Post Magazine

August 2012

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Bits & Pieces Solving alignment issues when shooting stereo H OLLYWOOD — 4K Films is a full-service video production company that provides equipment, crew, creative elements and post for music videos, PSAs, Webisodes, shorts, indie feature films and more. We do everything from video produc- tion and editing to equipment and studio rental, and we specialize in 3D. Our 3D set-up typically consists of either dual Red Epic cameras with a beam splitter or side-by-side rig, or single-body dual-lens cameras, such as the Panasonic 3DA1. This performance by Lucent Dossier was shot by Tom Funk (above) using an MC-100 attached to a jib arm connected to the cameras, with the output 3D monitor alongside it. addition, the MC-100 flips the image that's being reflected, allowing us to align the two imag- es perfectly so that left and right eye are seeing the same thing. From The goal when shooting 3D is to match the left and right eye (except for horizontal separation), so proper camera alignment is critical. There are so many vari- ables during shooting that can cause the left and right cameras to be misaligned. Misalignment leads to imperfect images and fixing those images in post is especially difficult. The ideal scenario is to align the cameras properly during the shoot to avoid the hassle of post production correction altogether — a task that's easier said than done. To increase the chances of proper alignment during production, we recently started using a Matrox MC-100 mini converter. Not only can the MC-100 mix the left and right signals into 3D formats via SDI and HDMI to an HDMI display, but it also comes with a critical fea- ture: analysis modes. When looking at footage in real- time on a 3D monitor, it's hard to pinpoint exactly where adjustments need to be made. The analysis modes allow us to compare the left and right cameras more accurately in order to align the cameras better. For a typical 3D production, the two SDI outputs go from the cameras into the Matrox MC-100 device. The video signal flows out of MC-100 via HDMI into a Vizio flat-panel monitor. Although we sometimes shoot with cameras side by side, usually we use a beam splitter. Beam splitters use 50 percent transparent light and 50 percent reflective light to correct for differences in the geometric parameters of the image. The MC-100's 50-50 analysis mode is critical in these sesituations. In 6 Post • August 2012 there we can adjust the cameras as needed. Another advantage of the MC-100 is the ability to shoot in either parallel or converged modes with the confidence of knowing we'll be able to do Horizontal Image Translation (HIT) — pixel-based convergence and divergence — to both video inputs on the fly dur- ing shooting rather than in post. On a recent shoot of some aerialist performers for the Contemporary Cirque: Aerialists, part of a series docu- mentaries produced by 4K Films, the MC-100 was attached to a jib arm connected to the cameras, with the output 3D monitor alongside it. We used the MC-100 to do initial alignment and then used it con- tinually throughout shooting to make adjustments. We started in analysis mode to align the cameras, and then switched to 3D mode to ensure we had a good 3D image. Thanks to the MC-100, I knew we had proper alignment because I could see it on the monitor. The Matrox MC-100 has become an indispensable part of our 3D workflow. Before, we had to rent pro- fessional HD-SDI monitors to help align the cameras, and even then, we ended up doing a lot of correction in post. Now, we have an inexpensive way of achieving exactly what we need, and we can do it using our own larger, less expensive HD monitors. By Tom Funk Stereographer/Producer 4K Films What Post Readers Are Up To: right now BOOKS: "'Flatland' by Edwin Abbott. I would recommend this to any visual per- son or to anyone interested in leaving this dimension. I also love pop-up books." FILMS: "Martin Scorsese's Kundun. Any of Hayao Miyazaki's films. Pan's Labyrinth, directed by Guillermo del Toro." TV: "I strongly believe that quality often has little to do with what shows we decide to watch on TV. We all watch some questionable television. That being said, I'm totally hooked on Game of Thrones, which has both quality and the ability to send me somewhere epic." MUSIC: "I'm all over the place in this category. I love all of the cliché oldies. Also Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens and Joni Mitchell for the lyrics she writes." MOST UNDERRATED TOOL: "My physical hands. I like to get 'traditional' and I find that (especially with clients in the room) where language and processing speeds limit my ability to express an idea, a piece of paper bridges the gap. Also helps me move the mouse around." Adam Ferrara Co-Creative Director QuietMan NYC

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