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What many consider among the greatest films ever made, Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic Jaws recently received the 3D treatment and was released today in Real D–equipped theaters. (It also opens in 2D Imax.)
“We’re enhancing the 3D by kind of bringing the water out into the audience, at the beginning of the film with, Chrissy, where she’s swimming,” explains stereographer Jeremy Carroll — who led the conversion to 3D, with direction by Spielberg — in a new episode of The Hollywood Reporter’s Behind the Screen. “That’s an intentional choice that we made to really kind of bring the audience into those shots to make you feel like you’re in the water with her to up that tension.”
To be sure, this isn’t Jaws 3D, the 1983 sequel that was viewed by audiences with cardboard glasses and received generally negative reviews. This is a new conversion of Spielberg’s original — based on Peter Benchley’s novel and starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw — presented in 3D for the first time.
Stereo D, which was recently renamed SDFX Studios, handled the conversion, and the company’s stereographer Carroll says the work was about giving the film a “natural” look in order to create tension.
“It was just kind of watching the shots and playing the stereo according to the way they were shot,” he says of converting the classic film, which was lensed by cinematographer Bill Butler. “It was always about making the shark feel big and giving you that sense of scale and depth of the shark in the water. There’s a lot of really wonderful scenes in the film where you can kind of really feel the shark underneath the water plane, but you can see all the details on top of the water and you get a really nice sense of volume and scale.
“We can play out the stereo to make you feel like you’re really in the water with the characters and the kids that are playing,” he adds. “The point of view of the shark is he’s swimming around, getting very close to their feet, but not quite touching.”
Carroll also talks about the approach to shots such as the close-up on Robert Shaw (Quint) as he delivers the film’s famous U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue.
You can listen to the full podcast here.
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