Prime Focus Puts the 3D in Tim Burton's 'Frankenweenie'

Prime Focus World collaborates with Walt Disney Pictures and legendary director Tim Burton to convert his black-and-white stop-motion feature, “Frankenweenie,” to stereo 3D.

Prime Focus World (PFW) has collaborated with Walt Disney Pictures and legendary director Tim Burton to convert his black-and-white, stop-motion comedy horror Frankenweenie to stereo 3D. As exclusive stereo conversion partner, PFW was able to work closely with Burton, VFX Supervisor Tim Ledbury and VFX Producer Jonny Ffinch, and ultimately execute full creative control of the 3D conversion on the show. Richard Baker, PFW Senior Stereographer out of London, creatively led the charge across Prime Focus World's global production facilities to deliver the entire 3D conversion of the movie.

Frankenweenie, which is released on October 5, 2012 in the US and October 17, 2012 in the UK, is a remake of Burton’s own 1984 short film. It tells the heartwarming story of a boy who conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life. Using View-D, Prime Focus’ proprietary 3D conversion process, more than 2,000 artists, production and support staff at Prime Focus’ stereoscopy facilities in London and India collaborated to deliver 1,518 3D conversion shots for the film.

“We wanted the 3D to be as immersive as possible, to enhance the emotional impact of the film,” said Richard Baker, Prime Focus World Stereographer on Frankenweenie. "3D for me shouldn’t be a window into the screen. You need to feel surrounded by the movie to become truly immersed in the story. This was central to our planning when designing the 3D and creating the depth script. We had the opportunity to exaggerate the scale and depth much more than we would on a live-action show to really heighten dramatic moments, and we were also able to combat the miniaturisation of the puppets by using depth as a creative tool.”

“The beauty of stop-motion animation is that the majority of the shots are long, lingering and locked-off,” continued Richard. “The pace of the film is naturally slower, giving the audience more time to absorb the detail in the scene. But this also demands more attention to the 3D overall, particularly with the sculpting of the characters. We worked very hard designing the stereo look, and Tim (Burton)'s enthusiastic approval of our efforts was more than gratifying.”

Richard was assisted during the conversion process by Prime Focus Stereographers Jimmy Phillip and Barry O’Brien. Jimmy, who creatively led the Mumbai team, travelled to London to work with Richard and Barry on the look before returning to India to ensure consistency across shots.

As the sole conversion partner on the film, Prime Focus World's editorial department maintained the full film conform at their London VFX and View-D Conversion facility. This allowed Richard and the teams to review any part of the film on-site, whenever necessary, and ensured the consistency of the 3D throughout the film. The filmmakers also used the London Prime Focus facility as a production, editorial and creative hub, to review not just the 3D conversion, but also the VFX work on the movie.

Matt Bristowe, Joint Managing Director of View-D at Prime Focus World in London, added: “We were given the freedom to use depth as a creative tool throughout Frankenweenie, in the same way that you would use the grade or the edit. Working directly with Tim and the studio was fantastic, and the fact that they were so supportive and trusting of Prime Focus gave us the freedom to take this conversion to a whole new level.”

Prime Focus Co-founder and Chief Creative Director Merzin Tavaria concluded, “Frankenweenie marks Prime Focus' first conversion for Walt Disney Pictures, and working with visionary director Tim Burton was a real honor. We explored the potential of 3D to the maximum on this movie, and have worked hard with the filmmakers to make every sequence visually thrilling.”

Source: Prime Focus World

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