NHK Media Technology, Inc. (Japan) [ report provided by Monthly NEW MEDIA ]
Final process was done at NHK-MT original editing studio "Blaze"
Editing console at an editing studio named "Blaze"
The 3D footage has been edited at a high-definition 3Dstudio named "Blaze"designed by NHK-MT. One key featureof this studio is the ability to work on 3D editing with a large 150-inch screen. DeputyGeneral Manager Itaru Murayama said that "when we were capturing the footage in the field, we rarely had time toset up, and we faced some really severe conditions. However, we focused on delivering the reality of the scene and tried to draw ouraudience into it." Thenwe asked him to explain some major points of making high-definition 3D documentaries.
The 3D crew consisted of three members: a director,a cameraman, and a stereographer, which is a specialrole for shooting in 3D. The 3D footage was usually shot with two cameras that recorded boththe left and right eye images in separate recorders. This required aspecial rig on which the cameras were mounted, making the equipment unwieldy. Since maneuverability was a key to vividly capture the reality of the disasterareas, the team decided to use Panasonic's AG-3DA1, which is the world's first integrated twin-lens 3D camerarecorder. At first glance, it looks like a compact high-definition camera recorder.
The acquisition was done like an taking place game between the cameraman and the stereographer
Chief Engineer Akira Saito, a stereographer and an expert of 3D acquisition, said "this integrated twin-lens camera really provided maneuverability during acquisition." Hideyuki Tabata, the chief of the 3D High-Definition Center and in charge of editing, claimed that "the amount of footagetaken in such a short period of time shows this camera'sportability."
Acquisition in 3D requiresexcellent teamwork between the cameraman and the stereographer. Director Murayama said, "A stereoscopic vision is recreated with two pieces of video footage using the parallaxof the left and right eyes, so controlling the parallax by the angle of convergence is crucial. This created tension between the cameraman who wants to shoot his angle and the stereographer who wants to control the 3Deffects. It's like an encampment game." Duringacquisition theyconstantly exchanged such questions or comments as "OK now?" or "Pull back a bit." "Even with an integrated 3D camerarecorder, a good 3D image can be shot not only by a cameraman but also using astereographer's 3D design,"explained Murayama.
Integrated twin-lens 3D camera
The two objects on the right are recorders to capture the left- and right-eye images, while the object on the left is a monitor for checking the 3D effect. It is small enough to fit into a backpack, giving portability.
Ensuring natural vision movement so that audiences can comfortably watch 3D
Chief Tabata relied on his almost two decadesof 3D experience while editing 3D at the Blaze studio. "I'm planning 3D footage thatpeople can watch from the beginningto the end without any discomfort that alsohas a natural vision flow. The key point is the different usage orknow-how of fade-in, fade-out, overlap, or captions from 2D image creation."
"Editing so that a montage leaps out at you and shows thedepth effect of the 3D footage is important," said Director Murayama. The falling snow in the scene where the bus was being removed from the roof actually added to the sense of depth in the footage, because itsmotion acted as a delicate layerbetween the objects in theforeground and the background.
Fixed-point observation 3D recording has increased its value as time passes
Shooting the removal of a bus from the roof of a building in 3D
Why does NHK-MT record the disaster areas in 3D? CEO Hirokazu Nishiyama explains. "We were considering what we could do for the disaster areas, and we decided to record them using the 3D technology that we've accumulated over the last quarter century. We hope thesense of depth that is missing in 2D will leadto new discoveries and contribute tofuture disaster prevention and disaster minimization."
Many areas affected by thedisaster have been recorded at fixed points of observation,including Taro in Miyako Cityand Rikuzentakata City in Iwate and Kesennuma City, Minami-Sanriku,and Ookawa Elementary Schoolin Ishinomaki City,Nobiru in Higashi-matsushima City,and Wakabayashi in Sendai City in Miyagi. The value of fixed-point observation footage will inevitably increase astime passes. The amount of information in 3Dalso deserves attention. Although the camera was small, one lens recorded in full high-definition quality 1920x1080 resolution, and the twin lens doubled the amount of captured data.
Chief Engineer TakaoIto at the Tohokuoffice in charge of the acquisition said that "3D footage allows you to see the thicknessof theair." Murayama added: "After viewing the 3D footage, some people said the sense of 'being there' is even more vivid than actually being at the place. The hidden potential of 3D film is full of surprises."
A 16-minute documentary calledthe "Aftermathof the Tohoku Earthquake" was created and screened at the DisasterReduction and Human Renovation Institution 3D theater from last summer to this March.A sequel including footage showing the disaster areas a year later will be completedin late April.
Kesennuma one month after the disaster (photo provided by NHK-MT)
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