackmagic announced that it had bought Eyeon in order to acquire this software. Read the full press release below:

Blackmagic Design Revolutionizes the Visual Effects Industry with Fusion 7

Fremont, CA - November 10, 2014 - Blackmagic Design today announced that Fusion 7, the world's most advanced visual effects and motion graphics software, is now available completely free of charge.
Fusion 7 for Windows can be downloaded from the Blackmagic Design website now.
Previously getting access to high end visual effects tools such as Fusion cost thousands of dollars, so it was more restricted to elite Hollywood visual effects artists. Now with Fusion 7 being available free of charge there is no limit to block anyone from creating world leading visual effects. Blackmagic Design believes this will revolutionize the industry and consumers will be able to watch dramatically better feature films and television shows in the future.
Also announced was Fusion 7 Studio, a complete bundle of VFX and motion graphics solutions with collaborative tools and unlimited network rendering for creative teams and larger facilities. Fusion 7 Studio drastically reduces the cost of setting up multi user studios. Fusion 7 Studio will be available for $995 from Blackmagic Design resellers worldwide.
Fusion has been one of Hollywood's leading visual effects and motion graphic tools for over 25 years and has been used on thousands of feature film and television projects, including blockbusters like Maleficent, Edge of Tomorrow, Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Amazing Spider-man 2 and The Hunger Games, as well as hit television shows like Battlestar Galactica, Orphan Black and many more.
The free of charge Fusion 7 is a fully featured solution and is not limited in it's features. It has a massive visual effects and motion graphics toolset that can be used for both personal and commercial work. Fusion 7 features an infinite 3D workspace and an easy to use node based workflow for quickly building unlimited effects. Customers get advanced 3D compositing, paint, rotoscope, retiming, stabilization, titling, an amazing 3D particle generator and multiple keyers, including Primatte. Fusion 7 also lets customers import and render 3D geometry and scenes from other applications as well as create their own elements from scratch.
The $995 Fusion 7 Studio includes everything found in the free Fusion 7 software, plus adds extra high end features such as optical flow tools for advanced retiming, stabilization and stereoscopic 3D production, support for third party OpenFX plug ins, and distributed network rendering so customers can render jobs on an unlimited number of computers at no additional cost! Fusion 7 Studio also includes Generation, a studio wide multi user workflow and collaboration tool that helps creative teams manage, track and review versions of every shot in a production. Customers can also move projects from the free Fusion 7 software to a workstation running Fusion 7 Studio and take advantage of workflow collaboration and unlimited distributed network rendering.
Unlike other software, Fusion 7 Studio doesn't require annual maintenance fees, subscriptions, a connection to the cloud, or per node render license costs. That means customers don't get tricked into hidden or on going costly payments for software they've already purchased.
"Visual effects software has been expensive for way too long and it's time that this changed. Consumers are screaming for more exciting movies and television programs and so we need to do everything we can to help our customers create stunning visual effects," said Grant Petty, Blackmagic Design CEO. "Now, with the free version of Fusion, everyone from individual artists to the biggest studios can create Hollywood caliber visual effects and motion graphics! When combined with DaVinci Resolve Lite, customers can get the world's most advanced tools for editing, grading, 3D compositing, visual effects and motion graphics, all absolutely free!"

Availability and Price

Fusion 7 software for Windows is available for download now from the Blackmagic Design web site free of charge. Fusion 7 Studio will be available for $995 at all Blackmagic Design Resellers. Existing Fusion 7 customers and customers on a current Fusion support plan can upgrade to Fusion Studio at no additional charge by contacting Blackmagic Design.

About Blackmagic Design

Blackmagic Design creates the world's highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design's DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company's Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com.
This is incredibly significant because what it means is that the software is available to a whole demographic of independent filmmakers who wouldn't have had access to it before. It also makes doing a stereoscopic 3D production more affordable to a certain extent. The full Studio version of the software comes with numerous stereoscopic 3D controls that aren't available in the free version. According to the official page's information: "Fusion Studio includes the world's most advanced camera matching, stereo alignment, convergence and spatialization tools for creating realistic, eye popping stereo 3D!"

Comprehensive Stereoscopic Tools

When you're shooting stereoscopic 3D it can be incredibly difficult to get perfectly aligned 3D images from the left and right eye cameras and lenses. Fusion uses an optical flow toolset that goes far beyond simple transforms and keystone adjustments to correct the intricate alignment and disparity issues that can occur during production. When creating stereoscopic composites, Fusion simplifies complicated stereoscopic workflows by using a single camera instead of complex stereo camera rigs. Fusion can even create 3D from 2D source material, and is used by more studios than any other solution to convert 2D movies into 3D!

STEREOSCOPIC WORKFLOW

Stereoscopic Production

Fusion Studio is a complete solution for stereo conversion! You can rotoscope different elements for displacement, add a 3D camera to your scene and then adjust for eye separation and convergence distance for amazing 2D to 3D conversions!

Stereo 3D Disparity tools

Fusion Studio includes specific tools to solve intricate issues that result from live action stereo production. Repair polarization, color, defocus and even timing differences between two cameras!

Optical Flow

Automatically repair problems with footage using advanced Optical Flow image analysis in Fusion Studio! Remove scratches and dust, smooth color variations and grain, even use optical flow to create super smooth retiming effects!
This is pretty sweet! And this software has been used on numerous Hollywood Blockbusters, including a few 3D flicks you might recognize. Fusion has been used for nearly 25 years to create the visual effects and motion graphics for some of Hollywood's biggest blockbuster films and television shows. This is the first time it is available so widely at two great prices: FREE & $1K.

Now it is only available for Windows Systems at this time. However, Grant Petty revealed on the Blackmagic Forums that they are working on a Mac OS version. Yet, at this time it is impossible for them to predict when that release will be. This is due to the infrastructure of the buttons having been built for Windows with the coding. They haven't left out the Mac users, and plan on opening it up to them as well as to allow all independent filmmakers the option to start experimenting with the free version and then move on to the full Studio version.

So there you have it. If you're running Windows you can head over to the Blackmagic Design Support Page and download it: here

Thursday, November 06, 2014

STAR WARS EPISODE VII Title Revealed!


Tim here, and in additional news for the day we finally have a title for  star wars episode vii: THE FORCE AWAKENS! Revealed in a tweet from Walt Disney Pictures announcing a wrap on Principle Photography. The reveal of the title brings with it many questions: What does it mean? Why does the Force need to be awakened? Is is JJ Abrams secretly Jar Jar Binks? Okay the last one is a goof, but still we're left with a lot of unknown information at this point about the plot of the movie. The title does little to reveal anything more.
star wars episode vii: the force awakens is set to hit theaters Dec. 18, 2015. JJ Abrams is directing, and it stars John Boyega, Adam Driver and Daisy Ridley with Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher also reprising their roles.

THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES Theatrical Trailer is Here!


Tim here, The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies Theatrical Trailer is finally here! YAY! I've put it above so you can watch it front and center. It's so dark and so intense. This isn't the children's story the book was originally anymore. This film will definitely lead into The Lord of the Rings trilogy. The emotional stakes are high.

My first thoughts are: WOW! Peter Jackson will make his last journey into Middle-Earth an epic one. And it's going to look so good in Native Stereoscopic 3D and High Frame Rates shot on 3ality Technica rigs. About one month to go until this movie is unleashed upon the world, and the anticipation is so great. This trailer gives us only glimpses of what to expect. I plan on being thoroughly surprised by his vision.

The release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives in theaters December 17th, 2014 in IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, HFR 3D.

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Tomorrow the Final HOBBIT Trailer Arrives!




Tim here. As you can see from The Hobbit's Facebook post tomorrow the final dragon... I mean trailer... will descend upon Laketown... I mean us. Man, I really want to see this movie. Look out for our post tomorrow as soon as it arrives.

The release of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies arrives in theaters December 17th, 2014 in IMAX 3D, RealD 3D, HFR 3D.

Monday, November 03, 2014

Fall Stereographer Interview Series - STALINGRAD's Céline Tricart

Our Fall Stereographer Series continues and has a great list of the world's best stereographers and technicians. Our goal is to enlighten you about the modern stereographer, his/her role in major tentpole productions, new technology and expert advice for the up and coming new generation of 3D creators. Be sure to check out all our interviews right here.

Next up is a fast-rising, behind the camera star in the 3D world, Céline Tricart. She's multi-talented as she is also a writer, director and producer - but I want to focus on her 3D passion. She is an independent filmmaker and was stereographer on Gordon Chan's THE FOUR 2 (2013), DERRIERE LES MURS (French supernatural thriller) and the short film OUTSIPLOU. Further testifying to her talents is the trust that large budget productions place on her as well - she was 3D Rig Technician for both Fedor Bondarchuk's STALINGRAD and Michael Bay's TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION.

She has already directed several shorts, three of which were shot in 3D, and received many awards around the world. Since 2008 when she graduated from the famous ENS Louis Lumiere film school in Paris, she was the stereographer of more than 20 live broadcast, commercials and documentaries, and of the first French 3D feature film BEHIND THE WALLS from directors J. Lacombe and P. Sid (Sombrero Productions- 2010). She has worked with the R and D department of the french company Binocle (3D rigs and softwares) during 4 years as lead stereographer. Further, Céline has published a book about 3D storytelling in early 2013 which is available worldwide. She works now closely with the award-winning company 3ALITY Technica on numerous projects.

Celine is now developing her first feature film with award winning producer, Roger Frappier (“Jesus of Montreal”, “The Decline of the American Empire”, “The Grand Seduction”) and his Canadian production company, MAX FILMS. This film will of course be shot in 3D! Celine is also looking into TV as a fascinating new medium to tell her compelling stories. Her new book “Directing 3D: Concepts and Techniques for Stereoscopic Filmmakers” will be published by Focal Press in 2015 worldwide.

I think Céline represents one of the best of the best for up and coming stereographers in the world. Let's get to know her opinion on the Stereographer Series questions!

Hi Céline, I really want to thank you for taking the time to chat with me today! Could you tell me what's your favorite 3D movie and why?
Céline Tricart: My pleasure Jim. Gravity of course! 3D is the perfect way to tell this particular story, the tension relies on distances, depths, space! It's also technically very well done but to me it's first and foremost a good story and a director who wanted to use stereoscopy to enhance his storytelling.

Explain your thoughts on the native 3D vs. 3D conversion debate as it stands with today's technology?
CT: The real debate is elsewhere. I don't care if it's native 3D or conversion, if the 3D is considered as a filmmaking tool and used properly in accordance to the story, then I'm in. I believe in the future of hybrid movies, part of it being shot natively, part of it converted depending on what's easier / has a better quality / is cheaper. I generally prefer native 3D because it means having 3D monitors on set and that gives the creative crew the opportunity to learn this new medium and use it in a better way.

Right. Real-time feedback to the creatives. What do you make of the negative comments that Seamus McGarvey has made regarding 3D?
CT: Clearly this interview is dated. He talks about lenses changes that takes 45min while today it's between 3 and 4 minutes with a good 3D rig and an efficient 3D crew. It's funny he doesn't even remember the exact name of the rig he used. I guess the DP who used the first HD cameras in the 90's probably had the same point of view... But it would have been unfair to use these reviews to judge the HD cameras of the years 2000. It's also funny he said they had a stereographer on set on Avengers who was a pain in the ass... Avengers is, still today, one of the best 3D-converted movies, to me it means it was definitely worth it! People don't like to change, that's why most DPs hate digital compared to film, and 3D compared to 2D. I don't mind! As far as I'm concerned, I'm always on the lookout for new ways of telling compelling stories. Intellectual curiosity and need for experimentation is the best human quality I think.

Speaking of change, how to you position China now on the world cinema stage now that they have ~20,000 3D screens in place and growing?
CT: Definitely the biggest player out there for 3D box office. Most of the tentpoles now integrate Chinese locations and famous local stars. And the Chinese audience loves 3D! They're not stupid though, and if the studios keep sending them bad 3D conversions we'll get bored and upset. I hope they won't kill the golden goose...

What brought you to 3D in the first place? (chance, study, interest, etc)
CT: Chance! I feel really lucky to know a bit about 3D and have this amazing additional tool as a director! It was 2006, I was in film school in Paris and the french 3D club organized a screening in our projection room. It was basically a bunch of retired guys, building 3D rigs in their garage but they said something that changed my life: they said 3D was ready technically (well, almost!) and now what was desperately needed was writers, directors, artists to transform it into an art form. It blew my mind! I decided to write my end-of study essay about 3D storytelling and I directed a 6-minutes short film in 3D. It was very empowering to feel like a pioneer, to reinvent all the filmmaking rules and create a new language for this technology.

What is your preferred set up on set? (camera, rig, lens, etc)
CT: Technology is changing very fast... If I had to shoot a feature tomorrow I would probably choose Red Epics with 15-40 Optimo and a TS5 3ality Technica rig. With this configuration I know I can shoot as fast as in 2D and do steadycam, handheld...

Are there any new stereoscopic technologies coming out in the field that has your interest?
CT: I'm really interested in VR and shooting a fiction in 360 degrees 3D ! I can almost hear people complaining about it: "What's the point of not having a point of view decided by the director? What if the audience is not looking at the main character? Film was so much better..." VR is a new challenge, we'll have to figure out what storytelling in VR means... I'm very excited about it !

When working with optics do you find there is disparity between how long it takes to make a 2D lens change verses a modern 3D set up?
CT: Of course, you have to change 2 lenses instead of one and to redo the 3D alignment... With a decent crew and a modern 3D rig it shouldn't take more than 3 or 4 minutes though.

If you have worked with 3D conversions as a stereographer adviser on set, how are the general interactions with the cinematographer and director as opposed to a native 3D production?
CT: I've worked as an on-set stereographer for a Chinese movie that was shot in 2D and later converted. I had a blast! The Chinese / Hong Kong crew has eager to learn and "think in 3D" despite the fact they were shooting with a 2D Arri alexa like they usually do. I trained the DP and director as much as I could, and stayed on set for two weeks. The first few days I had to intervene a lot, mostly about the framing (get rid of blurry foregrounds, over the shoulder etc.) and the depth of field. After a week I didn't have to say anything anymore. They got it right away, embraced it and had a lot of fun with it!

What would be your favorite shot for 3D and why?
CT: Long steadycam POV shot I guess... Works really well and 3D makes sense as we see in 3D in real life.

Obviously 3D has matured since the late 2000's both in technology and expertise. What credentials / experience would you mention that helps separate you from the field and brings you to the top of the industry?
CT: I don't think I'm at the top of the industry! I'm still learning, and enjoying it a lot! My ultimate goal is to direct a 3D feature film, hopefully soon... Then I'll be able to use this credential and pretend I'm at the top in the industry !

Many would agree with me that you should be mentioned in the best of the best. Speaking of learning, what education would you recommend to up and coming stereographers / cinematographers in today's world?
CT: I'm not very familiar with US film schools, but I think the best education is to watch as many 3D movies as possible, take notes of what you liked / disliked, and then watch the movie again without the 3D glasses so you can identify the type of 3D settings or shots that works best. And do some tests, experiments! It's very easy to build a cheap 3D camera or to buy some of the prosumer ones out there.

Do you have a post-production software preference for working with the stereo images to do any fine tuning you need to do?
CT: Not really, the software changes and gets better every year.

How important is resolution? Would more pixels be more important for stereo 3D? Higher dynamic range? HFR?
CT: None of these are "necessary" for 3D. It's a matter of storytelling, again. Is the story demanding a higher resolution? HFR? HDR? Maybe no, maybe yes! I like the HFR technology but to be honest I didn't really like it in "The Hobbit". It's a fantasy film, taking place in an imaginary and magic world, I don't think the realistic effect of the HFR is suitable for this type of story.

Are there any specialty filters that you find enhance the stereo images? How about specialty filters that you have found should never be used?
CT: Whatever filter the DP wants to use, we can make it work. Sometimes it's tricky because it means ordering a filter big enough to cover the entire mirror box of a 3D rig. Some specialty filters can create different effects on each lenses and therefore retinal rivalry. That's why I believe in hybrid filmmaking: Is a particular scene requires a specialty filter and the director doesn't want to add it in post, then why not shooting this scene in 2D and convert it in 3D in post ?

Split focus diopters are a popular tool in 2D. Do you think a director looking for an effect like that can get that in stereo 3D?
CT: I've never try to do it in native 3D but it's probably worth trying, especially because we love wide depth of field in 3D! If it's technically too challenging, then again this shot can be converted in post. Anything is possible!

Open mic: What is the biggest challenge that you'd like to openly discuss about today's 3D?
CT: Same thing as 2, 3, 4 years ago: We have to get rid of the ticket upcharge for 3D! Do we pay an upcharge to see a movie in cinemascope? In color? In surround sound? If seeing a movie in 3D cost as much as a 2D movie, it will encourage independent filmmakers and smaller budget to shoot in 3D because they'll know their audience will go and see it.

Open mic: What are you happiest about in the 3D field?
CT: The technology and 3D rigs have never been better, and the best 3D movies I've ever seen has been released in the last 3 years. It's very encouraging to see talented directors getting interested in this new language! Hopefully the new generation will have the same open mind.

If there was one thing you could change about the industry what would it be?
CT: No upcharge for 3D movies!

Thanks so much for your time on this Céline! Congratulations on TRANSFORMERS: AGE OF EXTINCTION being the number one box office movie around the world thus far for 2014! Almost $1.1 billion. And... I loved the 3D. Looking forward to seeing more of your stereo work soon Céline!

Stay tuned for our next interview in the Fall Stereographer Series coming soon!




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