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3D Stereoscopic Production & Delivery
Discuss 3D (stereoscopic video) acquisition, post and delivery.

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Old December 20th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #1
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RED and 3D

Fairly recently, the RED Digital Cinema Camera Company released a brochure with their proposed releases for 2009.

To see the brochure, go to RED / Index and click either "Epic - More Info" or "Scarlet - More Info".

Near the bottom of the brochure, under the heading, "OH ... BY THE WAY. 3D" is a render of a RED 3D rig (a "handheld" or shoulder rig, in fact).

Jim Jannard (founder and owner of the RED company) has released a QuickTime movie which spins around the render so you can view it from different angles here:

From what I can determine (and I could be way off here) the RED 3D rig consists of two 2/3" Scarlet bodies (Brain only) at 2 X $2,500 each = $5,000, each with a 25mm T1.8 mini-RED prime lens (price?). Presumably, you could also use the fixed-lens Scarlets at 2 X $3,000 (Brain and Lens with 8X Fixed Zoom) = $6,000. The 2/3" Scarlets also have a "Complete Kit" (but I'm not sure exactly what is included with this) and a Complete Kit Scarlet sells for $3,750 each or $7,500 for the pair. So you could get a pair of fixed-lens 3D Scarlets for not too much more than a single PMW-EX1.

There's no indication yet (that I'm aware of) about the cost of their 3D frame. Looking at the render, they have a knob and slider to adjust the "INTER-OCULAR DISTANCE" and a large rotating disc under each Scarlet and a locking (or adjusting) knob next to each disc labelled "CONVERGENCE". The specs for the 2/3" Scarlet (released in the earlier, November brochure) show a width of 2.76" (about 70 mm) which, I guess, would also be the minimum inter-ocular distance.

Their render also shows two EVFs (called "BombEVF"s) mounted above the Scarlets so that the operator can look through both camera feeds at once. Now, I personally find this intriguing. Does this mean that RED is going to provide some sort of special feed to both the EVFs to simulate the "3D effect" on the big screen. Or does it simply mean that looking at the normal feed to both EVFs will give the exact same stereo effect as the big screen whether you like it or not (with no special or adjusted feed needed at all)?

The other thing I've been researching recently (regarding whether the 2/3" Scarlet would be optimum for 3D in the cinema) is the relationship between resolution and frame rates.

When my DP and I were watching the 3D version of "Journey to the Center of the Earth" several weeks ago, there was a point where we turned to each other and said, "Why would you ever need anything more than 1080p in the cinema?" (I believe the movie was shot using the Pace-Cameron system with two 1080p HDCAMs.) The images in that movie looked fantastic (in terms of their resolution, not to mention the 3D experience itself).

But I believe that this movie was projected with "ZScreen" which means 72 fps per eye. This may have affected our "perception" of the 1080p images.

I recently found an article of an interview with James Cameron where he said:

"They have been so focused on resolution, and counting pixels and lines, that they have forgotten about frame rate. Perceived resolution = pixels x replacement rate. A 2K image at 48 frames per second looks as sharp as a 4K image at 24 frames per second ..."

"So right now, today, we could be shooting 2-D movies at 48 frames and running them at that speed. This alone would make 2-D movies look astonishingly clear and sharp, ..."

James Cameron supercharges 3-D - Entertainment News, NAB / Digital Cinema, Media - Variety

Now, the 2/3" Scarlet has a 3K Bayer sensor which, after de-Bayering, might deliver a maximum of 2.4K "actual" resolution. So if you were recording with a frame rate of at least 48 fps, then it should be all you'd ever need for the cinema. And, if you require overcranking, the 2/3" Scarlet will go to 120 fps (with "bursts" up to 150 fps) according to the proposed specs.

RED seem to be very "serious" about developing the acquisition of 3D using their camera systems (purely my "gut feel" about it). I just wish that Jim would hold his cards a little less tightly to his chest!

Some other relevant parts of the Cameron interview (not direct quotes) which might concern the development of 3D rigs (especially RED's):

- he considers the inter-ocular distance to be like volume. So when you are doing fast cuts it's best to turn the "volume" down and reduce the inter-ocular distance.
- that slaving the convergence to the focus works exceedingly well and makes good stereography a "no-brainer" on the set. (I was very relieved to learn that!) This, of course, means to me that a good 3D rig (and especially the RED 3D rig) should have the ability to "slave" (and "unslave" if needed) the FF with the convergence knob. And means that you can therefore combine the "convergence puller" hat in with the focus puller. Keeps it nice and simple!
- he likes to compose his shots as he normally does - in 2D. And he has a Stereographer in the tent (watching the combined 3D feeds) who'll come running out and tell him if something needs adjusting for the stereo effect. So, perhaps the Stereographer (a separate hat to the DP and the Director) will be the only significant addition to the film crew(?). That way, the Director and DP can compose their shots as they normally do and then consult with the Stereographer for the best convergence and inter-ocular distance for that shot. And the Stereographer would then watch his monitors (with special 3D feed) like a hawk during each take. But it means that you'd need to hire a Sterographer who really knows his/her stuff! People like Alister Chapman, for example.

In the immediate future though, (until late 2009, when the 2/3" Scarlet is scheduled for release) a 3D rig with a PMW-EX1/EX3 combo shooting 1080p at 48fps should yield a stunning result in the cinema. It's a shame there are no professionally-made 3D rigs to mount them on. (Or are there?)
David Knaggs is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 24th, 2008, 12:44 AM   #2
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Thank you for the nice Infos.
The 3d Movie is the next generation (step) in the movie industry.
John Carsten is offline   Reply With Quote
Old March 27th, 2009, 08:27 AM   #3
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I realize this post is a little old, but the P+S technic rig does support the ex-3 cameras with a very nice result.

While I'm at it I sincerely doubt the ability of the RED setup to produce 3d that allows for live view with out a headache due to the large space between lenses. I was under the impression that in order to have good quality 3d that doesn't cause divergence the lenses need to be 15mm or less (for most shots). That rig looks like it'll only be good for super wide landscape shots.
I have a dream that one day canon will release a 35mm ef to xl adapter and I'll have iris control and a 35mm dof of all my ef lenses, and it will be awesome...
Nick Hiltgen is offline   Reply With Quote
Old April 6th, 2009, 08:54 AM   #4
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Actually Nick, the P+S Technik rig works great with the RED One cameras. Since it is a mirror rig the interaxial can be made very small (even overlapping entirely for 2D). Live monitoring is beginning to get easier with the Transvideo Cinemonitor HD3D and using something like Skymicro's Merlin05 card and a 3D ready monitor
Diana L. Janos
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Old April 11th, 2009, 11:25 PM   #5
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Hey Diana,

I realize that the red one rig works well with the p+s rig (I was at your workshop in L.A.) What I was referring to is the side by side setup that red is supposed to be releasing in the future (if you go to the web page you can see it) I feel that will be very limiting for cinema style work s it is a side by side rig. (unlike the rig that your company sells)
I have a dream that one day canon will release a 35mm ef to xl adapter and I'll have iris control and a 35mm dof of all my ef lenses, and it will be awesome...
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