Tuesday, 24 November 2009

14th November -

Brian Van't Hul, Visual Effects Supervisor at Laika, was talking about their use of stereoscopic photography in his presentation on how they made Coraline, and also the perils of stop motion animation, such as maintaining constant colour temperature when filming a scene over the course of several days and warping of wooden sets.

Stereoscopic photography is when you take two images of the same thing from slightly different positions to create a 3D image... well alright, its not really three dimensional but it can provide a more convincing representation of depth than regular monoscopic photography. In normal photography you can control the size of the aperture which determines the depth of field (Objects outside the field appear out of focus and the further away it is, the more blurry it becomes.) but stereoscopic photography introduces parallax, which creates the illusion of depth perception.

There are a bunch of ways to view stereoscopic images, the simplest is to put them side by side and look at them cross eyed. the idea is to try to stare through them until a focused image appears in the middle, but this can be quite difficult and its hard to bring your eyes back into normal focus afterwards.
Another is to use anaglyphs, you know those blurry looking pictures you look at through different coloured lenses? Sometimes DVDs come with the option to watch them like this but personally I find it doesn't work well and causes me to get eye strain and headaches.
In the 3D viewings of Coraline and Up they used some battery powered hocus pocus sunglasses and I don't have a clue how that technology works but it's INCREDIBLE.

I took a bunch of notes in the presentation about the things they had to consider when shooting stereoscopic imagery, like eye dominance (Or 'retinal rivalry' to quote Mr Hul), interocular distance and whether to use a convergent or parallel setup for their cameras, but I think I've talked enough about geeky technical stuff.

By the way, if you see Coraline, watch it all the way to the end of the credits, because there's an extra scene at the end that took some guy 46 days to complete and by the time it was finished, it had been written out of the movie. It's really pretty.

Its all fun and games till someone loses an eye...


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