Find millimeter on Facebook

Related Articles

Robert Rodriguez Returns to 3D HD

May 9, 2005 3:14 PM

      Subscribe in NewsGator Online   Subscribe in Bloglines  

Robert Rodriguez Returns to 3D HD

By Michael Goldman

Just a couple of months after his digitally complicated HD movie Sin City hit cinemas, director Robert Rodriguez returns in June to the 3D genre with Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D. The entire production and postproduction approach for the new movie was based, for the most part, not on Sin City’s workflow, even though Rodriguez shot the two movies back-to-back on the greenscreen stages at his Troublemaker Studios in Austin, Texas. Instead, SBLG was produced on the model he used for his previous feature, Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, in 2003. Those two efforts place Rodriguez alongside James Cameron at the cutting edge of using high-definition technology to make 3D, feature-length, theatrical movies.

On the production side of the equation, Rodriguez again used the Vince Pace/Cameron-designed Reality Camera System, used by Cameron on his recent 3D films, and by Rodriguez on Spy Kids 3D. That system tapes performances (in this case, on a greenscreen stage) using two customized Sony HDC-950 cameras in a specially designed rig. In this rig, the camera sensors are placed 70mm apart in order to capture left-eye and right-eye imagery for later blending with CG environments and other elements during the post process. (For a detailed look at the post process for Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D, see the June issue of Millimeter.)

This time, though, Rodriguez noted that the Sony cameras, the Fujinon lenses used on the project, and the Reality rig have all improved, making production much more efficient. That was an important factor for Rodriguez, considering he had a tighter schedule than ever before to make SBLG, since the movie had to travel through his production and post pipelines directly on the heels of Sin City.

“For one thing, the newer (HDC-950) cameras are much stronger, and the rig locks them together much better than a couple of years ago,” says Rodriguez. “(The rig) was Vince Pace’s basic design, and he trained our guys on it, but he was off shooting a movie with (James Cameron) when we went into production, so along the way we figured out our own tweaks to the system, and different techniques than we used last time. We also recorded to the new Sony SR-1 portable HD deck, and I believe we had the first ones available (two, actually) in the U.S. when we started this project. That allowed us to record two streams of HD onto a single tape, and to watch 3D playback on set and freeze frames while doing so. That makes this entire system more stable.”

Rodriguez adds that the Sony HDC-950 cameras capture greenscreen with no problems, because they capture in 4:4:4 color space. “It was real easy to pull mattes from these plates, it’s easier to light, and it’s less expensive than it was in the past to do these things.”

Keefe Boerner, visual effects producer on the movie and a longtime visual effects coordinator for Rodriguez, says the production used two of Pace’s Reality systems with two HDC-950 cameras rented from Pace’s company, Pace Technologies. It also used two HDC-950’s owned by Rodriguez, and two HDW-F900 cameras, also owned by Rodriguez and used for the 2D portions of the movie.

“We always had two 3D rigs available,” says Boerner. “One was always on a crane and one was always on a dolly, meaning we never had down time if Robert wanted to change from a dolly shot to a crane move. The shoot went very smooth—it was a more efficient process than we used on (Spy Kids 3D).”

(See the June Millimeter for more on making Shark Boy and Lava Girl in 3D.)

Share this article

Continue the discussion on Crosstalk the Millimeter Forum.

© 2015 NewBay Media, LLC.

Browse Back Issues
Back to Top