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Major 3D wildlife doc preps in Africa

21 April 2010
Major 3D wildlife doc preps in Africa

A major 3D feature film tracking elephants in Africa is in pre-production following completion of a 10-minute pilot which evaluated five different 3D rigs on location, writes Adrian Pennington. The project is for theatrical and 3DTV release.

Wildlife filmmakers Mark Deeble and Victoria Stone are to shoot Distant Thunder over two years in the African bush using Silicon Imaging’s 2K mini cameras as part of the principal acquisition equipment.

A three week pilot shoot in Kenya was co-produced in association with Inition and P&S Technik and designed to put different sizes and configurations of mirror rig up against side-by-side rigs for field testing under a variety of conditions. Recording was made in uncompressed RAW data to solid state discs.

“The requirements of filming wildlife differ substantially from the normal 3D set-up of wide angle primes at close range,” says Stone. “The tests incorporated everything from telephoto and time-lapse to high speed and gyro-stabilized filming and used a variety of prime lenses and zooms.”

Dailies were played back on location from a P&S Technik OneBox and projected onto a two metre portable screen viewed using active shutter glasses. Corrections were made also on location using Iridas’ SpeedGrade. Post production was completed at Inition in London and Apuntalapospo, Barcelona.

“We always wanted to film a wildlife story in 3D, but until recently IMAX theatres were the only outlet, and the large format film equipment was so heavy and cumbersome that the technology got in the way of the story-telling,” said Stone. “The advent of lightweight digital 3D rigs has finally given us the right story-telling tools. 3D is such an immersive experience. It is perfect for wildlife.”

Inition’s Andy Millns and Campbell Goodwill were the stereographers and 3D consultants on the pilot and will provide technical support and consultancy for the feature.

The 90-minute project will be filmed and directed by Deeble and Stone with Liz Keynes co-producing. Gail Egan of Potboiler Productions, Alan Root and Sergio Lieman will exec produce.

The project was developed with the support of the EC’s MEDIA Programme, UKFC Lottery Funding , South West Screen, Cornwall Film Fund and BBC Worldwide.

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