Stereography is not about the Equipment

Stereography is not about the Equipment

What ‘makes’ a Good Stereographer?

Stereographer, is a new term cropping up in Movie making, thanks to the current revival of 3D movies. However stereography, (in context to 3D Movies) has been around since a long time, and came and went in waves during the past millennium.

There are some veteran stereographers still actively practicing the art, and most started off as Stereo Photographers where they honed their skills without the assistance of “video assist” and instant feedback that we are accustomed to with modern Digital Movie Cameras or DSLR technology.

These stereographers perfected their art and skillset by “Thinking in 3D”. With no means of instant error correction, they only saw their results when the film negative was developed. This helped them develop a sort of 6th sense when framing and creating the perfect 3D picture. Many things had to be taken into account; aligning a camera rig, mental or real calculations and markings for camera and subject placement and things such as stereo window violation and vergence, came naturally to this breed of stereographers over due course of experience. You could say they were breathing, living and Thinking in 3D.

Beware: The Nouveau Stereographer.

Digital innovations in the past decade or even as recent as the past couple of years, have been both a blessing and the bane of the 3D renaissance movement.

It has helped give us true pioneering stereographers and storytellers with presentations such as the much acclaimed Avatar, and yet has opened up the opportunity for the self imposed title of “Stereographer” to anyone who knows how to operate a camera.

Modern digital cameras and tools allow for the creation of near instant visual feedback. This is amazing and nothing short of a miracle to dedicated Stereographers who had learnt one important trait: To first Think in 3D!

These same tools can be disastrous in the hands of the nouveau self proclaimed stereographer, who in all probability is a DP, or Director now cashing in on the 3D movie craze. The new breed of stereographer unfortunately sees 3D as just another tool in their toolkit for movie making. Just as a graduated filter gives a nice warm sky effect or a polarizing filter helps cut down reflection, to them, 3D is shooting with an extra camera or a nice BIG 3D rig.

Confusing Stereography with Stereographic Delivery Platform:

Read the rest in the Book, “THINK in 3D” via Amazon: Paperback & e-book (also on iPad via free kindle app)

  • Aratikadav

    Nice article ! Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/3dfilmmaker Stereoscopic

    “It’s even worse with Speed Dating at 3D camera workshops, where a choice of 3D rigs and their operations are shown, to qualify a new breed of stereographers.”

    Speed Dating? That's not what this is at all. Try finding a knowledgable stereographer that's actuallly willing to share information with you, let alone teach you hands on how to even to start thinking in 3D, as you say, and for free, is impossible. You need to start somewhere. That's why I created a website for filmmakers that are interested in 3D and aren't afraid to get their hands dirty, and actually start trying. That's the whole purpose right now. Filmmakers are going to learn mistakes by reading the book, they need to get out their and start shooting. Workshops like the one I created help filmmakers learn from real proffesionals in the field that are willing to take their time, and share their knowledge, which many are not open to. Not only do we help filmmakers learn the correct ways to shoot 3D, but in some cases provide them the tools they need to get started or provide deep discounts for them to help them get started. We have filmmakers that come from all levels of experience from none, to really don't need to be there, but they are because they do it for the passion, for the same reason I started the website. So when you say things like the workshops are worst, you need to probably rethink your choice of words, because that's just inaccurate, untruthful, and it hurts. I've spent alot of time trying to get these workshops off the ground, and I'm receiving tremendous support along with requests for more workshops, so I would really hope you rethink your comment, and maybe write an article about how more workshops should get started.

    Remy Medranda
    Stereoscopicfilmmakers.com

  • clydeD

    Thank you for writing in your thoughts Remy.
    I understand where you are coming from, and can't argue or say that what you are doing is bad (running workshops). I myself do workshops, though they are not strictly only on how to use a 3D rig to shoot. I encourage participants to “think in 3D”

    >> Try finding a knowledgable stereographer that's actuallly willing to share information with you, let alone teach you hands on how to even to start thinking in 3D, as you say, and for free, is impossible.

    If you actually see the information on this website… it is all for free, and worthy of a book (if I was to be a bit im-modest) I have received many thanks from industry professionals, that I won't name, but suffice to say they *are* the people who design 3D rigs, design 3D software and more.

    But that's not the point i'm trying to make. Infact I have to agree with what you say… that we have to start somewhere. Your doing a good job and must be commended.

    I'm aiming this article at cinematographers who only think that attending a crash course is enough to know all there is to know about stereography and being stereographers.

    Some of these “nouveau Stereographers” are now conducting courses! and the effect is snow-balling. For instance they still do not know bad 3D (caused by bad stereograhy) from bad *delivery* or presentation of 3D! (citing for example, Anaglyph as a reason for bad 3D)

    Yet others will counter with.. “Those who cant do.. preach” .. I have only one reply to that.. those who can't bear to see stereo 3D being abused… Object! That's what I'm doing… Investing my time, my own resources and (hopefully) giving out knowledge and food for thought in the hope that it gets better… *and* doing it for free.

  • http://www.gboyle.co.uk Geoff Boyle

    I'm one of the nouveau stereographers that this piece seems aimed at.

    I also teach workshops on 3D.

    Oh boy, I must be really evil.

    The thing is, it hasn't been the cinematographers in the past who have had the opportunity to introduce 3D and create a medium that is sustained and that people really want to see. It's been the stereographers who have dropped the ball at every chance they've had.

    They have, with the exception of IMAX event films, made 3D that people don't want to watch, exaggerated and in your face.

    Yes, I preach less 3D, the interesting thing is that unlike most people I've conducted tests with different degrees of 3D, both IO and where the convergence is set and in all cases people prefer less IO and less in your face, this is not dependent on screen size.

    2 day workshops don't attempt to produce stereographers they, in my case, try to introduce people to 3D, the myths and the reality.

    The cinematographer needs to learn more about 3D and to use it as a tool, of course using a depth budget and varying degrees of 3D, it's truly insulting to suggest that we wouldn't when we have dozens of other ways to influence an audience that we use and think about every day.

    Sorry guys, you sound like the guy with the red flag who walked in front of cars to warn people that it was coming, as if they couldn't hear it! drivers then discovered the accelerator and drove over them.

    You're upset because we're driving over you….

    Oh and by the way, who is shooting the stuff being shown now? stereographers or cinematographers?

    Geoff Boyle FBKS
    http://www.gboyle.co.uk

  • clydeD

    Thank you for the comment.
    The tone does suggest a hint of bitterness that comes from either a superiority complex that is going un-acknowledged, or something more severe.

    I'll indulge you with an answer, but may not have the stamina to carry a back n forth further…

    >>Sorry guys, you sound like the guy with the red flag who walked in front of cars to warn people that it was coming, as if they couldn't hear it! drivers then discovered the accelerator and drove over them.

    This is exactly the intent, and analogous to your deaf driver comment, the aim here is to try …really try… and get “Blind” drivers to see red-flags when they “teach” 3D, and also to try and help 'blind learners' (students) get a cataract operation so that they see good 3D.

    >>You're upset because we're driving over you….
    You probably couldn't be more right on this! and while driving all over recklessly also insulting good stereographers who *know* how to set depth *relevant* to *each* scene. This means deep 3D with proper framing AND when to use subtle 3D, when there is a true need. (the psychology of a 3D scene: e.g the protagonists' sad mood)

    >> Yes, I preach less 3D, the interesting thing is that unlike most people I've conducted tests with different degrees of 3D, both IO and where the convergence is set and in all cases people prefer less IO and less in your face, this is not dependent on screen size.

    This is where you need to speak with real stereographers. They will tell you that it is all dependent on final screen size of presentation. There is of course the *safe* way to do a shortcut that will give you a 3D movie for Ipod and Imax. but will not exploit the screen real-estate to it's fullest.

    If you also meant to say that ir-respective of screen size, people prefer less IO (and to be politically correct it's actually IA for inter axial when speaking of cameras)… then this is where you need again to consult a Stereographer.
    The job of a Stereographer is to Optimize Depth. To make every scene as representative of it's real world counterpart.

    A good 3D movie is not a Jamiroquai music video where the walls of a room are closing in on you. A Square room is best represented Square and not a squashed rectangle.

    In real life we don't jump 10 feet in front when focusing on a person at the back of the room speaking, or 10 feet behind when the person is in the foreground. That's what “Converge on Focus” does in a 3D movie.
    …So you see, 3D movies are so much more than just I/A and subtle 3D… You need to Think in 3D.

    How is it possible to achieve this? Thats where framing for Stereo comes in, and that's where the liaison of Director, Cinematographer and Stereographer come into play during staging and blocking of a movie.

    in-your-face as mentioned in the article…is a given. There is no need to speak of it anymore, only during the first day of freshman year at the “two day” 3D class. Everyone knows that the 50's 3D was driven by gimmicks that wont work today.

    What everyone *needs* to know is that “safe” and “subtle” 3D is an excuse for not Thinking in 3D. Proper framing (to try and avoid excessive positive parallax), allowing the Director to experiment and know when to cut, to avoid audiences from straying into the background imagery, creative use of depth of field… and final screen size dictates the choice of Interaxial when creating a 3D movie.

    Cinematographers are operating the Camera, the Lighting and yes… “Directing the camera”. Look at it anywhich way you like… that's what it is. Directors are directing the talent and the overall flow of the movie.

    Stereographers, when their ego's catchup with them (hopefully not!) will then state that they are “Directing the DEPTH”.

    >> 2 day workshops don't attempt to produce stereographers they, in my case, try to introduce people to 3D, the myths and the reality.

    Completely and 100% agree with you on this. The article aims to point out that unfortunately, after a two day course these People want to then go out and start teaching their own! This is where the danger lies.

    Steroscopy captures Spatial Information in a scene. This was previously not possible in Cinematography before. It needs to be digested.. rather well, before boldly stating that subtle 3D is good 3D. (leave that for the 2D to 3D conversion-ist. They do a good job with that).

    Regards.

  • Hal Smith

    Having had a chance to play with Bexel’s live 3ality gear at NAB I can safely say: It ain’t easy being 3D. I was able to study some of the interactions between focal length, optical focus, IO, and vergence and wouldn’t want to shoot anything in 3D without what you’re promoting; a very carefully thought out 3D plot for a project. I’d want to 3D storyboard everything to make certain I had a consistent esthetic plan.

  • Hal Smith

    Having had a chance to play with Bexel's live 3ality gear at NAB I can safely say: It ain't easy being 3D. I was able to study some of the interactions between focal length, optical focus, IO, and vergence and wouldn't want to shoot anything in 3D without what you're promoting; a very carefully thought out 3D plot for a project. I'd want to 3D storyboard everything to make certain I had a consistent esthetic plan.

  • clydeD

    Good choices Hal. Just in case you have not come across it yet, download a trial of the stereo previz software from FrameForge.
    It's worth it for previz in stereo 3D. http://www.frameforge3d.com/Products/Stereo-3D/

    All the best.

  • Anonymous

    Good choices Hal. Just in case you have not come across it yet, download a trial of the stereo previz software from FrameForge.
    It’s worth it for previz in stereo 3D. http://www.frameforge3d.com/Products/Stereo-3D/

    All the best.

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