Jim Carbonetti talks Napoleon 3D

Jim Carbonetti, stereoscopic supervisor and compositor for 3D Blast, Inc in Los Angeles, has earned a reputation in the industry as an expert in guiding studios, producers and directors in 3D stereoscopic production, taking them from concept through post pipelines and delivery. He has an impressive portfolio of stereoscopic projects under his belt, and was recently tapped to guide the stereoscopic production for Napoleon 3D, a new comedy starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Russian actress, Anna Semenovich that brings an entirely new perspective to this legendary historic military conqueror.

Cast of "Napoleon 3D" along with Director Marius Weisburg review a scene in stereo. The video village included a 46" JVC passive polarized 3D display along with twin 24" LCDs.

IRIDAS caught up with Jim recently and he shared with us his experience on the set, and provided some insight into how SpeedGrade 2010 streamlined the stereo pipeline for the crew.

While onset Carbonetti captured behind-the-scenes footage in stereo. Here's a rare shot of Carbo shooting the "A" rig, while the 2D videographer shoots him, while the still photographer captures it all! That makes 4.

Using the latest version of Speedgrade 2010 on location during filming of Napoleon 3D in Kiev and Yalta, Ukraine, Stereoscopic Supervisor Jim Carbonetti was able to quickly make adjustments and corrections to stereo footage.

Carbonetti discusses upcoming scenes with producer Mike Dudko and DP Irek Hartowicz. The 3D comedy was shot entirely on location in the Kiev and Yalta areas of Ukraine, using royal palaces and historical settings.

“We shot this 3-D feature comedy with two sets of RED One MX-chipped cameras mounted on Element Technica Quasar rigs. I was able to load raw 4k RED footage along with smaller HD stereoscopic files recorded on Convergent Design’s NanoFlash recorders on my Windows7 3-D laptop, scrub through the clips, checking alignment and other stereo settings while monitoring our live feed in our stereoscopic video village.

“At one point halfway through production the producers needed a 3 minute stereoscopic music video for presentation to distributors in eastern Europe. Our editor was set-up in our hotel conference room where he was cutting sequences on his Avid edit station. After exporting an EDL from the Avid and loading it into SpeedGrade 2010, we imported all the Cineform muxed stereoscopic files directly into the timeline. I then synchronized and aligned each clip in the edit, going quickly from cut- to-cut. Since I favor setting my convergence in post, I was able to make all geometric corrections quickly, allowing me more creative time to play with convergence to get it just right. I was portable; I had just a small RAID connected to my laptop in my hotel room where I was able to build, adjust and render back out. Realtime playback was not necessary, but surprisingly I was able to play short sections at speed; I just needed to be able to quickly jump from cut-to-cut and work each shot. Color adjustments were mainly made using SpeedGrade’s new automatic color match feature – a big time saver!”

Jim had the luxury of a JVC 46" passive 3D display at his disposal no matter how remote or treacherous the locations were. The laptop had SpeedGrade loaded for on set initial stereo adjustments.

SpeedGrade 2010 plays an important role in Jim’s stereo pipeline today, largely because his experience with IRIDAS and its early innovations in real time stereoscopic and high resolution playback tools goes back to 2002. Much like with Napoleon 3D, Jim was faced with some significant challenges on a very high profile project with Paramount Theme Parks.

“My history with IRIDAS’ stereoscopic software began 8 years ago. After principal photography was completed on Paramount Theme Parks’ “StarTrek: Borg Invasion 4D” in late 2002, we needed a realtime stereoscopic HD playback solution as we began the post production at Threshold Digital Research Labs in Santa Monica, California. I had heard about FrameCycler DDS Bichannel (the predecessor to SpeedGrade) and how it was able to playback dual streams of uncompressed HD content.

We contacted Lin in Germany and he sent us a demo of the Bichannel software. We loaded it up on one of our Dual Xeon IBM workstations with an early Nvidia Quadro graphics card. We then plugged into twin linear- polarized projectors. The next thing I know we have full HD playback going!

Paramount was thrilled to see our work on the big screen, in realtime. Reviewing shots on the big screen became such an important aspect for the artists; instant feedback allowed faster turnaround times for the work. That version of DDS BiChannel really pushed the envelope and allowed us to become one of only a few post houses equipped to playback dualstream HD stereo footage direct-from-disc. I remember the constant procession of producers and directors visiting our facility where we would showcase our latest stereoscopic magic, all played back using IRIDAS’ software.

And from those early beginnings to the latest fully-developed SpeedGrade 2010 incarnation the basic principles still exist: fast, uncompressed dual-stream playback, but now with the addition of a full DI color toolset, compositing timelines and realtime geometric adjustments. I’m amazed at where the software has grown in these 8 years, and I’m thrilled to be along for the ride!”