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October 2015

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STEREO 3D 12 POST OCTOBER 2015 t's been a busy year for Burbank- based Stereo D. The six-year-old company has made some serious inroads in the stereo 3D space by being the studio of choice for filmmakers such as James Cameron and Steven Spielberg, who chose the company to convert epic films such as Jurassic Park, as well as this summer's blockbuster, Jurassic World, to stereo 3D. In 2015 alone, Stereo D has been responsible for the 3D imagery on SpongeBob SquarePants: Sponge Out of Water, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Mad Max: Fury Road, San Andreas, the afore- mentioned dino romps, Marvel's Ant-Man and, most recently, Universal Pictures' Everest, from director Baltasar Kormakur. Post recently caught up with Stereo D president William Sherak to discuss the company's work on the epic mountain- eering drama. Can you talk about Stereo D's work on Everest? "Every filmmaker has distinct ideas about the 3D look of their films, so we try to get involved as early in the process as possible. In the case of Everest, our process began with our head of stere- ography Graham Clark meeting director Baltasar Kormakur on-set in the Italian Dolomites to get a sense of his overall vision. He had seen our work on Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy, and was incred- ibly enthusiastic about the conversion process. Since he owns RVX, a visual effects studio in Iceland he founded with Everest VFX supervisor Dadi Einarsson, his knowledge meant the dialogue with our team quickly developed into a verbal shorthand. Once the film elements began arriving, we proceeded to rotoscope every object in every frame, then add depth, paint — meaning to fill in the oc- clusion created by adding depth — and composite. It's a process whereby literally dozens and dozens of people touch the shot multiple times before it ever goes out for review." What tools did you use? "We combined our proprietary software, systems, and the pipeline we have de- veloped working on over 40 films with commercial products like Silhouette and Nuke. Our paint department uses a lot of clean plates, compositing, and custom techniques. Our dailies and re- views are all conducted from any of our four state-of-the-art theaters with our own feature conform using the Quantel Pablo system. It's important to mention that our most valuable resource is our crew of amazing artists, producers, editors, and technicians. We have over 1,000 employees worldwide. The best tools and software in the world don't matter unless they are being used by talented and creative individuals." What was your understanding of what Kormakur was looking for in the 3D? "Along with tight close-ups during the dramatic scenes, Everest features a lot of sweeping vistas, and top-of-the- world-type shots. In his first meeting in London with our stereo producer Mark Simone and stereographer Dave Phillips, Kormakur was very clear that he wanted what we call 'deep backgrounds,' to see details in the mountain ranges and valleys, as well as the spatial relation- ships between ridges. To make up for the increased volume in the background, we needed to create sufficient space between foreground characters. The ice- fall crossing scene is where as a viewer, EVEREST STEREO D CLIMBS TO NEW HEIGHTS FOR 3D CONVERSION I Sherak (inset) lead Stereo D's 3D conversion work on a number of summer blockbusters.

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