Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Does Tim Burton Have 3D Cold Feet? "Alice In Wonderland" NOT Being Shot in 3D - Will Be Converted In Post!

**SAME DAY UPDATE: I just heard from Neil Feldman of In-Three (2D-3D Conversion Specialists) - I knew I would as he is very passionate about his work and justifiably so. Neil argues that when you convert 2D to 3D in post, you have "much more latitude in creating the very highest quality 3D experience" because they "have complete control in the post process".

That may be so, but someone like James Cameron would argue that if you shoot correctly you have infinite control in real-time - 360 degree options, ability to change lenses and zoom in and out using volumes and such. That is invaluable as the post process becomes as important as shooting because you can still envision and create a movie long after the actors have gone home.

Neil does make some great points in relation to conversions advantages: "Too much time setting up shots on location. Too much hassle to learn new tricks. Too much worry that when you go into post the scenes will not work together." and on cost: "Depends on the nature of the content. Generally it is within the same cost or slightly cheaper. It is definitely cheaper if there are lots of special effects or difficult setups on location. Anyway, we advocate a hybrid approach for those who are traditionalists. That is, go ahead and shoot dual camera but then Dimensionalize and/or fix those shots/edits that don't work."

Now of course Neil has some natural biases towards 2D-3D conversion, but even he recognizes that "real-time" directing of a 3D movie is an advantage lost.

Hey. I am ready to be wowed as I have said before. Let Burton and Disney wow me with post production magic and I will be the first to post that it worked. Until then, I need convincing.


Jim here. Well this is a surprise to say the least! I knew it was strange that in the original ALICE IN WONDERLAND set photos that came up from England during the early days of shooting (here, here and here) there were NO cameras set up in 3D configuration - just standard 2D setups. But I assumed that the shooting was preliminary and was merely being used to set the stage as it were for the stereographic professionals to take over.

Wrong. I just got word from a source in a position to know (first time source - but seems very trustworthy) that Tim Burton is NOT shooting AIW in 3D at all. Period. They intend on converting to 2D movie to 3D after the fact in post production!

Visual example: The top image shows a Panavision 35mm Camera with a Remote Wide Angle Lens on a robotic arm. No stereoscopic attachments.

Now that news lends itself to a number of issues: Will the final result be inferior to a classically shot end to end 3D production? Will the 2D material seem flatter than the 3D CGI that is being created for backgrounds and Johnny Depp's Mad Hatter - even with post production? Why are they shooting it this way - Does Tim Burton have cold feet when it comes to 3D cinematography? Does Disney have something up their sleeve in this post production process that we have not seen yet? Disney obviously have an immense library of 2D movies that could be converted to 3D - it makes sense that they may have been working on proprietary technology to enable such mass conversions. Perhaps they have mastered it - perhaps even surpassed expectations and have surprises waiting for us that we have never seen before?

Either way, this is a surprise. I am taken aback by it and until I hear or see differently from the production itself, I will be skeptical. I was looking forward to a pristine 3D production from Tim Burton and company - not a conversion. I am completely open to be wowed by what they are doing, but I cannot say I am not disappointed at this stage. Look - I am a fan of 2D to 3D conversions, 100%. But currently I view the technology as best used for converting the massive amount of 2D movies sitting under utilized in vaults and not necessarily for new movies. What is the motivation here?

I sincerely hope they pull it off though. The talent they have amassed is astounding and there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn't have a huge box office hit on their hands. Other than it not being a native 3D production that is.

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