Home of Professional Cinematography since 1996

A Brief History of 3D

Published : 18th June 2011

Everyone, can I ask your advice please?

We are making a documentary on the history of 3D ? stereo photography and films? presented by Brian May for Sky’s new 3D television channel. Many of you know already that Brian is a passionate collector and author on stereo photography pioneers.

We will be interviewing some key inventors, innovators and experts such as Ray Zone, Vince Pace, Robert Zemeckis and so on.

I want to make sure we get everything right and get the right people in the film to tell the full story (well as much as I can in a TV hour).

Is there anyone significant that is usually missed that you can recommend we involve in the film?

Any thoughts gratefully received.

All best

Darren Bender
Producer

Biggerpictures
Independent Film
http://www.biggerpictures.co.uk
Elstree Studios
Shenley Road
Borehamwood
WD6 1JG
UK
Tel. +44 (0)208 324 2150
M: + 44 (0) 779 867 7807


Darren Bender wrote :

>>We are making a documentary on the history of 3D ­ stereo photography

>>We will be interviewing some key inventors, innovators and experts such as Ray Zone, Vince Pace, >>Robert Zemeckis and so on. Is there anyone significant that is usually missed that you can >>recommend we involve in the film?

Cool! You came to the right place.

I'm sure you'll agree that any relevant history needs context and perspective and maybe a little controversy. Since you've obviously got a solid grasp of the low-hanging fruit I'd like to suggest a few additional elements.

We seem to learn more from overcoming difficulties than we do from easy success. Perhaps you might consider including our very own Geoff Boyle. He has had both the balls and the humility to chronicle his notable adventures in stereo production well before there was a dedicated forum for it.

As far as breaking new ground and pushing the leading edge of stereo acquisition, we all know and respect Vince Pace. One might also consider the highly innovative work being done by companies that shy away from publicity such as Evergreen Films.

The most successful 3D movies are animated, and many of them go through the hands of DreamWorks’s Phil "Captain 3D" McNally (I believe that is his legal middle name). He is probably the best, the brightest and most accessible of the studio Stereographers / Supervisors / Yodas. No disrespect intended to the other luminaries in this field.

Conversion is a huge topic, and one that really needs to be addressed. The International 3D Society (of which many of us here at CML 3D are members of) has voted Tim Sassoon as the most outstanding craftsman in that field. I doubt that anyone here would disagree, or that you could do better.

Internationally, the world of 3D conversion gets really interesting. Shasha Shapiro's outstanding stereo conversion on the upcoming Nutcracker 3D will set a new qualitative price-point for conversion. His Russian based facility is using a custom pipeline that greatly economises the workflow.

There are two rather formidable conversion houses in the Philippines that are joining forces to create a very low cost conversion pipeline. A rather new Korean company manually supervises the auto recognition code that is the basis for the JVC 2D3D1 auto-converter and works it into a conventional matt-cutting pipeline. The resultant time savings is nearly as amazing as their quality.

You've got John Textor's Digital Domain conversion facility going in down in Port St. Lucie, Florida - which just happens to be as far away from Hollywood as you can get without getting wet. A new piece of custom written software (remember that DD's last in-house application turned into Nuke) will be used by a workforce that they're recruiting directly out of local high-schools and paying $65K a year to start. There has got to be some good sound bites there.

The single most massive conversion facilities, and the big dogs on the block are of course both coming out of India. PrimeFocus is probably the largest conversion facility in the world and RelianceMedia is simply the largest production company in the world with a conversion
facility that is headed up by a hot-shot team that was hand-picked and stolen from PrimeFocus.

There is a lot more to S3D than hooking up a couple cameras - Workflow is a big part of it. One of the premier pipeline teams in the world is London-Based (which should be convent for you) and is headed up by Tom Horton and David Fowler. Their equivalent below the equator is Australia's Ben Baker. All highly inspiring people to hang out with and listen to.

Percy Fung out of Hong Kong is a internationally regarded pioneer in stereo production. He has a wealth of compelling projects to pull clips from and is a very passionate and articulate communicator.

Much of our contemporary methodology was developed years ago for 3D location based entertainment and theme park venues. Iwerks is the first place you should hit up followed by Landmark Entertainment Group,
Disney Imagineering and maybe Namco for their upcoming 3D arcade games.

Z-space cameras are already upon us. Soon they will be delivering compelling alternatives to conventional methodology. Marty Brenneis at Kerner Group would be a great place to start.

Keeping our soldiers alive in foreign wars ranks high as far as relevant uses of stereo3D goes. There are a number of government and military organizations that are using 3D quite effectively to heighten situational awareness and give our soldiers a definitive edge in areas
of conflict. Check with me off-list for contacts.

Lastly, as much as we all love watching a good 3D movie, the majority of S3D work is being done in NVS (Non-Visible Spectrum) - again, off list.

Scott Billups
Pixelmonger


>> Digital Domain... paying $65K a year to start

Zut alors! That's pretty high, especially for "South Alabama". You sure about that?

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


>> Digital Domain... paying $65K a year to start

Zut alors! That's pretty high, especially for "South Alabama". You sure about that?

They got enough money to burn a wet mule. Here's a quote and a link from one of many sources -

"Textor said he would not make new projections for jobs created by the company, which has an agreement to hire 500 people by 2014 with an average salary of $65,000."

http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-11-19/news/sfl-digital-domain-psl-111910_1_visual-effects-stereoscopic-digital-domain-institute

Scott Billups
Pixelmonger


>> "Textor said... an agreement to hire 500 people by 2014 with an average salary of $65,000."

Well, AVERAGE salary isn't the same as STARTING salary, now, is it? But that's still a surprisingly good deal for Florida. Kudos to them.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


>> Well, AVERAGE salary isn't the same as STARTING salary, now, is it? But that's still a >>surprisingly good deal for Florida. Kudos to them.

I heard on FOX that you guys elected a communist as president. Acts have consequences, you know, and now everybody is on the same payroll, from the cleaning crew to the production moguls. Hence the average pay is the starting pay. Cool...Time to learn how to sing "the international" ?

By the way 500x65Kx(2011-2014)=$130M ... That's just the payroll, and OTOH, hiring will be all along the 4 years. Let's say minus payroll, plus computers, building and various bills, and we are even. Someone bets 130M$ on 3D conversion. I'll mention that next time someone naysays "3D is dying".

Bernard Mendiburu/
Stereographer, Consultant
Los Angeles


>> Someone bets 130M$ on 3D conversion. I'll mention that next time someone naysays "3D is >>dying".

But wouldn't that total include DD's VFX work? Which may well be the greater part. Still a significant commitment, any way you shake it.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


Hello, Darren:

I believe we received a telephone call requesting footage from U23D for this project earlier in the week, and we're delighted about that. I also wanted to mention our founder, Steve Schklair, who has been working in this medium for well over a decade, and is very knowledgeable about its evolution. He's in the UK now, as a matter of fact. If you'd like to chat to him, please contact me and I will put you in touch. In addition to relating some excellent history, he can also give you some ideas about other folks to reach out to.

Regards,

Angela Wilson Gyetvan

VP, Sales and Marketing
3ality Digital
55 E. Orange Grove Ave.
Burbank, CA 91502
818-333-3004


>> I believe we received a telephone call requesting footage from U23D for this project earlier in the >>week,

Hi,
Haven’t seen any mention to Lenny Lipton!

All the best
--
Henrique Leiner
Director de Fotografia
Alameda das Mangueiras s/n lote 09
Barra da Tijuca Ilha da Gigoia 22640-330
Rio de Janeiro Brasil


We have him on our radar. Thanks Henrique.

Best

Darren Bender
Producer

Biggerpictures
Independent Film


Re who to cover re 3D print

Harvey Prever and Victor Anderson

You haven't lived unless you've seen Harvey's RKO lobby displays and 50s Lingerie POP backlit displays or Victor's fabulous 1987 back lit Mac Tonights.

Harvey's imagery done in the late 40s and 50s under the Umbrella of the Paul Hesse Studio on Sunset In Hollywood is rumoured on the net to be unequalled to this day for depth and quality.

His work is well discussed on the net if you search his name followed by 3D.

--
Meredith Day
Creative Director/Founder
MD3DA Creative and Print
Meredith Day 3D Photography
www.md3da.com
Studio: 323 645 6910
Fax: 323 645 6899
Cel: 310.562.5696


Thanks Meredith. Not one I had thought of. Will check that out.

Best

Darren Bender
Producer

Biggerpictures
Independent Film


Tim Sassoon writes:

>> "Textor said... an agreement to hire 500 people by 2014 with an average salary of $65,000."

Numbers are fun to play with.

One CEO earning $20,000,000 per year, plus 499 employees each earning $25,000 per year equals almost exactly 500 people with an "average salary of $65,000. per year."

Doug Hart
1AC, NYC


Tim Sassoon writes :

>>But wouldn't that total include DD's VFX work? Which may well be the greater part. Still a >>significant commitment, any way you shake it.

I believe that the bulk of DD's VFX work (especially the commercials) will continue to be handled out of LA. The Florida facility is in the running for several substantial military projects though - which could easily explain their desire to keep their operation domestic.

Scott Billups
PixelMonger


>> The Florida facility is in the running for several substantial military projects though - which could >>easily explain their desire to keep their operation domestic.

It could also explain the location in central Florida (Orlando has a major DOD research presence, including some substantial R&D involving things like augmented reality and other VFX and stereoscopic related things).

Michael Most
Colourist/Technologist
Next Element by Deluxe
Burbank, CA.

"Postworld" blog at http://mikemost.com


BTW, from the LA Times profile of Sydney Harman (husband of Rep Jane Harman, founder of Harman-Kardon and USC Prof) today, by my friend Robin Abcarian:

"I have vivid memories of our living room being covered with these ugly speakers that my mother of course hated — PA system speakers and wiring," said Barbara Harman. Her father would play test records — "a train going from one end of the track to another, or you'd hear a drop of water hitting something and splashing. All the kids in the neighbourhood would come in and everybody would sit around and go, 'Wow.' It was quite thrilling to witness the emergence of this new technology."

What's old is new again.

Tim Sassoon
SFD
Santa Monica, CA


Don't forget some of the pioneers from the 50's who are still at it. Chris Condon and John Rupkalvis who both have reworked their "special" lenses to now have PL mounts for RED and Phantom camera use. I have shot 3D tests with these old hunks of glass on modern cameras and was amazed at the results.

Let's not leave out Sean Phillips and Reed Smoot too.

Please include Peter Anderson, so he won't hunt me down. Thanx

Wayne Baker
3D Tech
Tibet & LA


>> Don't forget some of the pioneers from the 50's who are still at it.

Then you should definitely add Alain Derobe from France, now being over 70 still being a brilliant stereographer.

Stefan Albertz