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Friday, 17 December 2010 19:05

Panavision Enters the 3D Arena

Written by  Staff
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Panavision, designer, manufacture and rental of camera systems, is in the 3D business.  Three major features recently completed production using cameras, lenses and 3D rigs provided by Panavision. Those features include, A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, shot by Michael Barrett, The Darkest Hour, photographed by Scott Kevan, and Bait, shot by Ross Emery.  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, lensed by Dariusz Wolski, ASC, was shot using camera and lens packages provided by Panavision, paired with rigs provided by Pace on the 1st unit and Element Technica rigs for the 2nd unit in London. Panavision’s current inventory of 3D camera rigs includes the Quasar, Pulsar and Neutron, manufactured by Element Technica.


Recent productions using 3D equipment provided by Panavision have been shot in locations from Russia to Australia.  “As 3D technology gains momentum, Panavision has positioned itself as a player in this field,” said Phil Radin, Executive Vice President, Worldwide Marketing. “We are the only rental company in the world able to supply a total 3D solution including rigs, digital cameras and lenses, and offer localized global support.”  

Michael Barrett, the cinematographer on A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, had looked at other systems, and felt that “as a starting point, we wanted a camera with which we were already familiar. To date, we had used the Genesis camera on five films and knew what it could do. I said to our camera team, 'with regards to production speed, I don’t want to know we are shooting a 3D movie; let’s make the process as fast as 2D.’ We decided to use only zoom lenses. The amount of time saved there was considerable as the Panavision lenses tracked very well. We only added two members to our crew, a stereographer, Paul Taylor and rig tech/B-camera stereographer, Gary Isaacs. There was very little down time.”

Barrett was impressed with the rigs, adding, “The Element Technica rig is so solid it can easily accommodate the Genesis cameras.”
Barrett was also happy with Panavision’s support during production. “The support of Panavision is something we have grown to take for granted. Two Panavision techs joined us during preproduction to facilitate our introduction to the rig. They stayed for the first week of production to ensure everything went smoothly but by then everyone was perfectly comfortable.” Barrett added, "We came in on schedule and on budget. The producers and studio were thrilled with the results.”

Michael Weldon, 1st AC on A Very Harold & Kumar Christmas, agreed. “Panavision bent over backward to manufacture and make any pieces we needed to help make the whole 3D process much simpler for us.  They were excellent in servicing our show, making the process pretty seamless from the time we initiated the 3D package.  We had people from Panavision who were with us every step of the way, from manufacturing parts to explaining all the different technology that goes along with 3D. Panavision never disappointed us.”

For Scott Kevan, cinematographer on the science-fiction thriller The Darkest Hour, which shot on location in Moscow, his initial reaction was to go to Panavision “since I felt very comfortable with Panavision as a camera and lens rental house.  Their cameras are well-maintained and top-notch, and with the relationship they have developed with Element Technica, they had the support from the 3D side.” Kevan’s package consisted of a total of five cameras: Sony F-35s on both A and B-camera, and an extra camera for 2D shots. They also had four Sony P1 cameras on two lighter weight Neutron rigs.

While on location dealing with several challenging issues, including a monumental fire that broke out in Moscow during production, Kevan explained that “things always break, there is always wear and tear, but Panavision sent out techs for two weeks to help get us set up and rolling, then stayed with us for an additional week to make sure things were running smoothly.  During the fires, they sent out a lens tech to clean up the lenses.  It was as seamless as I could have hoped for.”  The service Panavision provided Kevan and his crew is “one of the best qualities that Panavision has to offer.  You can call them up anytime and talk to anyone and they will get back to you.  We were as far away as Moscow and they got someone on a plane as soon as they could to get our lenses back in shape.”  Some equipment was serviced out of Panavision’s UK facility, which underscored the global reach of Panavision to provide equipment from any location.

Bait 3D Cinematographer Ross Emery also appreciated the time and effort Panavision put in to help his production, which just finished shooting on Australia’s Gold Coast.  “Honestly, it would have been very difficult to make this movie without Panavision.  Their investment and commitment to 3D technologies is a huge advantage to filmmakers. Without a company the size and stature of Panavision behind these projects, they would be very difficult to achieve.  The main thing you need with 3D is backup; it is an evolving technology that needs to be addressed on an ongoing basis. To rent equipment and then stand aside is not the way Panavision does things, and I really appreciate the role they played in making my experience on Bait 3D a successful one,” said Emery.

Trevor Loomis, 1st AC on Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, wouldn’t consider working on the feature without Panavision’s support. “We were about to shoot a huge 3D movie, and we needed a lot of equipment. There is only one company in the world who can support a production like this, and that is Panavision.” Pirates shot in several locations, including Hawaii, Los Angeles, Puerto Rico and London. Panavision’s Dan Sasaki and Mike Hibarger worked with the crew to match the lenses and the cameras.  “The lenses tracked really well, and it was seamless. We had no lens issues; no camera issues,” said Loomis, adding, “Panavision customer service is unparalleled. It is a global company with global support that goes out of their way to support us and help us do what we do.”

Panavision’s mission is to set a standard of service ensuring that every 3D shoot is a positive experience.  In addition to the normal camera crew, a trained rig technician is required to operate the rigs.  Panavision works with and trains the 2D crew for a seamless integration of onset workflow with 2D and 3D technicians.

“Our support also includes the availability of 2D and 3D on-set real-time monitoring and playback solutions as well as the provision of custom-engineered solutions, each designed to the precise demands of your production,” added Radin.

Panavision is committed to providing an end-to-end 3D capture solution that provides its customers with premiere service, global support, depth of inventory and technical expertise that is unmatched in our industry.

For more information contact: Suzanne LezottePanavision Inc.Worldwide Marketing Communications DirectorTel: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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