3D Dailies for 'My Bloody Valentine'

One of the biggest perceived problems with 3D production is portability and ease of viewing. Sure 3D looks stunning but the problem is that it is so hard to view the 3D. Often it is late in the post process when 3D can be reviewed since the editor is cutting 2D. And then everyone has to schlep on over to the post facility just to have a gander. On My Bloody Valentine 3D, Technicolor hurdled these obstacles to provide 3D dailies just like normal 2D dailies directly to the Lionsgate offices where they could watch all the 3D footage to their heart’s content. Read the interview below with Dan Lion, VP of sales & marketing at Technicolor Creative Bridge on how they took the 3D footage from the Red and SI-2K cameras, processed it and delivered 3D HD dailies.

What was Technicolor asked to do on 'My Bloody Valentine 3D'?
We were approach by Lionsgate to do the 3D post production on My Bloody Valentine. They wanted us to help develop a workflow to deliver not just 2D dailies but also 3D dailies that they could view back at their offices. They chose to go with the Red One camera as well as the SI-2K camera. The Red One was the primary camera and they went with the SI-2K because it has a smaller footprint, which meant they could shoot into tight areas and use it handheld.

We provided all the back-end post production. Every day we got the media from production and we provided all of our normal deliverables — dailies in 2D as well as all the materials for editorial — and we also did the DI and the final output of prints. But the unique part of this was they wanted a low-cost way to view the dailies at the production office. We devised a way to take the left and right eye footage that they gave us, put it through our system, attach a look to it and output the material to a drive. The drive was delivered to their offices and connected to a server that we supplied as well. The server was connected to a 3D display, in this case a 46” Hyundai display with a custom polarized filter on front of it so Lionsgate could very easily play back dailies.

The system was designed to play back in 3D with passive glasses so there was no need for an emitter. It was simple, inexpensive way for them to see what the interocular looked like, assess the action, the color and everything else. Meanwhile, everything was going to the editors in 2D for them to start cutting. We used the RealD glasses with polarization. That worked well because you could also view the monitor at an angle, whereas with some of the solutions that require active glasses they really require the viewer to be directly in front of the display. We also set it up so they could take the system with them to events and screenings.

How did you handle the Red footage?
For the Red footage they would give us a drive of the R3D files. We would bring those into our system — in this case they wanted 1920 x 1080 HD dailies — and played them out in realtime, recorded to tape and then synched the audio with the hero eye (the right eye). Now we had two streams on HDCAM SR, one with audio, and then we took that footage import them in as files we could play out on our server.

What format are those files you are delivering?
We use MXF files and that is how we design our servers. It is a very high quality and efficient file format.

The cool thing was when we created the drive for them we took the ALE and indexed the chapters and they had random access to all their scenes. The server that we supplied came with custom software that was optimized for reading and playing back in 3D. In their production office we supplied them with the server, the display, and the proprietary software.

How were you getting the R3D files to MXF files?
On the Red side we used Assimilate Scratch to play in HD. Using Nvidia cards we were able to play it out and record in realtime to our tape decks. Some of the later builds of Red were not realtime on most processors but fortunately this was shot on builds before #17, so we were able to do realtime playback.

We used Scratch to do two things: to extract HD video from the R3D files and also to give us a way to go to other formats. We are very efficient leveraging tape, and synching audio to tape-based sources. It’s possible to render out to MXF with Scratch but that would have taken a huge amount of time so we just used our XDCAM workflow and were able to use XDCAM to as a way to turn video into MXF files.

The cool thing about the XDCAM workflow is that we have written a little utility to index the footage based off the ALE. We take the ALE, index the disk and then output to a FireWire drive and the client can skip through and select the chapters they want to view.

How much longer did it take to produce 3D dailies compared to the standard 2D dailies?
We were up to date every day. There was an extra step but for the client it was the same turnaround. Once we got the process down it wasn’t that much more work to create 3D dailies. Of course with the left and right eye you have twice the amount of data. Being able to take the ALE and automatically index it was a very critical part of making this efficient.

Another house dealt with the SI-2K footage but they basically used the same workflow, expect using Iridas tools to get the Cineform files out. They gave us HDCAM SR tapes and we would process them with our 3D workflow.

What are the misconceptions about 3D post?
3D offers so many more choices today on the production and post side that didn’t even exist two years ago. 3D today looks more realistic today.

I think the people that have worked in 3D realize that there’s a lot to learn but once you learn it, it is not that different than 2D in the workflow. But people that haven’t worked on 3D are daunted by it, thinking there is so much more that has to be done and it is going to cost a ton more. Of course the production is going to cost more, since you have a second camera and recording device and so you have double the footage you have to process, but overall the production is not going to be double the price it would be with a single camera.

By Matt Armstrong, StudioDaily