FlyingS3D opened its doors early in 2010 as France’s first dedicated stereoscopic 3D post production facility – indeed, one of the first in Europe. FlyingS3D is the brainchild of managing director Audrey Bourdiol, who had spent her career up until then looking after the technical side of one of France’s largest post houses. With already more than 30 major S3D projects under its belt, in 2012 FlyingS3D won the full post production for ‘Feu’ (Fire) – a 3D film by Le Crazy Horse – one of its most ambitious projects to date. Le Crazy Horse cabaret was founded in 1951 by the avant-garde artist Alain Bernardin and has delivered its own special brand of glamour entertainment to millions of men and women for more than sixty years. ‘Feu’ is designed to bring Le Crazy experience to cinema audiences worldwide; 3D was “the natural choice” to achieve this aim, says Audrey Bourdiol.
If the shoe fits
Directed by Bruno Hullin (World Cup 2010 3D) and under the artistic direction of the famous shoe designer Christian Louboutin (think red soles and very high heels), ‘Feu’ includes twelve different Le Crazy dance routines and interviews with Louboutin and the Crazy girls. Louboutin describes Le Crazy Horse as “an iconic Paris monument, a monument to dance, a fantastic, modern idea of the celebration of Women for Women.” ‘Feu’ reflects that idea perfectly.
In at the start
Le Crazy historical place – avenue George V, Paris 8 – was too small to accommodate the filming, so the shoot took place at a studio. Pre-production began a year before the shoot itself. FlyingS3D were called in right at the start to advise on the S3D workflow for the shoot and post production. At this early stage the stereographer Hugo Barbier was also chosen. Barbier worked alongside Thierry Pouffary on director Wim Wenders’ highly-regarded debut 3D movie ‘Pina’.
The studio shoot took just five days to capture the 12 routines that make up the action sequences of the film. The action was shot on a PS Technik Freestyle 3D beam-splitter rig at 5K per eye using RED EPIC cameras. Special filters were necessary to avoid polarization. Everything was shot 25P, but some sequences were also shot in 50P and 100P depending on the context – the team found that close ups with swirling hair in particular required higher frame rates to give smooth motion. FlyingS3D Pablo colorist and stereo specialist, Pierre Sudre, notes that “more and more people are now asking for 48fps shooting and post – I’m guessing we’ll have our first high frame rate project through the door in the next six months – our Pablo’s ready now to handle it of course!” Two further days’ shooting delivered the green screen material. Flying S3D had a Quantel Pablo PA on set throughout to check the stereo as the shoot progressed. Each evening the stereographer came back to FlyingS3D to review the day’s footage and evaluate the different framerate material on the Pablo in Flying S3D’s generously proportioned grading suite via its Christie 2K projector. At the end of the shoot FlyingS3D had around 15 hours of dailies, which required a week of stereo preparation (principally syncing left and right eyes) before being exported as DNxHD files for editing on FlyingS3D’s in-house Avid Media Composer system. Editing lasted around three weeks with editor Dominique Durand working closely with director Bruno Hullin.
Pierre Sudre then set to work on all the finishing on FlyingS3D’s Pablo. He began with three days of conforming together with compositing and finessing CGI elements created by FlyingS3D’s in-house VFX team on 3DStudio Max and Nuke. Two days of stereo correction followed, rounded out with three more for grading, working together with Hullin and Barbier. “The film was deliberately shot with ‘soft’ stereo against dark backgrounds with just a hint of light to give reference for the 3D depth,” says Sudre. “In this way the stereo matches the subtlety of the dancers’ movement; Bruno Hullin didn’t want the 3D to be what made the film memorable, but the means to bring the viewers into the intimate atmosphere of the Crazy Horse without overpowering their senses.”
“3D immerses us in the scenic space. It has us penetrate the show, highlighting such or such a detail. We draw the eye as close to the body, the muscles, the emotions and the sensuality as possible. 3D gives us a new artistic viewpoint, indiscernible viewpoints for the audience in the auditorium – high angle shot, low angle shot, circular motions..,” adds Bruno Hullin.
Since deliverables were required for both cinema and television distribution, after completing the cinema version, Pierre Sudre then made extensive use of Pablo’s floating windows capability to correct edge violations that, while unnoticeable in a cinema environment, would be disturbing on the smaller television screen.
Taking on the world
First shown at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2012, ‘Feu’ has already been sold into 17 countries via distributor MK2, French cinema’s leading independent group. All FlyingS3D’s careful work clearly paid off – as reviewer Sarah Vernhes confirmed: “The phenomenon of the 3D is amazing and the show takes on a new dimension. Close-ups reveal details invisible to the eye during the show at the cabaret. Tense muscles, hair flying, skin texture: the viewer has the impression of being able to reach out and touch.”
Making it personal
“We pride ourselves on giving a really personal service,” says Audrey Bourdiol. “The movie production team can ‘move in’ for the duration of post, and feel completely at home in our relaxed surroundings. That’s a real benefit of having editing grading, stereo and VFX all together in one place. “The Pablo takes this several steps further because it enables you to deal with the conform, stereo correction, grading and compositing all in one room, without having to waste time moving files around between systems,” Audrey Bourdiol continues. “This gives us a major advantage over non-Quantel owning facilities, because we can deliver the result the director wants faster and without having to compromise. In practice, you often end up rejecting or replacing shots in the grade, which is where many problems only first become apparent. You can do this effortlessly in Pablo, as well as easily changing edits. Clients love our ability to make any changes they want – even at the final stage of a job. And on more and more jobs nowadays you have to change things in or even after the grading session. The flexibility of Pablo for doing this is unmatched; it has all the tools on-board to do it – whether it’s as simple as removing an unwanted object in the shot, reframing a clip or replacing a sky.
“When you add all that together with our proven expertise in S3D, it makes a very attractive proposition for 3D filmmakers. We are the only dedicated 3D facility in France, with more than 30 projects successfully completed. Our whole workflow is based around producing great-looking 3D smoothly and quickly; we work with all the leading French stereographers. “FlyingS3D’s location is also a factor in its ability to deliver what the customer wants. We’re right in the center of Paris – five minutes’ walk from such attractions as the Louvre, L’Opera and the ‘designer’ district – our customers like to come to FlyingS3D! And when they get here, we make sure they get the full attention they need and deserve to make great films. We’re an independent company so we can be very flexible – for example a distributor can pop in for a viewing at very short notice. This can be very helpful for producers in promoting their films,” Audrey Bourdiol concludes.
FlyingS3D’s 3D bibliography
FlyingS3D has completed more than 30 3D projects since it opened in 2010. Here’s just a small selection:
‘Une nuit au cirque’ – film about the famous Circus Bouglion, won best 3D at 3D Stereo Media 2010
The Red Carpet in 3D – Cannes 2010 and 2011 for LG
‘The Third Way’ – multi-award winning short film by Jean-Michel Tari
‘Beyond the Games’ – TV film and winner of Dimension3 2012 best TV Show
‘F*** me I’m famous!’ – David Guetta concert film
‘France from Above’ – 90 minute 3D television documentary
Gabin, le mime – starring Gerard Depardieu, Best 3D short Film at Dimension3 2012
Symphony in 3D – classic concert in Salle Pleyel in Paris – Official selection to Korean 3D International Film Festival 2011
California Dream 3D – 3D documentary road movie, French theater distribution at the end of November 2012
Les passagers du temps – 3D documentary pilot about insects, shot using macro stereo3D photography
24 Heures du Mans – 2012 3D promotional film
Les ailes de Johnny May – 3D documentary by director Marc Fafard – Post production 3D November-December 2012