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


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


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


Regal Cinemas L.A. LIVE and The Hotel Figueroa

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 and for a complete program of events please visit

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.

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.


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


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...

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!

Contact Me

Jim Dorey
jim (at) marketsaw (dot) com

All contents Copyright © 2006-2018, MarketSaw Media. All Rights Reserved. All copyrights and trademarks on this website belong to their respective owners.