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Saturday, January 31, 2009

"Avatar" Facial Mo-Cap Team T-Shirt! And Who Exactly is Doing the "Avatar" Facial Capture Work?

Michael here.  I recently got a hold of another Avatar t-shirt (see three more Avatar shirts--exclusively shown to MarketSaw--here, here, and here!), this one with the words "Avatar facial capture team" on the front in green, and green dots forming a face on the back.


Seeing this shirt brings up a question - how is facial capture being handled on Avatar? As we reported back in August, Image Metrics has some kind of working relationship with the Avatar team, as demonstrated by the following quote from Jon Landau, which, up until recently, was featured under "What Our Clients Say" on the Image Metrics website:

"Image Metrics’ revolutionary technologies for performance-driven character animation require neither complex motion-capture hardware, nor specialist technical knowledge. Their animation solutions put the performer at the heart of the process, dramatically enhancing the creativity and reducing post-production time. It is this type of innovation that will again allow us to present to the consumer, stories that could not otherwise be told." 

What, then, to make of all the dots on this t-shirt, when Image Metrics' claim to fame is their system's ability to capture facial movements without the use of dots and markers?  

Is another company doing Avatar facial capture work, in addition to Image Metrics?

Hopefully, no matter how the facial capture is being done, Cameron and his team will be able to successfully cross the Uncanny Valley.

If anyone out there would like to shed some light on this, please chime in below or send us an email!  Also, if you worked on Avatar and have any cool crew gear that you'd like to show off, we'd love to see it!




Very Big Pics Of A Very Big Woman: Ginorimica

Jim here. Thanks to Colin over at Get The Big Picture for giving me a heads up on these (I think he has a thing for tall women anyway). You can see the ultra high res shots on his site.

So Dreamworks Animation is getting more serious about showing off their MONSTERS VS. ALIENS handiwork - If you look at the high res shot of Ginormica (Reese Witherspoon) and The Missing Link (Will Arnett) you will see just how detailed their interpretation of human skin is - and I must say it is very detailed.

After watching the video on my post about photo realism, it is kinda different to see this level of detail in what is clearly a stylized attempt at representing the human body. It looks GOOD mind you, clearly they haven't crossed over into something weird or anything - to the contrary. But it does seem to be getting close to the maximum amount of realism within a stylized frame - if that makes any sense.

DWA has clearly spent a lot of time on this movie. It shows. Can't wait to see the final result!

Friday, January 30, 2009

3D Spinoff "Puss In Boots" Gets Writer


Jim here. HR is reporting that Dreamworks Animation has signed on Tom Wheeler to pen the SHREK spinoff movie PUSS IN BOOTS which will be made in stereoscopic 3D.

The main character is voiced by Antonio Banderas and already has a massive following after the success of the original franchise SHREK - which also has a fourth installment coming out: SHREK GOES FOURTH, May 21, 2010.

There seems to be a very real chance that there will be some high-seas antics for the movie as Wheeler is currently working on CUTLASS ISLAND and just finished CAPTAIN COOK'S EXTRAORDINARY ATLAS. By the way, I am a direct descendant of Surveyor General, Captain Samual Holland who actually taught James Cook how to navigate and instilled the passion for the profession that lasted his lifetime. Just thought that is a cool thing to throw in there! :-)

Stay tuned for more on PUSS IN BOOTS when I get it... This movie has a shot at beating the originals at the box office if you ask me.




Thursday, January 29, 2009

Quick Post: Aja's "Piranha 3D" Pushed To 2010

According to Bloody Disgusting, Dimension Films has confirmed my suspicion that Aja's PIRANHA 3D has to be moved due to it's late production start this year.

No surprise there right? WRONG. The date that Dimension has given for the release is March 19, 2010 - only 2 weeks after Tim Burton's ALICE IN WONDERLAND (March 5). Not only that, but Dreamworks Animation's HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON opens just a week later (March 26th)!

Obviously there are some serious scheduling conflicts present that will have to be worked out. Hopefully by 2010 there will be enough theaters to hold two 3D movies concurrently, but with HTTYD opening a week later? Impossible, even in the best case scenario.

Let's keep our eyes on who blinks first...

Want To Get Your Hands On 3D PC Gaming? Try It Before You Buy It...

Jim here. Wondering what all the 3D gaming fuss is about? After this years CES everyone is buzzing about 3D and all of its applications - 3D gaming is right at the top of the list!

Now comes the opportunity you are not going to want to miss: iZ3D is teaming up with Fry's Electronics and MicroCenter Stores this Saturday, January 31st to give everyone a hands-on demonstration of their 3D 22" widescreen LCD display. Fry’s Electronics stores are located in California, Arizona, Texas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana and Nevada. Micro Center stores are located in California, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia. For more info on locations and what to expect - go to www.3Drulez.com. They list all the compatible games there too - and man, is there ever a lot of them!

More details on what you'll see:
The Plug n Play iZ3D 3D monitor package includes:
- 22-inch wide screen 3D/2D keyboard switchable LCD monitor
- 3 pairs of passive polarized 3D glasses (5 other models are available online)
- iZ3D Stereoscopic 3D and Anaglyph 3D software drivers (other drivers are available online)
- Power and video cables
- Quick-start guide
- Free membership into iZ3D’s upcoming 3D gaming network
- 1 year warranty
- Technical support and customer service

Monitor specifications are:
- 22-inch wide screen LCD
- 1680 x 1050 resolution
- Up to 170-degree 3D viewing angle
- 5ms response time
- 700:1 contrast ratio
- 16.7-million colors
- 300 nits

This is an excellent opportunity to try out the new 3D technology before you buy. Get out to Fry's or MicroCenter this Saturday! If you couldn't make it to this year's CES, the next best thing is bringing it to you - isn't it?

iZ3D is a sponsor of MarketSaw


Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Got Your "Monsters Vs. Aliens" 3D Glasses Yet?

Jim here. Thought I would bring some more attention to the upcoming 3D commercial during halftime of the Superbowl.

A good friend of mine, Jason Bayless of Zombie Popcorn sent me some images of what the glasses look like. Interesting that they have to label which side is left and right! I guess there is no way around providing these to the swarms of folks who have never seen how glasses kinda drape over ears to hold them in place...

You can get your free 3D glasses at these selected locations: Kroger, Ralphs, Frys, Safeway, Supervalu, Albertsons, Food Lion, A&P, Pathmark, Coburns, Fairway, Fresh Brands, Hy Vee, Nash Finch, Roundy's, Winn Dixie, K-Mart, Dollar General, Hess, CVS, Meijer (1/31) and Target (1/31).

As much as all the effort (and money) that Dreamworks Animation is putting into the promotion of MONSTERS VS. ALIENS is well intentioned, I hope that they do succeed in this campaign. The movie looks great after all...

I do recommend checking out their MvsA site here. They have done an excellent job with it - definitely wasn't just thrown together like some movie sites. Hope you get to see the 3D commercial! Don't forget that NBC is also airing CHUCK in 3D the next day, so don't throw them away.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New "Monsters Vs. Aliens" Posters Hit The Interwebs!


Jim here. Have a look at these new posters (via JoBlo) - characters that obviously stand out in the movie: Dr. Cockroach is played by Hugh Laurie, Ginormica is played by Reese Witherspoon, Gallaxhar by Rainn Wilson and The Missing Link by Will Arnett.

You can easily see the homage to the 1950's with the font being used.

I am not overly thrilled with the posters to tell you the truth. Nothing I didn't expect to see after seeing the B.L.O.B. poster back in December. Just calling 'em as I see 'em. No doubt the characters will be endearing, but I guess I am looking for something to catch me off guard about MvsA... you know?

Maybe the Superbowl commercial will spice it up a little :-)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Quick Post: "Tintin" Gets A Title, Screenwriters and Casting

Exciting news today from Paramount and Sony: Jamie Bell (DEFIANCE, JUMPER) will be Tintin, along with Daniel Craig (QUANTUM OF SOLACE) playing Red Rackham in THE ADVENTURES OF TINTIN: SECRET OF THE UNICORN!

Steven Spielberg will be helming the first iteration of the franchise and joining Bell and Craig will be Andy Serkis, Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Mackenzie Crook, Gad Elmaleh and Toby Jones.

Announced writers today are Steven Moffat (DOCTOR WHO), Edgar Wright (SHAUN OF THE DEAD) with Joe Cornish with the screenplay duties.

Release is slated for 2011. Principal photography starts TODAY!

I love these choices! I was impressed with Bell in JUMPER and thought he carried his scenes very well - quite athletic too which will be important in the performace capture.

Daniel Craig is of course no slouch and should be interesting to see how performance capture works on 007.

Well now I am stoked! A 2011 release as well! Love it when a plan comes together... Bring on Jackson!


The Darker Side of "Coraline"

Jim here. This was what I was waiting for from Laika - the darker side of CORALINE. We all knew it was in there, but to date it had been fluffed over with the behind the scenes clips and the dazzling new world that is Coraline's.

But this is Henry Selick! You know - THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS Henry Selick. And if you have read Neil Gaiman's book, then you know that there are going to be some very interesting treatments to be explored throughout this movie.

So have a watch of the latest CORALINE trailer - it's on the darker side... :-)



CORALINE opens February 6th!

Friday, January 23, 2009

RealD Responsible For Over 70% Of "My Bloody Valentine 3D" First Week Box Office

RealD DELIVERS 71% OF THE $27 MILLION PLUS FIRST WEEK GROSS FOR LIONSGATE’S MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D

Film is first feature ever to release in more than 1,000 digital 3D locations

Los Angeles (January 23, 2009) – In what marks the widest theatrical 3D film release to date, RealD, the world’s leading outfitter of 3D-enabled theatres, brought in 71% of the total box office for Lionsgate’s MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D, which topped $27 million in its first week of release. Verifying the growing strategy of releasing films in 3D, opening week 3D screens outperformed 2D screens 6:1.

“We are proud of the great opening week that Lionsgate had with MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D in RealD theatres,” said Michael Lewis, chairman and CEO of RealD. “3D continues to be the bright spot in the industry and it’s clear that audiences responded to the promise of this superior filmgoing experience in RealD 3D.”

Steve Rothenberg, President of Distribution for Lionsgate said “We are thrilled over the fantastic audience response to MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D. Lionsgate has been a leader in horror innovation, so it was important that MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D be a showcase for today’s 3D as an immersive experience and not just a gimmick. RealD helped make that possible, and these opening numbers are proof of the film’s success.”

Presented in stunningly real, cutting edge 3D projection, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D stars Jensen Ackles (TV's "Smallville" and "Supernatural"), Jaime King (THE SPIRIT, SIN CITY, SIN CITY 2) and Kerr Smith (FINAL DESTINATION, "Dawson's Creek"). A remake of the 1981 horror classic, MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D is directed by Patrick Lussier from a screenplay by Todd Farmer and Zane Smith, based on a screenplay by John Beaird, story by Stephen Miller, and is produced by Jack Murray.

About RealD (website: www.reald.com)

RealD is the global leader in 3D, bringing the most advanced and enjoyable digital 3D experience to cinemas worldwide. RealD’s next-generation technology, deployed across the world’s largest 3D platform in 34 countries with over 1,600 screens, provides a stunningly realistic viewing experience. Beyond cinema, RealD is the worldwide inventor and provider of key stereoscopic technologies used in science, manufacturing, marketing, and other industries, with thirty years of scientific development behind its systems. RealD’s mission-critical 3D visualization technologies are used by organizations such as NASA, Pfizer, BMW, Boeing and more.

RealD is a sponsor of MarketSaw

Paramount Offers To Pay Print Fees Directly To Theaters!

Hey guys - Jim here. GOOD NEWS! ...And a quick catch up here - last year a consortium of players (AMC, Regal and Cinemark) joined together to obtain about $1 billion to finance the conversion of their theaters to digital and it was very good news indeed.

Then the credit crunch hit and money dried up fairly fast - even for money making ventures like the movies (which don't seem to suffer AT ALL during hard times).

Enter the studios and in particular Paramount, who are getting very anxious to get the theaters converted to digital and to provide the required equipment for 3D add-ons from companies like Real D. So Paramount has stepped forward today acoording to Variety and offered to pay the print fees directly to the theaters if they can finance their own conversions.

A print fee is representative of the old system of printing off copy reels of the original movies and distributing them to theaters across the country. It was expensive to do this. With digital movies, the print fee is practically eliminated and now the studios are saying that perhaps we will pay theaters this "virtual" fee (for digital movies) if they are willing to invest as well.

Apparently there are about 1,250 theaters converted to 3D from the 5,620 digital screens that are available (and growing).

Paramount will pay a "virtual print fee" to any theater owner that converts at least half of all of it's screens to digital and will pay even more of a fee for 3D conversions.
"We urge all studios to give this creative option a fair chance," John Fithian of the National Association of Theater Owners said.

This is awesome news. I had not expected movement from the studios on a wide scale on this front but the end result of higher profits is the golden carrot enticing everyone along. Great to hear this!!

Just What Is The Uncanny Valley?

Jim here. Many of you have read about the "Uncanny Valley" before on MarketSaw and some have asked for an explanation of what it means. I would type out a response to them and whip it off to them, but was never REALLY satisfied with what I had said, because I am a visual kind of guy.

James Cameron is attempting to cross this valley with AVATAR in 3D no less. It is a massive undertaking that is certainly having its trials and tribulations over at WETA. I have heard from a number of sources that all is not well with the effort and that Cameron has been, shall we say, "upset" with the results thus far.

That doesn't mean that WETA will not deliver, far from it. I think that they will and it certainly was in the best interest of the movie to delay it until December. But let me tell you that the effort has been monumental in trying to achieve photo-realism for AVATAR.

Personally I have had enough of the stylization attempts for human emotion (Wall-E is nice, but I want to forget that the human on the screen is well, not human at all). Yeah, stylization has it's place but I have seen enough of it as representing the best we can do. I want photo realism. The time has come and man, if Cameron, Weta and Image Metrics can deliver... You will demand it too. You are going to witness history with AVATAR in more ways than one.

A reader has sent me a video clip that does an OUTSTANDING job explaining just what the Uncanny Valley is and how it applies to movies and gaming. Take a look and understand just how hard it is to achieve photo realism:

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Poster and Leaked Clip are "Up"!

Hi, Michael here.  Check out this new poster and teaser clip from Disney/Pixar's Up.

The clip is from Sony's CES keynote, and is a more recent version of some of the incomplete footage that director Pete Docter showed off at Comic-Con last summer.

From everything I've seen and heard, Up looks to be another instant classic from the geniuses at Pixar.  I can't wait to see how they use 3D to take their stories to even grander heights.




Poster source: Yahoo! Movies

New "Monsters vs. Aliens" Behind The Scenes Featurette AND What You Can Expect...

Jim here. Take a look at this new behind the scenes featurette from MONSTERS VS. ALIENS: "The Future of Filmmaking".

Pay particular attention to the scenes in which Phil McNally and his team are using their handheld, 3D Virtual Camera to experiment and achieve the best viewing angles for the movie's audience.

See how they can simply move the camera and alter the angle of what is being seen on the screen? That is because the software has captured all known angles from which to work from - now that is powerful. James Cameron is doing the same thing - only with live actors! In either case, the director is able to go back in post-production and alter anything he wishes: angles, lenses, depth - it really is amazing.

Let me take the time now to really thank Jeff Katzenberg for the evangelism that he is putting into 3D. Sure he has a large invested interest in the format, but a lot of it is coming from a different place - vision.

When I started MarketSaw back in late 2006, I knew 3D was going to take off and I was surprised that no one else was really reporting on it. I just so happen to love the format (even the old anaglyph glasses) but to have modern technology deliver on the promise of immersive 3D - I had to be a part of it.

So Katzenberg and I have something in common - as does Cameron/Pace and even Zemeckis; a passion and vision for 3D. Mark my words, the movies that you will REALLY want to go see initially are the result of the passionate filmmakers in these first few years. While others catch up, they have been toiling away with the processes and equipment to come up with today's results. It should be mind boggling. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS should be a home run. The 4 P's of marketing are all addressed: Product (Awesome looking movie; seemingly intriguing story), Price (a little extra for 3D but worth it), Place (New 3D theaters are springing up everywhere) and Promotion (Superbowl - need I say more).

But I will add a last P to that mix: Passion. Look for it in the studios and directors and you will stand a better chance of seeing something memorable and not just entertaining. Disney is another good example of a studio jumping with passion into 3D.

As said, Dreamworks Animation is going full out on the marketing for the movie by taking out a Superbowl ad and distributing close to 150 million 3D glasses across the country. Awareness is key and while I may not particularly like how the marketing is being done, the need exists. So my bottom line is: Go Dreamworks!

Oh and Phil, I finally have an image of you to put up on MarketSaw! Reclusive fellow aren't you? :-) Speaking of passion for 3D - Dreamworks Animation is lucky to have you.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

"Condition Dead" To Be Shot In 3D? "My Bloody Valentine 3D" Sequel? It Is Being Discussed...

Jim here. Moviehole's Clint Morris recently interviewed Patrick Lussier (MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D - photo on left) and the topic of his next project came up, namely CONDITION DEAD. Here is Lussier talking about 3D:

"Condition Dead would be a perfect 3D movie... It's an aggressive gritty zombie movie with the tagline: When the Dead Rise... Leave it to the professionals.

The story centres on a team that polices 'outbreaks' of a certain kind all over the world. But this time, the outbreak proves to be different than expected.


It's a great script by Dave Davis and would be a blast to make and even more fun to watch.
"

And on a MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D sequel:

"Todd (Farmer) and I have a great concept for the continuing adventures of those who might survive. But we'll have to stay tuned and see if we're lucky enough to make that."

I think Lussier has got the chops to make this happen now. He did a bang up job on MBV3D and if you haven't seen it yet - get out and see it in 3D! It is well worth it and loads of fun. I am fairly sure you will see a sequel as well as more 3D projects from Lussier - hopefully CONDITION DEAD!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Concept Art: "Disney's A Christmas Carol" & Spoilers

Jim here. Collider got their hands on some scans of DISNEY'S A CHRISTMAS CAROL concept art and it is right along the lines of what I have already posted here and here from the actual movie poster and stills.

I will reiterate that Disney is keeping the imagery to be very Dickens indeed and old London looks stunning and inviting (at least the shots I have seen). Insert Robert Zemeckis' wonderful performance capture prowess and you have what should be an instant Christmas classic to be watched on future Christmas Eves on your 3D Home Entertainment system... of course!

How far can Zemeckis take us down this journey? All the world is a canvas with motion capture so it is really only limited by his imagination - and one would imagine that Jim Carrey is ready and willing to fulfill any wish that he might have in this pic.

I am reprinting some of the spoiler info that was originally posted here back in March 2008 as I thought there is some very interesting items in it in light of the poster and stills we have seen:

**SPOILERS BELOW** Highlight the white text below to read the contents:

OVERALL COMMENTS:
- A Christmas Carol is full of Jim Carrey humor: Lots of yelling, screaming and facial expressions.
- He plays 4 characters at least - Scrooge and the ghosts. This is not new info of course, but confirmed.
- Michael J. Fox is DEFINITELY in the movie (IMDB shows it as a rumor). He has plenty of lines that are pure Fox humor - always down on himself, and very SARCASTIC. My source did not pass on what role he is playing however, although IMDB has him as Tiny Tim.
- There is a "Beggar" character that is constantly piping up with witty one liners throughout the movie. He will be seen carrying a cup.

JIM CARREY RELATED:
- There is a scene where ALL THREE of Carrey's ghost interact. They don't speak English either exactly - they speak with thick accents and the words don't sound right. There are actually spaces -or gaps of silence - between their words. Weird! Sounds awesome, but very odd. Right up Carrey's alley to be sure!
- Jim Carrey does A LOT of improvisation here. This is to be expected, but now it has been confirmed by a source. Apparently this improvisation has been a part of the movie since it was written! This openness to creativity has all been approved and made to happen by Zemeckis. Good on you Bob! They have a lot of confidence in Carrey and justifiably so. The guy cracks me up - always has.

SANTA CLAUS RELATED:
- YEP! THE BIG GUY IS IN IT. Remember little Sammi Hanratty letting this slip? Well it has been confirmed by my source.
- Santa wears - get this - a red and PURPLE Santa suit!
- My source heard John Goodman could be the actor in this role but he was NOT sure, so do not count on this. Only count on seeing Santa Claus in it.
- You can expect the REINDEERS to talk! Yep. Apparently Rudolph doesn't like Blitzen and they all have very unique voices.
- Santa and the reindeer don't have a very big impact on the film as far as storyline goes, but you can expect this part to be HILARIOUS. It's more like a cameo appearance :-)
- Apparently Santa is thinner in this movie than others.
- Sammi Hanratty is the character that interacts with Santa and the reindeer. I suspect it is her catching him performing his "Christmasly duties".

**SPOILERS ABOVE** Highlight the white text above to read the contents:

So, yeah - I am pretty hyped about this movie; that's why it is number 3 on my list of the Top Ten Most Anticipated 3D Movies of 2009. Stay tuned for more when I get it! :-)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Review: "My Bloody Valentine 3D"







In a word - entertaining! If you haven't checked it out yet - or if your local 3D theater has been sold out the past couple of nights - try and try again. And yes, 3D is definitely the way to see this movie.

Right from the start I knew I was witnessing something special and innovative. With the rolling of the Lionsgate corporate intro complete with 3D gears and flying through their keyhole to view their logo - the anticipation was palpable. You could hear the packed in audience gasp at the vividness and immersion of the 3D - and the movie hadn't even started yet! By the way, that 3D logo was "dimensionalized" by In-Three.

I must say that the director Patrick Lussier used light to his advantage extremely well during the movie - from the very dark mine tunnels and miner's helmet lights (hard to pull off as 3D tends to be dim) to the interior and day lit exteriors, he instills a sense of actually being there that is a first for me in a feature film (U2 3D being a concert).

Some very innovative 3D techniques were used for the gory parts of the movie (that earned an R rating from the MPAA) and while I won't go into details as it would ruin it for you - suffice to say that you will definitely be entertained by them. In one particular murder, the audience actually becomes the victim momentarily and that sends your mind reeling in empathy. For more on the technology behind the 3D used here - check this out.

The ending is satisfying. More than not in horrors, things just don't end up right - well you can count on a great ending here with some twists that you may not have imagined.

Worth every dime folks. Get out and enjoy the first 3D movie of 2009, especially with your loved one - just as how they have marketed it. Perfect job, I might add. Marketers, take a bow. Should be some massive box office for all concerned.

"Piranha 3D" Update: Shooting In 2009 Says Aja

Jim here. Got an update on PIRANHA 3D from Alexandre Aja via ShockTilYouDrop and it looks like principal shooting will take place in 2009:

"We're definitely shooting in 2009," he says. "I don't know about the release date, it's difficult to tell but at the end of the day, we have to do what's best for the movie. It would have been insane to have shot the film this winter on the water."

"I'm finishing storyboards now and using the time to improve the script to get the best action and story gags as possible," adds Aja. Asked to explain the Piranha concept art revealed in November, he says, "That's one of the concepts. There are many because, visually, they'll be different. Like GREMLINS not all of the piranha will be the same."

This sounds like an awesome premise! Imagine different Piranha with different ways of eating flesh in the hands of Aja - should prove to be very a interesting final result for us.

Be sure to read the full details over at ShockTilYouDrop.

Friday, January 16, 2009

"My Bloody Valentine 3D" Opens Today

**Update Jan 17: The only 3D trailer in front of the viewing that I saw was CORALINE, which I had seen before so I was disappointed. I hope other areas enjoyed some more 3D trailers!

With all the excellent reviews coming in (FilmSchoolRejects, AICN) I think it is a DUTY for you as a 3D fan to get out and check it out! :-)

Seriously, from what I am hearing the movie is above average and in 3D really delivers. So get out and see it! And let us know what you thought...

Your mission: A quick review and tell us what trailers played in front of MBV3D and if they were in 3D or not.

Unless you are under age - this thing is rated R. SO NO MINERS MINORS ALLOWED! :-)

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The Tech Behind MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D: Silicon Imaging and Paradise FX

**Working on some behind-the-scenes shots from MBV3D - stay tuned...

Jim here guys. Had a great opportunity to talk with Ari Presler, President of Silicon Imaging (SI) today and thought you would like to hear about some of the projects they have been working on - including MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D (MBV3D).
We also hear from some very talented folks who work with the SI equipment regularly. I have done posts previously on the RED cameras, now lets take a look at the other heavy hitter in digital 3D: SI.

The first photo on the right is of MBV3D's Howard Smith and director, Patrick Lussier operating a Si-2K 3D Mini Rig on Steadicam. You can see the portability of the rig and ability to adapt to challenging environments.

Silicon Imaging had one of its first test shoots with its new camera technology done on MUTANT CHRONICLES with Thomas Jane and Cinematographer, Geoff Boyle. It was at that time Thomas decided to develop DARK COUNTRY in 3D. You can see in SI's press release: 2K Digital Cinema Camera Streamlines Movie and HD Production where they recognize the unique capability of the SI-2K Mini and its ideal potential for shooting 3D.

"The Silicon Imaging camera is truly amazing," states Cinematographer Geoff Boyle. "The SI-2K MINI is small enough to be placed directly in a scene for point-of-view shots, used on robotic arms for model photography or incorporate two side-by-side for stereo 3-D. We used it on MUTANT CHRONICLES, a Sci-Fi feature with over 1500 visual effect shots. We shot flames and explosions using the 72fps slow motion mode and the recordings display smooth tonal gradations and natural colors. Finally, the director can immediately see full-resolution instant replays, without having to wait for film dailies or color correction."

Thomas Jane and Geoff Boyle connected with ParadiseFX (Max Penner and Tim Thomas), who were in the midst of building a 9-camera SI-2K 360 system for flight over Niagara falls. Here is a discovery Channel coverage of the shoot.

SI collaborated for several months to get our first Si-2K 3D Mini systems into the Sony Pictures / Thomas Jane production with Ron Perlman. The SI-2K steadicam rigs opened up a new way to shoot compelling 3D content with film-like results, on the move and in the scene. See release here.

“The physical size of the Silicon Imaging 3D rigs completely redefine the scope and potential of 3D cinematography," says Director of Photography Geoff Boyle. "For instance, the variable interocular rig on our MK-V-AR Steadicam weighed approximately 10lbs, and our fixed interocular version came in at a feather-light 3lbs. While most of shots had the cameras mounted in the Steadicam rig, there's really no limit to where you can mount these things. Our camera mounts are only part of the story though; where the true revolution lies is that we've now been given a visual language and stylistic choices that nobody has ever seen in a 3D movie before. Had we utilized any other camera system, there would have been nothing new to see – it would have looked like any other 3D film shot in the past 50 years in terms of the physical restraints of how or when we could move the camera. To bring a thriller car-chase movie like DARK COUNTRY to life, we simply couldn't make those compromises."

"DARK COUNTRY is a film that I wanted to express in a manner that remains true to the stylistic choices of film noir, while delivering an immersive reality and visceral experience that only the next generation of 3D cinematography could provide," says DARK COUNTRY Actor/Director Thomas Jane. "Every medium brings a life of it's own to the story-telling process, and with DARK COUNTRY, I wanted audiences to be there, to be in the car with the characters, and make the story their own with a heightened sense of physical contact never experienced before. The mobility and physical expression in each shot we were able to achieve with the Silicon Imaging camera rigs truly transformed my personal vision into a living and breathing visual reality."

The work on DARK COUNTRY, now in post, was the basis for the camera technology and techniques brought to bear for the shooting of MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D written by Todd Farmer (Jason X).

ParadiseFX built an even smaller 3D-rig for MBV3D with additional wireless controls around the SI-2K Mini. The two cameras are shooting the same scene thru a beam-Splitter. One camera is on top seeing a reflect image from the beam splitter and the second camera is looking forward. This is from the scene in the forest.

At approximately the same time as Patrick Lussier was directing MBV3D in Pittsburgh, Danny Boyle and Anthony Dod Mantle were shooting the award winning (4 Golden Globes) SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE, with the same core technology, just in 2D.

The SI-2K Camera rigs and the ParadiseFX team are now on-set shooting with THE HOLE 3D with Joe "Gremlins" Dante.

The word on the street is Thomas Jane is now working with writers Todd Farmer (MBV3D) and Tim Bradstreet (Punisher) on DEVIL'S COMMANDOS 3D.

Several other SI-2K 3D are currently in production (see below) and while we can't discuss the projects yet, here are some interesting and certainly, question generating images. Looks like fun!

You have got to love it when technology and passion come together - great things happen. That's why I feel very safe in saying projects like MBV3D and THE DARK COUNTRY are going to look very stunning visually. Not only because of the people making the movie, but the passion that goes into the technology as well.

Thank you Ari for your time and in giving our readers a glimspe of what happens behind the scenes with new 3D technology. Enjoy the secret set snaps below...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Joe Dante's "The Hole 3D": Behind The Scenes Clips

Jim here. Take a look at some behind the scenes teaser clips from our friends over at MovieSet for Joe Dante's THE HOLE 3D - thanks Graham. Personally, I can't get enough BTS clips as you get a true flavor for what is happening in the movie and how well the crew is interacting - their passion if you will.

These teasers are pulled from the full length clips available over at MovieSet. Have a look at those as well!







I am a big fan of Joe Dante (Gremlins, Innerspace, The Howling, Piranha) and excited to see him back in his native horror genre with full steam. Stay tuned for more when I get it!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

CES 2009: Autostereoscopic 3DTV Roundup

Hi everyone, Michael here with an overview of the autostereo (no glasses required) 3DTV's that were on display at CES.

Let me start off by saying that no piece of tech on the CES show floor (save Samsung's touch screen vending machine) drew crowds as big as those in front of the autostereo displays. The average attendee's reaction usually progressed from "wow, that's amazing!" to "I have to stand in certain spots for it to work" to "I can't wait until they perfect this." A lot of people seemed truly boggled by what they were seeing, as if they were witnessing magic.

Alioscopy

Alioscopy's 3DTV had the sharpest resolution, deepest 3D-effect, as well as the most inconspicuous transfer between views of all the autostereoscoic displays I saw at CES. From what I learned from the Alioscopy reps, their high quality 3D is a result of a prioprietary lenticular screen and pixel interleaving routine which maintains the highest resolution possible, along with special 3D authoring software to create the 8 viewpoints used in their display. Alioscopy's demo of potential medical applications of autostereo (in the form of 3D images of the human body) was particularly impressive.

Samsung

Samsung's autostereo 3DTV was just a notch below the Alioscopy demo in terms of image crispness and fluidity of transition between viewing angles. The range of viewing angles in their 9-viewpoint autostereo system was quite wide, too.


LG


LG's display featured the least pronounced 3D-effect of the three. The image also seemed the most pixelated. Nevertheless, this display--as well as all autostereo TV's shown on the CES floor--drew many "oohs" and "aahs" from attendees.

I heard from someone on the last day of CES that Phillips also had an autostereo set on display, but that it was being shown in the Hilton Hotel, away from the other major consumer electronics companies. If anyone who has seen the Phillips display would like to chime in below, I'd really appreciate hearing what you think of it.

Jessica Alba Wears Pajamas To The Premiere Of "My Bloody Valentine 3D"?


What was she thinking? Sure she just had a baby (didn't she?), but still - this is a pretty public place wouldn't you say?

Perhaps she has invented her own form of martial arts complete with a new Gi.

I am sure she wants to get the nod from James Cameron for Battle Angel - but... don't think this route will work necessarily...

Unless she DOES have a new martial art form perfected. Hmmm.

Three New "My Bloody Valentine 3D" Clips You May Not Have Seen Yet

**UPDATE JAN 14: Check out Harry Knowles excellent review of MBV3D in his own particular... idiom. Great job!

Jim here guys - check out these new film clips from MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D from Movieweb via GetTheBigPicture:







Are you feeling it? I think the 3D on this thing is really going to impact how I soak this in. Can't wait! MY BLOODY VALENTINE 3D opens THIS FRIDAY.

Monday, January 12, 2009

James Cameron Endorses Panasonic's 3D Products: For On Set And At Home

Jim here. Thanks Darkoo for another great heads up! Here is a Panasonic presentation about their 3D TV systems with a testimonial from James Cameron.

Panasonic were not the only ones showing off their 3D enabled flatscreens at CES - Sony, Samsung, LG, Mitsubishi and Philips also flexed their 3D biceps. Be sure to listen to the excellent 3D TV panel discussion that Michael captured here.

James Cameron speaks briefly here about endorsing Panasonic products and the use of them on AVATAR. Michael already scrapped up the knowledge that Cameron used Panasonic's 103 inch flatscreen for their dailies.

Another very interesting item about this video is that it shows the foliage behind Cameron is GREEN - and not blue or another alien color. Is this further proof that the flora on Pandora is green and not blue? Or just a coincidence that he was standing in some hotel lobby talking about AVATAR's flora? No coincidence I think.

Personally I love Panasonic products - they seem to be tackling 3D head-on and for that, hats off.

ANOTHER New AVATAR Photo - This One Doesn't Disappoint!

**SECOND SAME DAY UPDATE: I heard from the source that originally gave me the chamber info that this one looks very similar to the "avatar connection" ones that he saw - only they were much more vertical than horizontal.

Also he said that the circular area behind looks like the main security command area on the planet. He said that the command area was getting A LOT of attention so he thinks many of the scenes will be shot there.

He confirmed that this is definitely NOT one of the two labs (there is a very large lab and a smaller mobile lab that Weavers character spends a lot of time in). The lab areas have benches, equipment, girders and stuff hanging from the ceiling.

He conjectured that perhaps Cameron had this photo taken when many elements from different sets where all in one place. Could be!

From all that I have heard my feeling is that it is indeed the COMMAND CENTER behind Cameron and I am on the fence regarding the chamber - either it is a "avatar communication chamber" or perhaps a travel stasis chamber.

Jim here. WOW! A very exciting AVATAR photo this time courtesy of the NYTimes.

Features James Cameron standing behind one of his AVATAR chambers used in the movie! This is the chamber that humans lie down in to "connect" with their "avatars" on the planet Pandora.

**PERHAPS NOT! SAME DAY UPDATE: A reader over at Slashfilm states:
"I am a production assistant on this movie, I cannot disclose too much since I am under a contract not to say anything. First off, this is a space shuttle, as you can tell, the green screen is the front window and that circular area in the middle is the control station. Much like the movie Alien, the pod that James is looking at is a hyperbaric chamber where the crew sleeps while traveling at light speed. Since this movie takes place in a epic mystic future on a distant planet, its interesting to see how James mixes space and fantasy in this 3-D epic event. I feel I have said too much, but I have been an avid reader of slashfilm for sometime now and I really like the work you guys put into this blog. I hope this was some insight to the movie since this is all I can contractually say, I know the official trailer will be released with Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen... Woops, now I've said too much, but thank god the internet can be anonymous!!!"


Hope you don't mind me posting the whole comment Peter - but it is quite interesting! That being said, it is hard to imagine a Production Assistant disclosing ANYTHING about this movie - let alone a release date for the trailer. This could very well be bogus. We shall see!

I had an earlier, first hand description of these structures from an eye witness way back DURING production if you will recall - you can read more about what he had to say here although clearly they are not upright! They must have changed this aspect of the labs.

The ever present green screen is in behind what looks to be the control room area for the chambers. And if you look closely, the chambers are filled with some sort of clear fluid. Interesting!

It is suspect that Signourney Weaver's character plays a large role in the discovery of being able to control their avatars through such a system.

It seems Fox is set on releasing their official AVATAR images through large media newspapers like the LA Times and NY Times so far. Here's hoping that they start to look at the blogoshere for some exclusivity (*ahem* - MarketSaw).

What do you guys make of the chamber?

Original photo courtesy Mark Fellman, Fox


Sunday, January 11, 2009

CES 2009: "Minority Report" Come to Life: Toshiba Shows Spatial Motion Interface

Hi - Michael here.  Toshiba is showing off a really cool user interface for televisions based on hand gestures.  I gave it a try, and discovered it to be surprisingly sensitive.  After about a minute of figuring out how big and fast to make the motions, I was navigating the interface with ease.

Now imagine something like this as an interface for 3DTVs, or as a control method for 3D games. Hopefully Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft are taking notes.

Watch the video below to see the Toshiba representative taking it for a spin:


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