Summer sky without a cloud,
beheld through plum tree limbs set rocking
by my creaking hammock ride,
and on the brokenhearted lawn,
the barking dogs collide. (more…)
Archive for February, 2009
Summer sky without a cloud,
Puff, the Magic Dragon, has been my friend for more than 50 years. It was in the spring of 1959 that I wrote the poem that became the song Puff, the Magic Dragon. I was a freshman at Cornell. I had been at the library at Willard Straight Hall, the Student Union building, and I’d read a sentimental poem about a dragon by Ogden Nash. As I walked down State Street to the apartment of Peter Yarrow – who became the “Peter” of Peter, Paul and Mary, and who set my poem to music – I thought to myself, “I can do better than Ogden Nash’s poem about a dragon.” Maybe I did. (more…)
In the first part of this article I articulated the concept of raw stereo data, an analog of that which is now common practice with regard to electronic cinematography or for exposing camera negative. This approach allows for more extensive manipulation in post than exposures that bake in the final effect. This last part of Part One discussed beamsplitter rigs.
In this discussion I propose a methodology for stereoscopic production — a workflow methodology and a way to look at the stereoscopic pipeline that has not been clearly articulated heretofore. The idea is based on the concept of raw data, so to help the reader understand the idea I’ll give some background.
On a rainy day in February I drove way out on Tujunga Boulevard to Disney’s theme park cavernous construction facility. It’s a place where they build props and stuff for the parks, and also test projection systems and rides. The purpose of heading there was to see a 70mm print of one of the most important stereoscopic movies in history: Murray Lerner’s Magic Journeys. It was in 1982 that Disney introduced a high production value stereoscopic movie to its theme parks. The movie, shot on 65mm (which is printed on 70mm), was shown in a dual-projection setup. Not revolutionary technology — it is the same thing that was done for the 1939 World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows Park in New York – a place I used to ride my bike in when I was a kid in Flushing.
The 3-D or stereoscopic cinema is an extension of the quest for three-dimensionality. Creating three-dimensional images has always been a part of the cinema, and its creative people have tried to control and exploit it to tell the story. The current interest in the stereoscopic cinema is not a radical departure from what has come before; the stereoscopic depth cue is one of many, but is the only cue that requires two eyes to perceive.
This is a story about an independent filmmaker who wants to make 3-D movies, who meets a guy from an animation studio that, many years later, gets sold and turned into another studio, and it’s a story about a guy who directs a 3-D rock video for the filmmaker, who years later asks for help in making a 3D feature, and now we’ve got Coraline in 3-D. The story begins in 1974 and end in 2009. This is a story about how I helped Henry Selick, the director of Coraline, and his director of cinematography, Pete Kozachik. The story starts before I met Henry, in 1974 when I was an independent filmmaker and attended a filmmaker’s conference near Tampa. There I met the head animator at Will Vinton Studios. Will Vinton is famous for his claymation ad of those dancing raisins, to the tune “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”