Mike Fink Talks View-D
Earlier this month, Prime Focus hosted a series of receptions touting its new global rebranding, including the launch of View-D, a proprietary 2-D-to-3-D conversion process that allows filmmakers to efficiently create stereoscopic 3-D movies from source material shot on virtually any medium. Mike Fink, CEO of Prime Focus VFX, recently chatted about its benefits for converting both library titles and new releases.
Bill Desowitz: How did this come together?
Mike Fink: The short story is that we knew that there were people out there trying this and we have worked the last couple of years on a few stereo movies. And sometimes we had to fix things, and we developed some ways to salvage an eye and make it work. Anyway, Chris Bond was looking at stereo and we were approached by a couple of studios if we had a technique for converting 2-D to 3-D, and were we interested in showing them anything. Well, we didn't have a technique at the time, but we talked about it and came up with things to think about. And one day, Chris said to himself: "I think I know how to do this." So he sat down at his computer, and really had a proof-of-concept within 45 minutes. We already had people in India working on something that was not too dissimilar from what Chris was working on: typical of India because they have such an abundance of people to do this work. But there's was much more labor intensive and similar to what's being done elsewhere -- and probably would've gotten us into patent issues. But Chris' technique was really different, really new. And really looked at 2-D and 3-D in a different way and got a good-looking result.
BD: What happened next?
MF: We started developing the code for other purposes and re-purposed it for this. But then we started cleaning it up and making it non-specific.
MF: Some of it came out of Journey; some of it came out of a recent stereo movie that we're working on now. All from experiences we've had working on compositing stereo images. But we have an R&D department in Winnipeg doing lots of plug-ins and codes for all kinds of things to images to improve the composite. And it turns out that some of those tools, when applied correctly, can do some amazing things to create a second eye. And they had to be applied in the right order and they had to be tweaked and there was a lot of work that needed to be done, but in the end we had a process which converts 2-D to 3-D and gives you a great-looking image.
BD: Rob Hummel [CEO of the rebranded Prime Focus Post Production] was said he was impressed.