Catherine Owens: 3-D starts in the mind

Siggraph speaker urges auteurs to study format

"3-D starts with how comfortable you can make it to the mind," said Catherine Owens, co-director of "U2 3D," the featured speaker Tuesday at Siggraph, the CG confab.

Capping a two-day program about stereoscopic 3-D filmmaking, she said, "The mind is so extraordinarily fine tuned. It won't accept 3-D if it isn't easy on the mind. I'm not sure people truly believe what I just said.

"It's like if something looks really good but it just doesn't smell right," she continued. "It's like making art. You have to trust what your mind is saying."

Owens related that her goal with "U2 3D" was to create an immersive language, not 'poke you in the eye' 3-D.

She encouraged filmmakers to take the time to understand and apply the format.

"There is something about not rushing the work that is going to be important for the future of 3-D," she said. "The filmmaking process is not about the technology. It is about the homework and the research. Maybe the rollout will move when some of those elements become more dominate."

Owens admitted that she would love to do another 3-D film. "There is some kind of world between performance, narrative, theater and film that I would love to explore," she said. "The opening of the Olympics is my new favorite thing in terms of how that visual presentation delivered a story, a magnificent moment but also incredibly intimate."

In other 3-D sessions, speakers took viewers through the making of projects such as "U2 3D" and "Journey to the Center of the Earth."

In related news, VFX house Tippett Studio -- whose credits include Disney's upcoming "Beverly Hills Chihuahua" -- is making its foray into the 3-D arena with two soon-to-be-released short format 3-D projects: A theatrical logo for Texas Instruments' DLP Cinema and a theatrical commercial for Electronic Arts' "Spore."