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Old 03-20-2012, 07:32 AM   #1
srinivas1015 srinivas1015 is offline
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Question Difference between old 3D filming tech and present

What is the difference between the filming tech used in the 70's and 80's and current tech? I know that now, they have a two-camera rig and that the pace fusion camera system has a mirror in between as well. But how were 3d movies made earlier?How is it inferior to the current tech?
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Old 01-04-2019, 12:54 PM   #2
Variety Films 3D Variety Films 3D is offline
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Old 3D tech was the same principle, filming with two lenses, however it was recorded and projected on film strips, which won't have the same synchronization as digital. Digital is more 'perfect' and reliable if you will.
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Old 01-04-2019, 03:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by srinivas1015 View Post
What is the difference between the filming tech used in the 70's and 80's and current tech? I know that now, they have a two-camera rig and that the pace fusion camera system has a mirror in between as well. But how were 3d movies made earlier?How is it inferior to the current tech?
Head over to 3D film archives they have some good info on the old Tech and how it was presented.
http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/
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Old 01-04-2019, 09:52 PM   #4
br3ttD br3ttD is offline
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It's my understanding that some modern digital 3-D camera rigs are
capable of adjusting convergence while shooting. Did 3-D camera
systems used during the 50's through the 80's have this capability
or was convergence determined at a fixed point prior to filming?
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Old 01-04-2019, 11:39 PM   #5
bavanut bavanut is offline
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I can say for sure that films shot with Natural Vision, and films shot with the Paramount and Columbia studio rigs, frequently exhibit "traveling convergence" or "shifting convergence" during individual shots.

For a tour-de-force example, watch the shot in Miss Sadie Thompson where the camera closes in on Rita Hayworth's face as she listens to Josť Ferrer reading the 23rd Psalm.
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Old 01-05-2019, 07:58 PM   #6
br3ttD br3ttD is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bavanut View Post
I can say for sure that films shot with Natural Vision, and films shot with the Paramount and Columbia studio rigs, frequently exhibit "traveling convergence" or "shifting convergence" during individual shots.

For a tour-de-force example, watch the shot in Miss Sadie Thompson where the camera closes in on Rita Hayworth's face as she listens to Josť Ferrer reading the 23rd Psalm.
Any idea if it was possible back then, to make depth adjustments during
post-production? Obviously not like what we can do today. For example,
if the filmmakers felt an object was pushing too far off the screen, would
they have been able to push the scene back into the frame a little?
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Old 01-06-2019, 08:16 AM   #7
bavanut bavanut is offline
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Yes, Brett, it was very possible to make adjustments in post, but I cannot right now think of any instances where optical printing or cropping were employed to rectify a mistake in convergence (or z-axis placement).

I and several other knowledgeable persons are of the impression Paramount intended to rectify vertical misalignment issues in their Paravision features in post. The fact that original matched Technicolor prints of the Pine-Thomas features are so scarce means the issue is far from settled. (A brief but sharp complaint in a 1953 issue of International Projectionist makes me suspect vertical misalignment was always a problem on those films, regardless what remedies were attempted in post.)

The biggest "depth adjustment" to a Golden Age title I can point to-- biggest and most disastrous-- is the 1953 Western Hannah Lee, aka Outlaw Territory. I first saw that flick in field sequential video from 3-D TV Corporation in the mid-1990s, then caught it on the big screen at Expo I in 2003.

It was obvious in both situations that convergence was set way, way, way too close to the camera, such that the film had insane amounts of positive parallax. Not only was there no pop-out, but everything looked very far behind the screen-- beyond infinity, with positive parallax values measured in feet, not inches.

At that Expo screening in September 2003, the dismay in the audience was physically palpable. There was a silence that spoke tension. I overheard the late Dan Symmes telling Jeff Joseph that, if he were projecting this film in a private setting, he would go into the booth and make appropriate adjustments, which I took to mean improvising appropriate port masking and lens offsets.

Me, I was inwardly disgusted by what I was seeing onscreen. I blamed the Stereo-Cine camera system, which I had to conclude was substandard, a very shabby piece of equipment. How wrong I was!

The Marciano-Walcott fight film was shot using Stereo-Cine, and it's beautiful. (You can see it yourself on the 3-D Rarities I Blu-ray, available from Flicker Alley.)

Several of us are reasonably sure Robot Monster was shot on the sly using a dual-Mitchell rig engineered and offered by the Stereo-Cine people, and the one thing Robot Monster gets very, very right is its fine stereo cinematography.

So, whatever went wrong with Hannah Lee, we can't blame it on Stereo-Cine.

Come to find out, the producers of Hannah Lee slapped a lawsuit on the lab that struck the release prints. I can only surmise that the lab somehow managed to introduce a lateral offset into the left and right stereo pairs, such that the film as originally released was practically unwatchable.

I've said it before, I'll say it again-- it would make me so happy if, somehow, some way, someday, the 3-D Film Archive could make Hannah Lee look the way it was always meant to, and never has.

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Old 01-06-2019, 08:30 PM   #8
br3ttD br3ttD is offline
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Thank you for taking the time to compose such a detailed response, Mr. Ballew.
Your wisdom and knowledge on this forum is legendary. Looking forward to
hearing your commentary on Jivaro.
I still have a field sequential DVD of Hannah Lee although I don't watch it very
much due to the issues you've described. However, when I feel like giving my
eyeballs a workout...
If it ever was to happen, I suspect a restoration would take longer than five or six months.
3-D Rarities certainly is one of the many jewels in my collection. For two and a half hours I feel like I've travelled back through time. I rarely watch one or a few of the shorts, I usually watch the movie from beginning to end. Enjoyed it so much I bought a copy for my dad.
I also noticed some 'image shifting' during the underwater scenes in Creature from the Black Lagoon. As a diver approached the camera the scene would push back into the screen. I get the feeling Universal archive made those adjustments during their restoration in an effort to minimize eye strain.
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Old 01-07-2019, 05:27 PM   #9
UFAlien UFAlien is online now
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When it comes specifically to the tech used in the 70s and 80s - almost all of those "Silver Age" titles were shot not with dual-camera rigs but single-camera, single-strip 3D systems using special 3D lens adapters - Space-Vision, ArriVision, 3-Depix, Optimax-III, StereoVision, and probably others.

Space-Vision was the original and was of very high quality but was also quite limited because there was only one focal length. You can read all about Space-Vision in the 3D Film Archive's article on the first movie shot in the format, The Bubble: http://www.3dfilmarchive.com/home/The-Bubble

The later variations on Space-Vision by different manufacturers were more flexible in that they offered multiple focal lengths but were of vastly inferior optical quality. The lenses just were not very good and had a lot of issues with color fringing (chromatic aberration), distortion, and built-in misalignment. All of these systems also had just one or two fixed interaxial settings (distances between lenses), which could not be adjusted for comfortable close-ups and the like. In the case of ArriVision, the interaxial was actually significantly wider than the average distance between human eyes, creating unnaturally strong 3D that's uncomfortable for many people to view regardless of the alignment issues.

Then there's the fact, discussed elsewhere on the forum, that most of the people making the 3D movies of the 70s and 80s just didn't really know what they were doing in terms of 3D cinematography.
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Old 01-07-2019, 06:49 PM   #10
bavanut bavanut is offline
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On the subject of Golden Age z-axis tweaking using optical printing:

Spottiswoode addresses the topic of optical printer image manipulation in his important book, The Theory of Stereoscopic Transmission, which incidentally is available for free download online.

In fact, several of Norman McLaren's 3-D animations (as featured in 3-D Rarities) make use of optical printing techniques to shift his whimsical direct-on-film ink drawings here and there in stereo space.

As for the reference from International Projectionist I mention above, I reproduce it here for future reference:

"Paramount has just issued a 5-page directive for projectionists intended to overcome 'projection deficiencies' which are causing 'unfavorable audience reaction.' This seems to us the veriest nonsense, because after we comply to the dot with the line-up directives, why do we still have to frame constantly? The fault lies in the taking not the showing of 3-D pictures."

International Projectionist, Volume 28, Number 6, June 1953, page 5, "Monthly Chat," italics in original.

It is possible that the remarks are not directed specifically at the one Paramount 3-D title in release as of the publication date, but express frustration with the entire Hollywood 3-D output up to that time-- by my reckoning, about six titles.

I would like to take up the discussion of single strip, over-and-under 35 mm 3-D versus the modern day rigs, but will have to beg off just for the moment.

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Old 01-10-2019, 07:35 PM   #11
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I have seen 43 of the 50 English-language 3-D features made during the period 1952-1955 projected in stereo on the big screen. Of those I have seen, only one, Hannah Lee, exhibits the freakish stereo imagery described in the item below, culled from the December 1953 issue of International Projectionist. Of the seven I have not seen in 3-D, only two were in distribution prior to December 1953, and several were never made available for 3-D exhibition at all. (It must be said, I have seen 3-D fragments of Louisiana Territory and Son of Sinbad.)

"IP's 'Monthly Chat' for October, in which we commented on the remarks made by a service company official who blasted the so-called inefficiency of projectionists in showing 3-D pictures, seems to have stirred up quite a bit of feeling in projectionist circles, judging from the many letters we have received. Typical is the following letter from a supervisor of projection for a Mid-West chain of theatres whose identity, for obvious reasons, cannot be revealed:

'The October editorial in IP anent an unnamed representative for a service company who stated in an address at a convention of exhibitors in Boston several months ago that projectionists were to blame for customer deficits at the box-office because they are not super-wizards, was a pretty good spit ball. Did he praise Hollywood for its perfect ( ? ) product that was being so messed up? I mean the Hollywood that informed us that each and every foot of 3-D film would be edgemarked.

'I should like to relate here a true incident where projectionists were put on the spot, so to speak—received no immediate help—and in spite of unforeseen complications, kept the show going. And for which they received no plaudits from the industry.

'The management of a certain motion picture theatre in my territory decided that it was not necessary to [pre-]screen any of the new 3-D prints, accepting Hollywood's word that all new prints were in perfect sync. This theatre had already successfully shown a number of 3-D features and anticipated no trouble with the new ones.

'Before leaving the theatre one night after running a 2-D picture, the projectionists ran the test loops, checked the alignment and left everything in readiness for the next day's show—a 3-D film. The print arrived the next morning, as per schedule, but with the censor strip on the beginning of one reel and no added footage on the other. This, however, was caught on the rewind and before the showing.

'The picture was flashed on the screen and the main title went through with a strange depth perception. Then the fun began—the figures on the screen were about a foot apart all the time, sometimes in sync, and at other times ghostly. (Incidentally, this show was caught by the film critics of the local newspapers!) No, there were not 2 left or 2 right prints. The alignment was checked and found okay. Laying one film over the other showed a large displacement of images. The trick was to find a remedy for the trouble. Meanwhile there was nothing else to do but to run just one print as a 2-D presentation in order to keep the show going.

'A call was made to the local film exchange for a solution to this 3-D fiasco. The exchange manager expressed surprise because it was a NEW print—a PREVIEW release—a FIRST-RUN, etc. It MUST be the fault of the equipment, stated the exchange manager. Are you in sync, he questioned. Have you checked the edge numbers? Finally, the exchange agreed to ship a new print to the theatre.

'The next morning the new print arrived and the previous day's experiences with the first print were repeated. Again the film had to be shown in 2-D. The following day the theatre received a frantic phone call from the exchange asking the manager to look on the LAST page of a recently released press book (54 pages) on which he would find a note directed to projectionists. This note instructed projectionists not to use loops, but to screen the picture and after the main title goes through, to wait until a scene comes on and then swing the projectors until you get 3-D, then, without glasses, keep them in frame. Of course, it would have been much too simple to place these instructions inside the film can where the projectionist could see it when he removed the print.

'Now this theatre also runs a 2-D feature on the same bill with 3-D. Imagine the 2-D changeovers following this 3-D piperoo after such a projector alignment!!! The projectionists did the best they could in following the belated instructions but under the circumstances it was hardly what you would call a perfect 3-D presentation. But wait—on the last day a preview was added to the regular show. This was a 3-D preview and was produced by a company whose products rely upon perfect loop alignment. Imagine, if you can, all this in one evening—2-D, 3-D piperoo, 2-D, 3-D preview, and a 3-D piperoo. Perhaps this is the show that the Boston orator saw.

I have often wondered what would happen to these critics if they had to walk in cold on a 2-man de luxe job with stereo sound, 2-D, 3-D, CinemaScope, etc., and hold up their end under present conditions. I would suggest that the unnamed orator with the high IQ step down from his throne and once again become one of the cheerful service men—the guy with the black bag and the long stride who, according to the folder, saves the 8 o'clock show on Saturday night with his meters. He might get a different slant on projection efficiency—or wouldn’t that be good business?'"

- International Projectionist , "In the Spotlight," Volume 28, Number 12, December 1953, pages 20-21; italics, punctuation and capitalization as found in original

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