3D technology at the movies: “Getting Perspective III” Academy panel series
3D technology at the movies was a sensation back in the early-to-mid-1950s: Alfred Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder (1954); Bwana Devil (1952) with Robert Stack; and House of Wax (1953) with Vincent Price under the direction of Andre De Toth, who had only one eye and thus could not get the 3D effect.
Movies in 3D are back in vogue, thanks in large part to the success of James Cameron’s Avatar and Tim Burton’s 2D-to-3D Alice in Wonderland. Clash of the Titans, How to Train Your Dragon, Shrek Forever After, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 are four more recent/upcoming 3D (or 2D-to-3D) releases.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will devote three Tuesday evenings - June 22 and 29, and July 6 - to “exploring 3D techniques and their rapidly expanding use in filmmaking” in the series “Getting Perspective III: Exploring the Craft of 3D Movie Technology.” The series will feature conversations with filmmakers, 3D demonstrations and movie clips, in addition to a screening of Catherine Owens and Mark Pellington’s U2 3D, the Irish rock band’s 2008 concert movie.
The following are descriptions of each night’s focus:
Virtual 3D (Animation/Motion-Capture/Conversion)
Tuesday, June 22, 8 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater, Hollywood
This evening will showcase movies in which the 3D experience is created using digital techniques. The program will highlight CG key-frame animation, performance capture and 2D-to-3D conversion. These techniques will be explored in onstage conversations with director Hoyt Yeatman (G-Force), visual effects producer Matt DeJohn (G-Force) and stereoscopic supervisor Phil McNally (Monsters vs Aliens).
Photographed 3D (Live Action/Stop-Motion)
Tuesday, June 29, 8 p.m. at the Linwood Dunn Theater, Hollywood
Live-action narrative, documentary and stop-motion animated techniques will be examined as well as the post-production tools used to finish a modern 3D movie. Science and Technology Council member Rob Hummel, director Eric Brevig (Journey to the Center of the Earth), director of photography Pete Kozachik (Coraline) and stereoscopic engineer Pierre (Pete) Routhier (X Games 3D: The Movie) will discuss the challenges of working in 3D and the future of live-action stereoscopic filmmaking.
“U2 3D” (2008)
Tuesday, July 6, 8 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, Beverly Hills
The final night of the series will feature a screening of the concert movie “U2 3D.” The digital live-action 3D motion picture captures the band in Latin America during its “Vertigo” tour in 2006. The documentary’s director, Catherine Owens, will be joined by director of 3D photography Peter Anderson and editor Olivier Wicki to discuss the movie.
Presented by the Academy’s Science and Technology Council, “Getting Perspective III” will be hosted by Academy member Rob Engle, senior stereographer and 3D visual effects supervisor at Sony Imageworks.
Tickets for each night of “Getting Perspective III: Exploring the Craft of 3D Movie Technology” are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. The Linwood Dunn Theater is located at 1313 Vine Street in Hollywood.
The Samuel Goldwyn Theater is located at the 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.
For more information call (310) 247-3600 or visit the Academy’s website.
Alfred Hitchcock & Sam Peckinpah + Hayley Mills & Pola Negri: Packard Movies
Well, all four film celebrities will have their work featured this week at the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va.
Note: Hitchcock and Pola Negri have one less thing in common. Frenzy and The Moon-Spinners have been canceled. Instead, the Packard Campus will screen Hitchcock’s 1941 suspense melodrama Suspicion, starring Cary Grant and Oscar winner Joan Fontaine, and Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.
Sam Peckinpah’s Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974), follows a bartender and his sex-worker girlfriend as they embark on a journey after a $1 million bounty on the head of the Alfred Garcia of the title. Roger Ebert calls Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia “a weird, horrifying film that somehow transcends its unlikely material.”
Hayley Mills, the (non-singing) Miley Cyrus of the ’60s, stars in The Moon-Spinners (1964), in which Mills and Peter McEnery become enmeshed with jewel thieves, murder, and silent movie diva Pola Negri. This perfectly watchable romp was Negri’s last film appearance.
Programs are preceded by an informative slide presentation about the film, with music selected by the Library’s Recorded Sound Section. Some screenings will also include short subjects before the main feature. Titles are subject to change without notice.
All Packard Campus programs are free and open to the public. For reservation information, call (540) 827-1079 extension 79994 or (202) 707-9994 during business hours, beginning one week before any given screening. For further information on the theater and film series, visit www.loc.gov/avconservation/theater/.
Schedule and synopses from the Packard Campus press release:
Thursday, June 24, 7:30 p.m.
“Suspicion” (RKO, 1941)
Friday, June 25, 7:30 p.m.
“Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (United Artists, 1974, R-rated*)
An American bartender and his prostitute girlfriend go on a road trip through the Mexican underworld to collect a $1 million bounty on the head of a dead gigolo. This crime thriller was directed by Sam Peckinpah and stars Warren Oates, Isela Vega, Robert Webber, Gig Young and Kris Kristofferson.
*No one under 17 will be admitted without a parent or an adult guardian.
Saturday, June 26, 2:00 p.m.
“Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” (Walt Disney Productions, 1937)
Barbara Leigh-Hunt Frenzy image: Universal Pictures.
According to London’s bfi Southbank (webiste) site, filmmaker Joseph Losey, a victim of the Red Scare who settled in England in the 1950s, had already directed Bertold Brecht’s play Galileo in 1947 in Los Angeles. In the 1974 film version to be screened on Friday, June 18, Academy Award nominee Topol (for Fiddler on the Roof, 1971) replaces Charles Laughton in the title role.
The bfi site adds that Galileo was made for the American Film Theater, thus retaining “much of its Brechtian theatricality, including a revolving set and Hanns Eisler’s music, to underscore the various points made in its debate about the clash between scientific theory and religious dogma. The cast [including Edward Fox, John Gielgud, Tom Conti, and Michael Lonsdale] is particularly impressive.”
Also on Friday at the bfi Southbank: Zhang Yimou’s great-looking (and pro-Chinese imperialism) Academy Award nominated Hero, starring Jet Li, Maggie Cheung, Tony Leung, and Zhang Ziyi; and François Truffaut’s period semi-documentary L’Enfant Sauvage / The Wild Child.
Synopses from the bfi:
Friday 18 June
Joseph Losey adapts Brecht’s play about the clash between scientific theory and religious dogma.
Truffaut himself plays Dr Itard, the 18th-century behavioural scientist who tries to ‘civilise’ a boy found living like an animal in a forest. An extraordinarily lucid study of the relationships between the individual and society, impulse and rationality, nature and nurture, the film - based on the real Itard’s journals, and fittingly set to Vivaldi’s eminently civilised music - is also a model of economic storytelling: lithe, elegant, unsentimental and, in its own quiet way, very affecting indeed.
Chinese master Zhang Yimou conceived this film as a homage to Kurosawa and especially to Rashomon, the speculative flashback structure of which it echoes. A martial arts movie set against the background of a plot to assassinate Qin Shi Huang, the man destined to unify China, it stirred political controversy, but is undoubtedly distinguished by its visual beauty, especially in the extraordinary colour scheme, where a different hue dominates each story.
Photos: bfi Southbank.