Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Panasonic 3D HD

If you’re interested in Panasonic’s upcoming 3D HD camera, the 3DA1, then check out the video of their Press Conference at NAB. They loaned the camera to a couple of 3D filmmakers for a day, let them play with it, and then had them up on stage to deliver a few awkward words about it.

Actually, they seemed to like it.

Two of the speakers were Pierre de Lespinois and Mick Pacifici from Evergreen films who recently shot a 3D concert film of the Dave Matthews Band called “Larger than Life” – though not with this camera, and more on that below. Wayne Miller from Action 3D also got to play with the 3DA1.

They really liked the weight of it. At 6lbs, it’s a lot lighter than the rigs they are currently using, and they think it will make it possible to shoot a lot more setups than they can currently.
“I’m excited because it means my back is going to get a little less work in the future having a lighter camera.”
They also said that it usually takes from one to three days to calibrate and register cameras, and having this camera able to do it itself will be a big time saver.

The last speaker was extreme sports shooter Per Peterson. He was also impressed by it’s size and what he was able to capture with it:
“This new tool, the 3DA1, is really a great education tool for 3D if nothing else. You can see how convergence works, you can learn about all the convergence errors that go along with 3D with vertical lines and panning. And I was really impressed at the amount of error that I created that I could get away with this tool. And it’s going to be really incredibly effective as an education piece as well as a straight up 3D capture device.”
You can find the video by clicking on the Video Showcase tab at the NAB 2010 page. Then choose “Bob Harris introduces Guest Speakers” to get straight to the meat of it.

I was intrigued by the mention of Larger than Life, as I hadn't heard of it, and I like to think of myself at a fan of the Dave Matthews Band. I thought it might still be in production, but a quick search revealed that it had already been released! Turns out that it was a special event film; available for one week in late December of last year. The review at the New York Times was mixed, noting that if you were a fan of the band you'd probably enjoy it, but that for others:
…it’s a lot like being dragged along to a concert you’re not interested in, except that there’s no beer. The 3-D cinematography doesn’t add much; if anything, it’s distracting, making the musicians look like animated figures moving against a flat background.

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