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3D Setup time?


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#1 Benjamin G

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 02:41 PM

I'm considering shooting an upcoming feature in 3D. But the schedule is tight and I'm trying to figure out roughly how much time is added on set when shooting in 3D? I think anything more than a 10% increase in time (on set) is a deal breaker for me at this point. Post production time is not a concern. Any information from someone experienced in shooting this format would be hugely appreciated.

Thanks in advance

Edited by Benjamin G, 05 October 2011 - 02:42 PM.

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#2 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 05 October 2011 - 05:06 PM

At the start of the year I shot a 3D film, we used a Red camera beamsplitter rig for A camera and an SI2k beam splitter for B camera.

I used the SI2k because the the dual red rig weighed in at about 80 pounds which would have made handheld or steadicam work very impractical to say the least. Shooting through a prism affects your final color palette as it introduces a strong tint to the image. The red held up very well in correction, the SI2k less well. Now that there are Epics more freely available hopefully the SI2k 3d rig will quickly become a thing of the past.

Here the thing - a 3D camera such as the ones I described consists of 2 cameras. At the simplest level that means that each mag change is two mags, the camera weighs twice as much, each lens change is two lenses. Also, since you're using a beamsplitter you lose half your light, so you'll need lights twice as powerful.

That is not all however - not only do you need to change two lenses at a time, but those lenses have to be perfectly matched in terms of focus, iris, and zoom. Sometimes the lenses drift and you have to recalibrate them, this can also take time. The cameras also need to be phase synced and matched, and you'll be generating twice as much footage.

However, I don't know if it's possible to quantify it down into an exact percentage of how much longer it will take to set up. A lot depends on your planning and choices: we put the red rig on a dolly with a slider, and many times we ploughed through setup after setup as fast as any 2d film. On occasion an issue came up and we simply had to wait until it could be fixed.

In the end we finished the film on schedule - we did have a couple of long days, but don't you always? I believe that you end up adjusting elements (coverage, lighting, camera moves) to compensate for the gear you have to make the project work.

If I were really pressed to answer simply, I guess I would say, yes, shooting 3D will take more then 10% longer then shooting 2D. But I think it's a little too complex to break down into something that simple.
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#3 Benjamin G

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 01:06 AM

That's great information, thank you. I know there is no for sure way of quantifying the extra amount of time it takes so I was just looking for experiences/opinions. Which is what you gave me, so thanks again.

For this coming project we would be using RED epics. So handheld would be out of the question, but I generally don't like handheld and prefer dollies anyways.

You say you finished on schedule, I'm assuming the schedule was created with the extra time for 3D in mind? If so, do you have any idea how many days were added on?
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#4 Mathew Rudenberg

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Posted 06 October 2011 - 02:20 PM

That's great information, thank you. I know there is no for sure way of quantifying the extra amount of time it takes so I was just looking for experiences/opinions. Which is what you gave me, so thanks again.

For this coming project we would be using RED epics. So handheld would be out of the question, but I generally don't like handheld and prefer dollies anyways.

You say you finished on schedule, I'm assuming the schedule was created with the extra time for 3D in mind? If so, do you have any idea how many days were added on?


The show actually went 3D rather last minute, strangely enough. After some debate I believe the schedule was not, in fact, extended. We did get slightly more lighting gear and crew, especially the camera department. I would say that between going over a couple times and shooting slightly less coverage the difference was compensated for.

I should also say that there are definitely rigs that can go handheld or steadicam with Epics - just the particular one I used (with Red ones) was too heavy for that.
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