'Jurassic Park' Director of Photography Praises Film's '3D Potential'

At the same time, Dean Cundey admits of the format: "I'm not convinced. It's a process that requires care."

"I haven't seen it yet; I'm hoping to as soon as I get back to L.A.," Dean Cundey admitted of the 3D release of Jurassic Park, the groundbreaking film that he shot two decades ago. The Hollywood Reporter caught up with the director of photography this past week at the NAB show. Cundey's credits also include Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for which he earned an Oscar nomination, Apollo 13, Hook and Romancing the Stone.

Released on April 5, the 3D version of Jurassic Park opened to $18.2 million in North America.

Asked for his thoughts on the format, Cundey admitted, "I’m not convinced. It's a process that requires care."

Still he thinks the 1993 Jurassic Park (which was converted from 2D to 3D at StereoD in Burbank) will translate well into 3D. "Steven [Spielberg] is very good at wide shots that [look] three dimensional and great storytelling with the camera.

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"One of may favorite scenes in the movie is the raptors in the kitchen with the kids. It has a lot of 3D potential with the raptors jumping up on the counter, things falling and the kids hiding in the foreground or background. I’m really interested to see how that scene translates."

Another of Cundey's seminal projects, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, celebrates its 25th anniversary this year.

"We put so much effort into making it look different and believable," he remembered of working on Roger Rabbit. "I have been interested in animation since I was a kid and collect classic animation art. For me it was a great fit. The movie was a case of the right people at the right place at the right time. Everybody was invested in making sure the movie was new and innovative."

Noting that they were advised on techniques -- such as not moving the camera -- that would work but were limiting from a creative standpoint, he recalled, "Bob [Zemeckis] and I sat down beforehand and said, 'these are the rules that we are going to break.'

"The fact that [animated characters] could handle and manipulate real work objects, believably, was something that [the team] worked very meticulously on. And camera moves and lighting -- we wanted the characters to fit into the real world, better than had been done previously."

At NAB, Cundey was a guest at the booth of Fujifilm, which was debuting its IS-mini color management tool -- a small hardware device that uses 1D or 3D LUTs to convert color information.

"The mini allows you to calibrate each on-set monitor, no matter the brand, so they all look they same," Cundey said, adding that he plans to use this simple device to calibrate monitors for an upcoming shoot that will take place over 13 weeks in Australia and follow horse trainer Clinton Anderson. “He herds Brumbies — wild Mustangs that live in the outback — and he will show how they get trained.”

The director of photography's recent work includes a film tentatively titled Something Whispered, starring Cuba Gooding, Jr. and directed by Peter Cousens.

Asked about the uncertain future of film, Cundey admitted, "To see film to disappear, to me, is a sad thing. Not out of nostalgia but there are some very real benefits that are being overlooked.

"We tend to jump into new things, thinking that they solve a problem that may or may not really exist," he said, citing as an example that studios continue to use film as a archival medium.

Saying that he hopes film and digital will co-exist, he added: "Film has been proven for 100 years; digital is moving fast, but I think sometimes for the wrong reasons."