Today we present an interview with the indie German production company tms and their latest S3D film. Let’s jump right in.
We have been producing advertising spots, image, product and corporate films for a long time, including multimedia installations. In 1999 we started to develop 3D Geo-animations, for example, simulated ‘flights’ through landscapes. At the time this was relatively new and quite cumbersome. Our work was used in Sport broadcasts (Tour de France) or in weather reports. Since Avatar we started to render our animation films in stereo 3D, and even for autostereoscopic display manufacturers who require up to eleven virtual cameras. To produce live-action in stereo 3D was the next logical step for us.
Ok, so these geo animations that you have been doing – were they always in 3D? How much extra effort was it to render it in 3D instead of 2D?
Well, you have to be careful with the term “3D” in the CGI space. Software programs such as 3ds Max have always been used to create 3D animations, which show three dimensional objects on a flat display. Now, we talk about stereo 3D (S3D) and I think this differentiation is oftentimes not made clearly, even in the Coverart of movie releases. But yes, S3D takes more work because we have to incorporate parallax and convergence issues just as in live-action shoots. Finally, the rendering process takes double the amount of data and time.
Tell us about your new 3D documentary
BLACK FOREST 3D is our first Indie S3D film and has been on my personal wish list for a long time. I always wanted to produce a Documentary. S3D made it even more challenging, also because we produced it mainly for the international market in mind.
It was easy to find the topic because the black forest is very close by and attracts many million visitors from overseas each year. Its nature, landscapes, myths and traditions lend itself to 3D but we also wanted to add a new perspective. We didn’t start out to produce yet another travel documentary, instead we aspired to depict a piece of Germany and its tradition, steeped in poetry and philosophy. Deutschland – Das Land der Dicher und Denker. We used many quotes and poems of our most famous thinkers within the film and the music is custom composed – not taken from free archives. We really think that we succeeded in making a unique documentary that immerses the viewer.
What we really liked about your film is that you use animation/CGI on top of the life action footage to explain things better, to make the film a more educating experience. Walk us through your favorite one or two examples.
Yes, the use of overlay graphical elements and animation is another key component of BLACK FOREST 3D. We use it to explain complex issues, such as a very unique architectural feature of an underground tunnel. The trains going through this tunnel are to gain extra altitude by following a complete circle of 360 degrees, similar to corkscrew stairs. This is a perfect example of how we could use 3D graphics to illustrate this factual sequence better.
We also drew some sketches about various myths as overlay graphics on top of the places where these creatures allegedly live. For obvious reasons we could not use ‘real footage’ of these mythical characters 🙂
The film looks like you used a lot of equipment. Care to reveal what you used in production?
Yes, sure. We were indeed very diligent in preparing each shoot and the equipment well in advance, right after the location scouting. We ended up using various sizes of cranes, tracks, Dolly, Steadycams, Tripods, Lights, various heavy rigs and smaller systems like GoPros for POV action scenes. The highlight was the use of our remote controlled Hexacopter, a drone. We always used two cameramen and sometimes even used a third camera such as the one that we fixed to the traditional steamtrain. BLACK FOREST 3D certainly used more equipment than most other indie 3D documentary productions but our goal was always to find the best angles and perspectives for each scene. Setting up the rigs was not always easy but I think the equipment is getting better very fast.
What are your plans about bringing this 3D film to the audiences? Will there be a 2D version?
3D Content Hub will help us distribute the film globally and at the moment we still have all the rights available. We feel that our film is not ‘yet another 3D travel title’ but something very unique and special. Yes, certainly, there is a 2D version because we knew from research and preliminary talks with our distributor that the 3D market is still relatively small. We also really want people all over the world (not just those with 3D enabled TVs) to see the beauty of “our” black forest.
For more info about this 2 x 45 minutes documentary visit http://3dcontenthub.com/3d-catalog/black-forest-3d
And click to see the Promo Clip on YouTube (We recommend to select right 3D setting and higher resolution before viewing).