Stereoscopic Supervisor Robert Neuman Talks Disney 3-D
In some cases we work back and forth between layout trying to get a better result. But in other cases, for example, in live action, if the only way the director could get a shot is to go with a 200 millimeter lens, that shot would make for terrible 3-D. I have these techniques at my disposal, as somebody working in animation, where I can use multi-rigging. I had shots in Tangled where we used 8 separate stereo rigs to sculpt the depth of the shot. So I’m able to take something that wasn’t, nominally speaking, in a good place for 3-D and make it great. I think that’s been one thing that has allowed the process to flow, and maybe not have to create as many rough points in terms of integrating 2D into 3-D.
DS: It sounds like, unlike live action, you really have the luxury of working in and around the people making the film without imposing a tremendous amount of structure in how they’re working.
RN: Exactly. And at the same time, getting all the benefits of, as we’re creating, as we’re having all this great looking 3-D come through the pipeline, having everybody along the way start to realize the potential, and as part of their own process, just kind of in an organic way, start to adopt it.
DS: What is the next big 3-D innovation going to be?
RN: Well I’m not sure if there is one on the horizon, a single kind of game changing thing that I’m looking towards. So far, we’ve had a lot of ideas that really were innovational for 3-D that we introduced in our animated films. I don’t necessarily know how many more of these there are. What I've seen is a refinement of our technique, with each film just trying to keep on pushing the envelope a little bit more, using most of the same techniques that we’ve already developed. It's been more of a refinement, integrating it more into the process, and just seeing where the opportunities are to tell a better story. Like I said, as you get more and more acceptance from the 2D filmmaking community, it starts to lend itself to more opportunities. So it’s been that kind of organic growth that we’ve been doing. But yeah, with every film we have we’ve pushed things more. We did a lot of ground breaking stuff on Bolt. On Bolt we did this multi-rig technique, as an example of one of the things we developed.
We had maybe 10 shots on Bolt using the multi-rigs. On Tangled, certainly on over 30% of Tangled we were using multi-rigs. So it’s refining the technique, getting it to fit more into the process, and then allowing that to expand our use of it. On Bolt it was tougher. On Tangled I didn’t have to compromise on a single shot esthetically from a 3-D standpoint. I was able to get each shot to where I wanted to get it, and so that was just pushing, taking these techniques that we started on Bolt and pushing forwards on Tangled.
And like I said I’m continuing to do that, continuing to improve the technique, integrate it more into the process, and then start to see the benefits come from having a studio that’s becoming more and more immersed in 3-D, seeing what kind of opportunities that lends itself to.
Dan Sarto is publisher and editor-in-chief of Animation World Network.