SMPTE: Disney Exec Howard Lukk Details 'Hybrid 3D' Test Shoot

Working with ARRI and research firm Fraunhofer HHI, Disney aims to develop a new approach to 3D production.
Courtesy of Franhofer

Howard Lukk, Disney’s vp production technology, revealed Tuesday at the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers conference that the studio recently completed a three-day shoot in Berlin that tested a new approach to 3D production that he called “hybrid 3D.”

“Disney is continuing to explore better ways to capture, create and distribute quality 3D,” Lukk confirmed.

In lensing the short, with a working title Make/Believe, the team examined the potential to conduct a typical shoot while generating depth information for use in postproduction — effectively combining 3D cinematography with 2D-to-3D conversion.

To do this, the team used a prototype trifocal camera system (an early version is pictured) developed by Germany’s research organization Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute in association with Walt Disney Studios and camera maker ARRI. The system uses a camera rig that holds three cameras: a main camera, the Arri Alexa; and two small satellite cameras. (THR's Behind the Screen previously described this developing technology here.)

The goal is to allow the filmmakers to focus on the 2D shot, and make depth decisions later. “We think this will allow more flexibility over the tranditional methods,” Lukk said.

The 2D version of Make/Believe is near completion and the the team is starting to use the depth information generated from the Berlin shoot to create 3D content, working with Deluxe-owned 2D-to-3D conversion business StereoD.

Current plans are to take advantage of plug-ins from Fraunhofer HHI and third parties to enable the stereo post.

During the conference session, ARRI’s principal engineer Johannes Steurer described a second prototype camera system, which he called a ‘motion scene camera.’ This European-funded research project combines a motion picture camera with a time-of-flight sensor in order to explore another way of capturing depth information on set. Steurer said a recent test shoot was encouraging though more work is needed.

Lukk said of these prototypes, “We think this also has the potential to eliminate greenscreen and bluescreen on set.”


Twitter: @CGinLA