Elbow Live in 3D is the first 3D music programme made by HD-Music.TV. It aired recently on Sky 3D, and followed a successful collaboration late last year between the production company, Panasonic and Universal Music on the 3D Blu-ray Disc, Paul Carrack Live in 3D, writes David Fox.
They partnered with Live on Air, and the first 75-minute show featured the band Elbow in rehearsals for their arena tour, plus interviews with the band discussing the making of their latest album: build a rocket boys!
“The amazing thing about making records is that there is no audience when the recordings are made so the experience is not a shared experience but much more personal that creates a one-to-one connection with the listener,” explained Peter Van-Hooke, producer and co-owner of HD-Music.TV. “I wanted to bring that personal experience to the viewer too, just like it was directly in front of them. 3D enables me to do this. That said, the content has to stand up on its own, it can’t be the fact that its 3D alone that makes it special.”
They also wanted to make the process as cost effective as possible. “Part of the challenge was that we were entering into a new and very technical environment, but what we aimed to do all the way through was to simplify the whole process as much as possible.”
The project was a joint venture between Universal Music and HD-Music.TV as a 50/50 co-production. The shoot was planned around three days at the rehearsal studios in Wakefield and two days at the O2 Arena in London.
“Having decided that Elbow were the first artist to be filmed it was necessary to get Panasonic on board,” he added. “Panasonic came along with the AG-3DA1, an integrated broadcast quality 3D camera recorder, which gave us a way to get up close and personal to the artist and deliver the intimacy we were seeking.”
It used seven cameras positions with rigs for wider shots and the AG-3DA1 for close ups. It used six AJ-HPX3100 P2HD broadcast cameras and three AG-3DA1s, all recording in AVC-Intra 100 to six AG-HPG20 compact, lightweight P2 HD portable recorders with HD SDI inputs. Two AG-HMR10 AVCHD recorders were used to record a pair of Toshiba PoV cameras on a Polecam 3D rig for the point of view shots. Inition provided a Quasar mirror rig, a Calcutta side-by-side rig, a Polecam rig, two Stereobrain processors, three rig technicians, and a stereographer. The rest of the equipment was sourced from Top-Teks, with only 24 hours notice. The pairs of HPX3100 cameras were used on Quasar and SwissRIG mirror rigs, and a side-by-side rig.
Panasonic also supplied the 3D monitors: three BT-3DL2250 25-inch passive 3D monitors for viewing live feeds; and three TX-P50VT20 50-inch active 3D Viera televisions as large screen 3D monitors. Sky came on board as broadcaster, and Air Studios Post Production was used to finalise the output, to complete the programme within two months.
During post at Air Studios in Shoreditch, the technical team used Blackmagic Design’s DaVinci Resolve, which includes 3D tools and colour correctors. “What is staggering is just how fast all the technology moved on. What took one month, six months ago, was now taking us just three to four days,” said Van-Hooke.
From shot to shot, the plane of convergence was made the same so that the potential for eye strain was reduced and a lot of the 3D work was done in post. Things moved much faster than anticipated and the increase in speed meant Air Post was able to not only adhere with Sky’s quality control but also meet its deadlines.
“We think it’s really something quite special and we had comments that it’s some of the best 3D seen so far. Some of the scenes towards the end where the actual performance has been shot and the camera takes in scenes of the crowd, I feel, are truly captivating,” he added.
HD-Music.TV and Panasonic intend to collaborate further on 3D programming, probably using its latest AG-3DP1 shoulder-mounted broadcast camera.