It looks like Michael Bay has decided to shoot Transformers 3 in 3D instead of using a silly post-conversion process. This is good news I’m finding by way of Slashfilm and stands firmly in the bounds of what I think Hollywood should be doing for the 3D revolution. For the job, Bay has enlisted 3D vet Vince Pace who endured a long tedious process of building a suitable 3D rig with James Cameron that resulted in Avatar and it’s monstrous box office success.
I’ve heard only great things about the Arri Alexa camera. It certainly has a multitude of features that seem to poo-poo all over RED’s digital cinema monopoly party. For one, the Alexa does HDR photography within the camera – that is, it takes multiple exposures of the same frame and “stacks” them on top of each other leading to a greater dynamic range of color and luminance. The camera also has a built in shoulder mount, a 720HD EVF that comes with an extension, and in my opinion looks a hell of a lot sexier than RED’s laser gun approach.
Perhaps most excitingly, the camera also has the ability to record “ARRIRAW” image data alongside Apple Prores 1080p HD (4:4:4 or 4:2:2) simultaneously. What this means is that you could record an HD clip alongside a RAW image clip. You take the HD clips, send those to the editor, he can edit with this footage without having to transcode (as is needed with RED footage over 2K). The editor then can simply do an EDL or offline edit. When the picture is locked, the RAW footage can be brought in using timecode to have a high-quality HD-plus final product. The idea is awesome and one that I think kicks RED’s post-production workflow right in the butt.
While I am less excited about Transformers 3 (the 2nd one was terrible), I am excited that more and more filmmakers are working to shoot in 3D rather than settle for a Clash of the Titans or Last Airbender post-conversion debacle. Not only that, but the fact that these Alexa’s are becoming the camera to use on these systems means we can expect a greater quality out of the films. I am a fan of 3D but only when it’s not flying in my face or a lazy cash grab and I am definitely a fan of Arri’s entrance into the digital cinema market. Even Roger Deakins, ASC (The Shawshank Redemption) gives his heavy endorsement.
In the video below, you can see steadicam op Larry McConkey Chris Fawcett riding on a handless segway to operate the heavy rig. Estimates in the comments pit the weight around 60 – 80 lbs. Looks expensive, but entirely cool, to me!
UPDATE: It seems this video is from testing done for Hugo Cabret though it is the same type of rig that will be used for Transformers 3. More info here.