Quantel's stereoscopic Pablo sits inside Stereoscope's 3D digital mastering theater and is designed to be the center of the studio's entire DI workflow. The system provides an integrated environment for assembly, editing, conforming, effects, titling, color grading, and spatialization of digital stereoscopic images. It can simultaneously play out and process two streams of synchronous high-resolution media, with no rendering necessary. This capability lets creative artists adjust stereo 3D material in real time, allowing interactive experimentation in order to achieve the correct stereo depth.
In the summer of 2007, Dave Cummins and Jeff Pierce conceived Stereoscope, realizing that 3D was becoming the next big thing in feature film production and exhibition, and leading to a growing need for stereo 3D postproduction.
"We saw a marketplace in which there were many DP's knowledgeable about 3D, emerging 3D camera rigs, but no real focus on post," says Cummins, director of business development at Stereoscope. "There are already about 800 3D digital cinema theaters now," he continues. "Disney's Hannah Montana & Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Concert, which was exhibited only in 3D, turned out to be a blockbuster. It demonstrated the incredible potential of the format."
"There are other boxes out there," Cummins continues, "but with those you ingest in one system, conform in another, and composite in yet another. The workflow is more difficult. The reason we went with Quantel is that it allows us to do all the functions in real time on one box. It simplifies everything and lets us be major players in this space."
Stereoscope is starting out offering stereo 3D mastering and post, and plans to add services as it expands, including production, staging, 7.1 audio mastering, graphics, and digital distribution.
The facility has built a 30x40x15-foot three-sided stage, as well as a 7.1 mix room centered on a Solid State Logic digital board, with Pro Tools. Also available is a Sony HDCAM SR deck, allowing the acquisition and output of RGB 4:4:4 images, as well as an Avid Nitris for editorial work.
"Our ultimate aim is to provide resources so someone can come in, shoot 3D images, capture those images into Pablo, and then do all the necessary previsualization and postproduction," Cummins says. "We're in the production and postproduction business. We're display-agnostic," says Cummins. "Whatever standard comes about, we're going to be part of it. And with the Quantel Pablo at the center, we can master for everything, from IMAX all the way to video for handheld mobile devices."
There's a sense of excitement at Stereoscope about upcoming projects. "We're developing a new vernacular," says Cummins. "We can now master for the 3D space and apply spatialization treatments suited to each screen size. It's a great time to be in this business."