Digital Pictures reveal how James Cameron’s DeepSea Challenge 3D documentary pushed stereoscopic filming to the limits
The Melbourne based TV post production company were selected to post produce Cameron’s epic which depicts the Avatar director’s plunge to the deepest point on earth in a one man submersible called DEEPSEA CHALLENGER.
James Cameron completed the record breaking dive on March 26th below the surface of the Pacific Ocean called the Mariana Trench. A variety of stereoscopic 3D cameras captured his experience including the three hours he spent on the sea floor, 11 km deep, in a solo-manned vehicle.
The vehicle was tiny (pilot chamber only measured 106cm across!) so a miniature custom 3D rig was built and attached to a robotic arm. It was housed in its own pressure proof chamber.
In addition to the dives, a crew filmed the process of the project from start to finish, capturing over 1000 hours of behind-the-scenes stereoscopic footage which occupied a whopping 220TB of storage space at Digital Pictures. Viewers will see the design briefings, submersible construction and dive testing.
SGO’s Mistika was used to handle a project that, according to Digital Pictures, presented “the most technically challenging stereoscopic imagery you could ever imagine”.
“Post producing stereoscopic content captured under such extreme environmental circumstances was always going to present a unique set of challenges to us.” states Digital Pictures' Technical Director, Nic Smith. “Having already completed the DI on the 3D feature Sanctum in 2010, also an underwater based project, we had a good idea of what image issues we might be faced with. But no one could have predicted the scale of the technical challenges presented to us on the Deepsea Challenge project. We have already successfully put shots through Mistika that you would never think could make it off the cutting room floor. Mistika is incredible, it has a stereoscopic toolset years ahead of the competition, and without it, the public audience wouldn’t get to experience as much of the incredible journey undertaken by James Cameron and his team.”
Various 2D and 3D deliverables have been specified, including a 3D IMAX version of the film, all of which are being post produced at Digital Pictures using Mistika.The film will feature the intensive technological and scientific efforts behind the dive and will be broadcast on the National Geographic Channel and documented in the National Geographic magazine.
For more information about the project visit www.deepseachallenge.com
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