When Fuji wanted a commercial that communicated the stereoscopic 3D capabilities of their new Finepix Real 3dw3 camera, they turned to director Tim Stoffel. The new camera takes pictures in stereo and even shoots stereoscopic 720P HD. The basic premise of the spot is that a man shows his friends his New York pictures and they walk around in the scene in “frozen time” or “bullet time” – a technique that was popularized in The Matrix. The water in the scene is also frozen, but when one friend asks if the camera can shoot video too, everything starts to move again.
With the help of VFX supervisor Julian Hermanssen from Visual Distractions, and Frank Griebe at the helm as cinematographer, (known for his work on movies such as Run Lola Run, Perfume and The International), initial pre-production testing with a Swiss-Rig stereo system carrying 2x F23 Sony cameras on a MRMC Milo motion control rig was done in Germany with TKL (a Hamburg-based motion control company). For the actual production, although the scene looks like New York, it was actually all filmed in Sofia Bulgaria at an outside film lot with another Milo.
Watch the behind the scenes video.
“We wanted to shoot most of the effects in camera, so we had the skater rigged on wires and some objects on rigs,” explained Hermanssen. “To be able to do cleanup work and to allow for combination of takes, (since getting the two children to stand perfectly still is quite difficult), we decided to use motion control. Using motion control also allowed us to do a separate tracking pass with some light stands right in front of the camera. This tracking pass was very important on this shot because it increases your precision in 3D tracking and we had to integrate CGI water right in front of the camera. With this tracking pass we had a very stable solution and easily calculated both cameras precisely from the footage of the two cameras on the stereo rig.”
“We used clean plates for rig removals, split layers of the actors from different takes and since we had a tree and some wind on the set we were able to shoot an extra pass for the tree when the wind was still,” he added. “To time all that with actors, kids and the skater and do it in one take when there was no wind, would have taken a while without motion control.”
“We did the CGI water as a fluid simulation in ‘realflow’ with motion blur along the direction of the fountain, (not because that is realistic in this camera move, but it is how people are used to seeing this kind of image from real life photos, since we wanted the tip to have very clear drops we had a falloff on the motionblur from start to tip),” explained Hermanssen. “In the end we did quite a lot of replacements on the set, scaled one actor (the skater) to 75% size in a camera move for a cinemascope version (requested after the shoot), and also added some CGI water on scenes with real moving water. Without the extra layers shot by the Milo we couldn’t have done it at all.”