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October 2010

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[ cont. from 32 ] 3D STEREO ROUNDT ABLE self when dealing with other houses when collaborating on a film, that they proba- bly do not have the options we have for working on and finishing shots.We have the absolute luxury of knowing that if we can get close, the shots here can be finished in roto and paint for those final frames of touch-up.That being said, and with the continual up- grading of our in-house software, you can only clone over so much procedural work. Although strokes can be duplicated you can’t pull over plate reconstruction because then you bring the grain or noise structure with it.That sticks out like a sore thumb on stereo pro- jection. Roto is conceivably more straight forward but at a certain point the interoccular values and towed-in cameras make it impossible to just use one set of off- set splines for both eyes and ignore the issue of where in the motion blur to set the spline.You see that prob- lem exaggerated in poorly converted 2D movies, which often use less experienced roto artists or try to automate too many things in an effort to reduce the time and effort necessary to extract the other eye.” SAROKIN: “On a stereoscopic project, little fixes can often be a very big deal. In a traditional 2D job, a small paint fix can often be accomplished rather quickly. With stereo, not only does one have to fix two plates, but those two plates have to match up and not create any visual disparity.This makes things much more tricky because the images can look per- fectly fine individually but when combined, it looks wrong. Stereo compositing really removes a whole bag of tricks that a compositor can rely on, but at the same time it simply pushes you to create a new bag of tricks that work for a stereo project.” LAMBERT: “Some shots we can roto the dominant eye and then apply that to the non-dominant eye very easily, other shots require us to roto each eye sepa- DIGIT AL ACQUISITION [ cont. from 26 ] my Avid before Lisa has even Wiegand gets her HD dailies delivered on a seen them!” memory stick.“I love it — they’re so easy to down- load, and I don’t have to go to the lab to watch them,” she says. Next Element also makes a DVD viewing copy for the set, and posts a digital version of the dailies to a secure Website at ABC Studios so executives have first-thing-in-the-morning ac- cess as well. Editors cut the show in HD on an Media Composer Nitris system.“We stay tapeless, so we send Avid bins to Next Element where the show is assembled,” Rab- win explains.“They deliver drives with the assembled master to Level 3, which handles color correction, ti- tling and visual effects drop ins.Then Level 3 manufac- rately. I would say it’s roughly half and half, with the same rule of thumb applying to paint as well.” POST: How different is working on a 3D stereo shot project as opposed to a conversion? COX: “Conversions are a bad thing.The same as taking a black & white film and making it color.To a programmer, the result of black & white to color con- version looks great.To a filmmaker, it’s all wrong be- cause if it were originally shot in color, the lighting would be different, so would the make-up, art direc- tion, etc.The same for 2D to 3D conversion.Yes it might look 3D, after a fashion, but that’s not how it would have been shot if it were known to be 3D.The only reason to be positive about 2D to 3D conver- sion is if you’re making money from it.” CREAN: Although converting 2D to 3D stereo is tures an HDCAM SR master and delivers a D-5 720p 16x9 with 5.1 and LT/RT for broadcast.The network extracts a center-cut 4x3 for non-HD viewers.” Wiegand is reteaming with Level 3 colorist Larry Field on Detroit 1-8-7 following their partnership on Dollhouse.“I felt strongly about working with a colorist with whom I had a strong relationship and clear com- munication,” she explains. “Larry does great work on Lustre, and I have developed a shorthand with him. I’m really happy to be working with him again.” Wiegand and Rabwin are unanimous in praising the P2 post workflow.“We had no problems at all when I did Dollhouse and almost half of the season of Detroit 1-8-7 is done and we’ve experienced no problems,” she reports.“The workflow is fantastic,” he echoes. [ cont. from 49 ] THE SOCIAL NETWORK He’s not just a colorist, he’s an ‘imagist,’ an image manipulation expert. “On this film David (Fincher) speaks so logically about process,” recalls Cioni.“He wanted to capture images, and to have the best catalog of what hap- pened in that moment. David wants to efficiently manage what is captured and to have exclusive con- trol over its manipulation.” “David had the camera,” says Vertovec,“and loved the look of it. He loved the low-light capabilities.”The MX sensor, he says, turns the Red One into a completely dif- ferent camera.“The noise in the blacks is almost non-ex- istent unless you are gaining it up extremely.” In a traditional digital intermediate workflow, con- tinues Vertovec, you get an EDL list from the editor, you conform it, color it and deliver it. In the case of The Social Network, conforming was done by editorial. “David’s editorial teams have always been one step ahead of everyone else.They do it all internally be- cause they have the competence to do it right. I coor- dinated with Tyler Nelson on exactly what color certainly more engaging and enjoyable to look at than traditional 2D imagery, there is no substitute for shoot- ing native stereoscopic.This is especially true for ex- treme close-ups on complex, organic shapes like that of a human being.You will have to spend an inordinate amount of time in a conversion figuring out how to separate the elements of your subject matter into ap- propriate layers for placement in 3D space, and then rotoscope all of those different pieces. It’s a painstaking process, which will eventually get you a ‘feeling’ of depth without the real intricacies of true stereoscopy.” ALEXANDER: “You get a certain sense of ‘stereo’ space and what gamma curve we wanted to debayer in,” explains Vertovec.“We debayered the files into Red log just to have a good gamma curve that had nice shadow detail and a nice dispersion of bits. He supplied DPX files and I worked on those uncom- pressed files.All of the Red native, internal color space is done at Rec. 709, so if you want to have the color on screen that was seen on set you should do your creative work in that color space.” He notes,“There was a lot of attention to detail all around” on this movie.“We had a good size team on it doing all sorts of split screens and stabilization. So there was a lot of coordinating between editorial and effects vendors.” They did not use color correction to do any “re- lighting” of scenes but, he says amused, “there’s a ton of power windows everywhere.” The final output is a 2K DCP. “I did the creative space monitoring in linear color space, which is truer to the DCP,“ he says. By Daniel Restuccio for free when working on a project that was devel- oped and shot with the process in mind. For conver- sions, the need to rotoscope out all the levels you want means compromise must be made as to how much continuous depth you will give the shot. Folks are working furiously to automate a faux full-dimen- sional world to project and extract continuous layers of images.The algorithms will get better over time but the challenge remains — you still have to make up lots of slivers of images for the second eye that do not exist. Compounding this, if you miss by a pixel or two you drag a foreground edge into the layer behind it.The level of rotoscoping detail necessary to do a conversion successfully is quite high.There is definitely an art to resolving all the edge issues, and for it to be economic you really have to have stereo workstations where an artist can look deeply into the shot and fix every little glitter or stretch that is incorrect without having to walk somewhere else to see their work.On a project that was shot in stereo you get lots of ancil- lary depth cues.You’ll see a table or a plant you would never have bothered to convert on its own because of the additional cost. But those elements give so many more continuous depth cues that make the shot look less like a multiplane extraction.” SAROKIN: “Well, for a conversion, the process is basically finishing the shot in 2D, then deriving a stereoscopic version from it which can have some is- sues. Doing the shot from the ground up in stereo is a much better and truer form in that the footage and visuals represent much more accurately what the human eye would see.” LAMBERT: “I haven’t yet worked on a 2D to 3D conversion.” October 2010 • Post 55

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