A New Vernacular

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Tue, 06/10/2008 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Stereoscope Opens to meet Growing Demand for 3D Production Post-Production Responding to Hollywood's growing demand for 3D production and post-production Stereoscope has opened its doors to serve the creative community. Equipped with the new version of Quantel's Pablo 4K color grading system which can handle real-time stereoscopic post-production the studio has been designed from the ground up to provide a full range of stereo3D digital content services from development through distribution.                 Quantel's stereoscopic Pablo sits inside Stereoscope's 3D digital mastering theater and is designed to be the center of the studio's entire DI workflow. The system provides an integrated environment for assembly editing conforming effects titling color grading and spatialization of digital stereoscopic images. It can simultaneously play out and process two streams of synchronous high-resolution media with no rendering necessary. This capability lets creative artists adjust stereo3D material in real time allowing interactive experimentation in order to achieve the correct stereo depth. In the summer of 2007 both Dave Cummins and Jeff Pierce started thinking seriously about 3D. A few months later Stereoscope was conceived by company co-founder Pierce. Both have extensive backgrounds in post-production. They realized that 3D was becoming the next big thing in feature film production and exhibition leading to a growing need for stereo3D post-production. “We saw a marketplace in which there were many DP's knowledgeable about 3D emerging 3D camera rigs but no real focus on post ” says Cummins director of business development at Stereoscope. “There are already about 800 3D digital cinema theaters now ” he continues. “Disney's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds concert which was exhibited only in 3D turned out to be a blockbuster. It demonstrated the incredible potential of the format.” Stereoscope picked the Quantel tools based on years of combined experience working with post-production systems. “Jeff has extensive background in developing technologies and workflows for digital film and TV production ” says Cummins. “He helped pioneer digital film scanning recording digital intermediates technologies and techniques for major companies.” Cummins' background also pointed him in the direction of Quantel. “Last year I was consulting for a studio on a 3D feature ” he explains. “They wanted to do some of the work in-house and we examined different technologies that could project stereoscopically in real time from a single box and we discovered that Quantel was making that happen.” “There are other boxes out there ” Cummins continues “but with those you ingest in one system conform in another and composite in yet another. The workflow is more difficult. The reason we went with Quantel is that it allows us to do all the functions in real time on one box. It simplifies everything and lets us be major players in this space.” Although Stereoscope is starting out by offering stereo3D mastering and post it plans to add services as it expands including production staging audio mastering graphics and digital distribution. The facility has built a 30x40x15 feet three-sided stage as well as a 7.1 mix room centered on a Solid State Logic digital board with Pro Tools. Also available is a Sony HDCam SR deck—allowing the acquisition and output of RGB 4:4:4 images—as well as an Avid Nitris for editorial work. “Our ultimate aim is to provide resources so someone can come in shoot 3D images capture those images into Pablo and then do all the necessary previsualization and post-production ” Cummins says. While a worldwide stereo3D standard has yet to be adopted Stereoscope—with the Quantel stereo3D-enabled Pablo 4K as its hub—is ready to apply its artistry and knowledge to all projects irrespective of standards. “We're in the production and post-production business. We're display-agnostic ” says Cummins. “Whatever standard comes about we're going to be part of it. And with the Quantel Pablo at the center we can master for everything from IMAX all the way to video for handheld mobile devices.” There's a sense of excitement at Stereoscope about upcoming projects. “We're developing a new vernacular ” says Cummins. “We can now master for the 3D space and apply spatialization treatments suited to each screen size. It's a great time to be in this business.”