Taking Titanic to New Dimensions

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Wed, 05/30/2012 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

By Valentina I. Valentini West Coast Correrspondent “Of late 3D has been imposed upon filmmakers by the studios ” said Jon Landau at during the Titanic to 3D panel at NAB. “And that’s where it’s gone awry – 3D needs to be a creative choice coming from the filmmakers. Like we saw with Hugo where even Jim [Cameron] said it’s the best 3D he’s ever seen including Avatar because it came from the filmmakers’ choice.” As the most experienced industry leaders have been preaching for the last few years of the 3D digital era the future is a hybrid – as a filmmaker one should be using every tool available to them. This was the emphasis given by Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor Rob Legato (Avatar Apollo 13 Hugo) William Sherak president of StereoD and Landau of Lightstorm Entertainment on the panel where the recent 2D-3D conversion of Titanic was discussed. The decision to convert the iconic film was not a snap decision. Landau and Cameron started the process of converting Titanic four years ago having agreed many years prior that if they could do it again they’d do it in 3D. They began by giving one minute of film to 15 different companies and asked them to convert it eventually landing at Lightstorm and Stereo3D. Titanic’s 194 minutes was broken down and 279 360 frames were converted at the ripe price of $18 million. But with a box office gross of over $200 million worldwide – last weekend alone they made $64 million in China – there has been no fretting of whether or not the conversion was worth it for the 60 weeks and 450 people (in Los Angeles alone) that worked on it. “We’re still at the very early stages of conversion ” Landau said. ”The tools will get better and the costs will get lower however the timeframe won’t change.” Which as Sherak emphasized conversion is not just the press of a button but rather a frame-by-frame process where the filmmaker gets to decide the depth of every shot. “Jim and his team are so specific which makes it so much better for everyone involved ” Sherak said. “It’s not a technical process. It’s a creative process that uses technology which allowed Jim to be very involved – by choosing of the IO [Inter Ocular] and convergence determining the level of drama by enhancing each shot in these ways. Our goal is to get a frame in 3D exactly the way the filmmaker wants it.” Next up for Lightstorm is Steven Spielberg’s Jurassic Park. Watch out Mr. Cameron the dinosaurs are coming.