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Old November 13th, 2009, 03:06 AM   #1
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Stereoscopic shoot with EX's and NanoFlashes.

Well we have just completed the first 3 days of shooting in London and so far all has gone very well. We have been at the mercy of the weather and the short daylight hours but so far everything has gone very well. The firsts days filming was around the City of London, primarily focussing on the buildings and overall cityscape. For this I used my usual side-by-side camera rig comprising of an EX3 on the left with the zoom handle and grip removed and then an EX1 on the right. The rig has a sliding rail for the EX3 to allow inter-axial (separation) adjustment and a convergence adjuster for the EX1.

The minimum interaxial with this setup is about 4.5″ (140mm) which is OK for scenics and the kinds of wide cityscapes we need for this shoot. A rig with closer spacing would be needed for working with any subject matter closer than around 15ft (5m) from the camera. With EX’s this would mean a mirror rig and mirror rigs introduce a whole host of extra problems. Problems such as differences in polarization (and thus reflections), white balance and exposure introduced by shooting through a half silvered mirror with one camera and shooting the reflection in the mirror with the other. On top of this you have to work with one image that is upside down and back to front!

So why do I use an EX1 and an EX3 and not a pair of EX3’s I hear you ask? Well the viewfinder on the EX3 cannot be removed and it’s design means you can’t get two EX3’s close together, the viewfinder gets in the way. However you need Genlock to keep the cameras in sync and only the EX3 has this. As the picture quality from the EX1 and EX3 is identical you can use them together for 3D shooting. The EX3 is Genlocked to the EX1 by connecting the EX1’s Y channel of the component output to the EX3’s Genlock in connector.

I am also using a pair of Convergent Design NanoFlashes. By using these I can record at a higher bit rate and in 4:2:2 as opposed to the EX’s 4:2:0 color space. Using the NanoFlashes brings several advantages, as well as improved picture quality.

The guys at CD made up a custom remote that triggers both NanoFlashes together and in sync. This makes editing the stereoscopic material much easier. By setting the left NanoFlash to use the embedded timecode from the EX3 and the feeding the EX3’s timecode out to the right NanoFlash both recorders have matching timecode. A single button put’s both NanoFlashes into record and the button flashes red to signal recording is taking place.

The second day of the shoot was an evening and night shoot around London’s West End. For much of this I shot using the EX’s slow shutter and timelapse to give those wonderful streams of lights and people as they move through the darkness. I can’t post any footage yet, but as soon as I can I will. During the night shoot I found my 3D rig a little awkward and cumbersome so I made some adaptations and had the Mk3 rig ready for the 3rd dat of shooting which took place at Canary Wharf.

For the much of this part of the shoot my new rig was used on a Stedicam operated by DP Dave Crute. Dave is new to 3D shooting so I acted as mentor and helped him with framing and understand what would and would not work in 3D. Dave is a very experienced Stedicam operator and I think between us we were able to get some really dramatic stereoscopic images of the modern buildings at Canary Wharf. The new modified 3D rig worked very well. The principle changes being to mount the two NanoFlashes in a tray under the rear of the two EX’s. A single V-Lock battery is mounted at the front of the rig under the camera lenses. The arrangement is more robust, easier to transport and the the center of gravity is right under the middle of the 2 cameras which makes it easier to use with the stedicam.
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Old November 13th, 2009, 04:36 AM   #2
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Hi Alister,
thanks for sharing your experience. That sounds great. I would appreciate any pictures of your set up. As you have Genlocked the EX1 & EX3 the time code is synchronized I understand. Interesting, that this is working.

The remote the CD guys built for the two Nano's - that's what would interest me. Is it really, that you can get 100% sync with that? Is it something they can build also for others, do you have a reference on the item?

How about focussing, iris, zoom?
Have you filmed on full manuel mode - if so, are the White Balance results the same in EX1 & EX3? Or have you used a similar Picture Profile?
Have you monitored the 3D output on set (for example with the Stereobrain from Inition)?

Once again, thanks for sharing.
Best regards from France,
Jürgen
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Old January 16th, 2010, 11:43 PM   #3
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Coming late to the party, as I only found this thread by accident while googling on timecode and nanoflash things. Anyway...

Allister sounds like a fascinating gig. Has it gone any further since your initial shooting?

3D sure is getting a lot of airtime these days in professional circles. I guess it's time for me to bone up!
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Old January 17th, 2010, 10:06 AM   #4
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The shoot is progressing very well. We have another day of shooting tomorrow with a pair of Sony HXR-MC1P sync'd via Lanc and recording to NanoFlashes. These cameras are used when we need small interaxials (separation) without the bulk of a mirror rig. I can't talk too much about the project at the moment due to client confidentiality. This is just one of many 3D projects I have on the go at the moment. I am talking to a well know stage show about producing a film for theatrical release in 3D and have some productions in the pipeline for Sky 3D.

It's all very exciting as it's not a simple as picking up a camera and going out to shoot. Different shots need different rigs. I am in the development stage of new equipment including a lightweight mirror rig for EX's, a full colour stereoscopic viewfinder and a 3D on-set HD monitor.

For the "big shoot" we have completed several aerial sessions over London, many days of filming in city locations and have started work on the stereoscopic graphics. It should all start to come together over the next few weeks as we move from shooting to post production.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 03:14 PM   #5
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Hello Alister,
I find this very interesting and would love to hear more on equipment set, work flow and how you edit the NanoFlash files if you are able to share it.
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Old January 17th, 2010, 06:10 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alister Chapman View Post
I am in the development stage of new equipment including a lightweight mirror rig for EX's, a full colour stereoscopic viewfinder and a 3D on-set HD monitor.
Do keep us posted on that, Alister!
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Old January 18th, 2010, 06:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lance Librandi View Post
Hello Alister,
I find this very interesting and would love to hear more on equipment set, work flow and how you edit the NanoFlash files if you are able to share it.
Check out Alister's Website, there are more detailed information and some pictures:
XDCAM-USER.com 3d
Best regards,
Jürgen
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