‘Phone is Ringing Non-Stop’ Says View-D

Clash of the Titans might have failed to win universal critical acclaim, but it managed to take around $400m at the box office, helped hugely by Prime Focus's 2D-to-3D View-D transfer process. There’s even much talk of a sequel with a 2012 release date. It can hardly be a surprise when Clash sold 64% of the tickets at 3D theatres internationally last weekend. And almost all of the movie’s success is down to its 3D exhibition.

Martin Hobbs, who is leading the View-D team at London’s Prime Focus fully admits that View-D is not a substitute for “real” 3D, but teams in Hollywood, Canada and the UK managed to turn the Clash 3D conversion task around in just 8 weeks, despite it needing some 2000 special visual effects sequences. “Each reel was given to 8-10 people, and they just worked very hard on a daily basis,” said Hobbs.

However, he stressed that the key to the whole process was constant discussion with those responsible for the initial creative concept behind a project. “We are not suggesting View-D as a total substitute for a real 3D shoot,” said Hobbs, “although our significantly lower costs might make some producers consider it as a very viable alternative.”

Hobbs said that shooting in 3D tended to add another 30% to a film’s budget. “It is mostly about time,” he explained. “A 2D shoot of about 120 days can easily become 200 days for 3D. Camera set-ups take longer, lighting is more complex, even make-up has to be re-thought for 3D. Then there’s the post-production processes.”

Responding to the statement that certain TV broadcasters had forbidden 2D-to-3D conversions, Hobbs said that BSkyB, which had made the initial comment, had now softened their approach. “We want to show Sky what we have done, and are doing. Does this mean they won’t show the current Alice in Wonderland movie, or Clash in 3D? We all know there have been poor 3D conversions done. We believe we are capable of better. We have been involved in 3D for the past 3 years and that experience is very useful.”

Questioned as to which other 3D projects Prime Focus was involved in, Hobbs said “I can tell you our phones are ringing every hour of the day, for long-form, commercials, music promos, kids TV. I cannot say much more about specific films or commercials, but I can say that lots of people are asking our advice about costs, end results, time-tables needed. The usual questions, but you can sense the interest. The advertising community is very much looking at creating commercials for showing in 3D cinemas as well as on TV.”

By Chris Forrester, Rapid TV News