From Greenlight to RED Cameras
Exploring the high-tech cameras behind today's biggest movies
Popular digital camera company RED is on a mission to educate people across the country on the art of 3D filmmaking.
Earlier this year, the company established a workshop called REDucation X that held classes at RED Studios in Hollywood, California. Formerly known as Desilu Productions, the studio was home to the classic television series I Love Lucy. The workshops are meant to teach students the basics in filmmaking, as well as the pre-production and post-production processes.
The cost of a sixteen-week program is $15,000. The last day of classes at Red Studios Hollywood this year is December 21.
The first thing that caught my eye while walking on set was a giant green screen facing various props. Next to that sat a TS-5 Rig, a massive digital camera with dozens of gadgets used to produce blockbusters such as The Amazing Spider-Man. Learning to use such a high-tech camera is difficult, but the REDucation X instructions simplified things and campers were able to use the equipment successfully.
A table full of laptops that capture and edit 3D video stood behind the camera. Here, students got to see how images are layered in order to produce 3D imagery.
According to instructor Jill Smolin, nothing has affected the 3D film industry quite like the switch to digital cameras. She explained that before, people only got to use 20 minutes of film per reel when making 3D films. Now filmmakers can record hundreds of hours directly onto computers and edit straight from them, saving a lot of time.
Smolin also explained how 3D glasses have evolved over the years. The old red and blue models were made to isolate the eyes so that one eye captures red color and the other captures blue. This forced the eyes to work separately, which occasionally caused headaches. But today's 3D glasses have same-color lenses that do the work for you.
Another thing the instructors stressed was the importance of depth in 3D film. Filmmakers can use depth to bring images to life by making them appear bigger, smaller, closer, or farther.
The process I experienced at REDucation has been used to make all sorts of big-budget 3D blockbusters. The latest to hit theaters is The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which will be released on December 14.
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