The 3D Experiment by Todd Jones originally posted at tetongravity

Thursday May 13th, 2010

Stevens Pass, Washington

James Cameron has predicted that 3D will replace 2D as the standard, mainstream format for film, television and online content in less than 25 years.

Cameron says, “Creating only good 3D content will be critical to swelling the market as bad experiences will make audiences wary of spending on 3D next time. They are being asked to pay a higher premium for a premium experience, so the quality always needs to be maintained.”

A few weeks ago a conversation about 3D technology took place in the headquarters of Teton Gravity Research.  TGR has always tried to push the limits of new technology. We shot the first ever commercial ski footage on the RED camera a few years ago when that came out. We worked with V.I.O to develop a functional action sports POV camera years ago.  Now it was time to start talking about 3D. We had one main shoot left for our new film Light the Wick. We spent the next few weeks going through a crash course in 3D filmmaking. 100?s of phone calls and hours of internet research later, we found a 3D technology partner who believe in our project and had the equipment to make it happen.

Five days ago, Josh Nielsen, Dustin Handley and myself loaded the rigs and drove 12 hours northwest to Stevens Pass to connect with Sammy Carlson, John Spriggs, and Byron Wells.  Jason Goodman from 21st Century 3D and his assistant Pedro met us with crates of gear. The plan was to exit the 2D world we have worked in for 15 years and enter the space of the third dimension. We began working through the technical and physical challenges we would face.  How do we move the rig around the mountain? How do we get the camera in the helicopter? What mounts can hold the weight of the camera?

We retooled different plates and mounts, worked outside the box and figured out how to make it all work.

Three days later, we have all breathed a sigh of relief. The experiment is working and the results are amazing. The shots are popping off the screen. This is one of the more exciting film projects I have been involved with in a long time. It will be amazing to see this segment on the big screen. I think people will experience something never before seen in the snow universe.

Our camera rig is about $500,000 put in a $2,700,000 heli. These are some expensive toys.

Here are some photos:

Todd Jones tuning in the 3D camera

Spriggs sessioning one of the features while being filmed from the heli

From Left to Right: Dustin, Todd, Pedro, Josh, and Jason.