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Smaller, lighter equipment catches on with producers

Productions pros are staring to figure out how to shoot 3-D the way they like to: not limited by the equipment. John Schwartzman, an award-winning cinematographer and the director of photography on the latest “The Amazing Spiderman” production, which hits 3-D screens July 3, 2012, wanted up-close and personal shots, and he wouldn't use a heavy handheld 3-D rig until it was small enough to allow his crew to work like they do shooting in 2-D.

For Schwartzman, smaller and lighter is better on set; it allows him to “maintain the actor’s eyeline.” That's why chose to shoot with a pair of RED EPIC cameras on a small mirror rig from 3Ality Digital. The entire rig weighs about the same as a typical film camera with accessories, and it can be used wirelessly, so directors of photography don't feel constrained.

“You don't get the unwanted shadowing effects during shots which sometimes appear using other 3-D rigs,” he said, adding that he wanted “all the benefits of a (stereoscopic) 3-D picture on a 2-D schedule.”

That's exactly what Steve Schklair, CEO and founder of 3Ality Digital, had in mind when his company designed the TS-5 beam-splitter rig, used on the “Spiderman” set.

“Our systems are designed to enable directors shooting in (stereoscopic) 3-D creative freedom and pixel-perfect accuracy of images, but with the same ease as 2-D filming,” Schklair said.