Ben McGuire started his career as a Runner for ONSIGHT, moving up to Post Production Co-ordinator where he was responsible for managing all the 2D work being processed through the Final Cut Pro and Avid suites.
He eventually became a Producer, working on 2D projects until getting involved with post producing a 3D project for Burberry. From that, Ben moved on to several high end 3D projects for Sky 3D including Kingdom of Plants 3D.
In this exclusive interview, we start by asking Ben what 3D tools he uses in post-production at ONSIGHT.
Ben McGuire: We use the SGO Mistika system which I would argue is the premier stereoscopic tool out there. It is certainly the one that has allowed us to move our 3D skillset forward. It’s very powerful and features great colour finishing.
3D Focus: What proportion of your work at ONSIGHT are 3D projects?
Ben McGuire: This year I would say 80% of what I do is 3D. I shall be managing the Galapagos project for Colossus Productions (the new production company formed by Atlantic Productions and Sky). There is another natural history Sky commission in the pipeline too.
For Galapagos 3D, tests have been done and the shipment of our equipment has now taken place. Our Camera Technicians are also joining the team. We will start to receive the rushes this summer, which is when my job commences, managing the processes of that material through the company until we deliver the project at the end of the year, as three films.
3D Focus: How do you combine a 2D and 3D edit?
Ben McGuire: It depends on what the final project is. If it is a 3D show, the focus is on the 3D content. The 3D market for broadcast is growing. With regards to Kingdom of Plants 3D With David Attenborough, a 2D version of the show was also required. In basic terms, it is the same edit as the 3D. We take a single eye and remove any stereo elements associated with that video stream. Sky's 2D channels often incorporate advertising and programming will therefore be reversioned with part breaks, as was the case with Kingdom of Plants 3D.
3D Focus: Do you ever outsource at ONSIGHT?
Ben McGuire: Not often. We have always prided ourselves on providing end to end solutions from camera rental to full post production. If we were to do a 2D to 3D conversion for example, we might look to outsource it but there was no such requirement for Kingdom of Plants 3D. That was shot natively in 3D and finished in 3D. Mistika offers a comprehensive toolset, allowing us to cover almost anything in-house.
3D Focus: Tell us about your new ONSIGHT plugin
Ben McGuire: ONSIGHT's OS 3D is a plugin, which our Post team developed to assist people in the 3D offline creative editorial by allowing users to make real time stereo alignment corrections to SBS (side by side) material using Final Cut Pro. For KOP, the main camera unit had a specially designed workflow that enabled offline standard corrections to take place on set. Back at the ONSIGHT Lab, OS 3D was used for additional processing of 3D corrected offline rushes for the multitude of formats used on this production.
Viewing any shots in the offline without corrections would be pretty uncomfortable especially when viewed for long periods of time. One needs to make stereo alignment corrections to alleviate this. Making these corrections will also give you a good gauge of how your 3D edit is taking shape before moving into the comparatively more expensive online stage. Before the development of the OS 3D plugin, corrections had to be done using the available alternatives, which are very prohibitive in terms of reliability, time and cost. This was creating a significant delay between shoot and offline edit. OS 3D has evolved from there and it has now been downloaded for free across the world and the feedback has been very positive.
3D Focus: Would you like to be able to work with more flexible depth budgets?
Ben McGuire: The biggest challenge I find is audience and client expectation. I have to ensure we comply with a broadcaster's specifications. In the early days of 3D broadcasting, the parameters were fairly conservative. As awareness has developed, these parameters have changed. On Kingdom of Plants, we have been able to explore the space further, which is exciting and proving to be ideal for the subject matter. Overall, I would approach each individual project on its own merits.
3D Focus: How much, on average, time and cost does 3D add to the post production period specifically?
Ben McGuire: 3D production is more complex and requires a unique approach to each project. It's hard to put a number on it, but additional time is certainly required for the online process. Making the right choice for your facilities provider, helps the process run smoothly and avoid unexpected costs.
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