Thursday, August 30, 2012

Blu-ray 3D Review: The Pirates! Band of Misfits in 3D

This week we review The Pirates! Band of Misfits in 3D, a stop motion animated film from Aardman Studios and Sony Pictures Animation, which came out on Blu-ray 3D this week.

Friday, August 24, 2012

3D Music Video: Xis - Entre o Amor e o Odio

Brazilian hip hop artist Xis released a 3D music video for "Entre o Amor e o Odio" ("Between Love and Hate"). The audio is all in Portuguese but it's fun to watch for the animation style alone. It mixes live action footage of the rappers with black and white animated 2D background elements layered in stereoscopic 3D. I hope more After Effects animators will see music videos like this and be inspired to produce work in stereoscopic 3D.

 Produced by Manos Music, Green Alien, Riff Studio and Workshop Goma.

Friday, August 17, 2012

3D Music Video: Downtown Struts - Lost in America

From AltPress: Chicago's The Downtown Struts have released a 3D music video for "Lost in America".

The video has a loose narrative following the band on tour, playing live shows, and having fun in between. It makes excellent use of the GroPro 3D camera rig, opening/closing with an underwater shot, riding around from the POV of a skateboard, and showcasing the entire stage and part of the audience during their live performances. On the road shots from the perspective of the tour van's driver evoke the feeling that you too are lost in America.

Check out their Big Cartel page for CDs, vinyl, and other merch, or like their Facebook page to follow their 2012 European tour.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thor 3D - Blu-ray 3D Review

It's time for the 2nd installment in our new weekly series of Blu-ray 3D reviews. Jill and I discuss Thor, a Marvel Studios film directed by Kenneth Branagh, starring Chris Hemsworth, Natalie Portman, Tom Hiddleston, and Anthony Hopkins.

Avatar 3D Collector's Edition Blu-ray coming Oct. 16

Finally, Avatar will be coming to Blu-ray 3D! Unless you bought one of the Panasonic 3D devices that the bare bones Blu-ray 3D was bundled with for far too long, or dropped $100+ on eBay to pick that up, James Cameron's film that launched a thousand stereoscopic ships has been unavailable in all its 3D glory. No word yet on if this will have all the special features from the 2D Blu-ray or new ones.

It's available for Pre-order on Amazon now. For those of you eager for a sequel, which likely won't be out til 2015, Hustler's adult parody This Ain't Avatar XXX 2: Escape From Pandwhora comes out August 1st.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blu-ray 3D Review: Mars in 3D: Images from the Viking Mission

With all the buzz over Curiosity and its 3D images from the Martian surface, I found Mars in 3D: Images from the Viking Mission, produced by Elliott Levinthal of Stanford University (who passed away earlier this year), to be a great look into the first US mission to the red planet. Not only did we get 3D images from those Viking probes, but this half-hour documentary from 1978 presents these images and gives context to both the process of capturing them and their historical significance. Check out our video review of the Blu-ray 3D release:

As other reviews have noted, the 3D is extreme in parts. The stills of the Martian surface are presented with excessive negative parallax and no floating windows. Some were taken from orbit using images from multiple orbits, resulting in different shadows in the left/right images. The narrator takes the time to explain that the images were taken by two cameras 0.8 meters across and walks the audience through how to try and fuse the hyperstereo images. This is one of the few releases where I will say "bad 3D" is acceptable, because it preserves these historic images as they were originally shot, and undoubtedly influenced how 3D images were captured on later Mars missions. The footage of the narrator is presented in 2D, and footage of the Viking probe model in action are presented in 3D that is much easier on the eyes.

If it wasn't for the restoration efforts spearheaded by CCRMA and for AIX Records releasing this, Mars in 3D could very well have faded into history like so many other lost 3D films. The restoration from the original film print was impressive for an independent release, with few signs of dust and scratches, and no signs of jitter. In the 40-minute interview special feature, Michael McNabb explains the process by which they restored the left and right 16mm prints. The superb 5.1 mix was prepared from the original computer music. The film owes a lot to its soundtrack, whose ethereal and ominous tones emphasize the awe and suspense of being immersed in the landscape of an alien world. Without it, this would be a rather dull series of rocky photos.

The special features include:
Interview with John Chowning and Michael McNabb: a dry but enlightening 2D 40-minute interview about the history and restoration of Mars in 3D. The two are joined by Uri Geva, the Film Advisor and Editor, and William Schottstaedt, one of the composers.
About the Project: on-screen text providing historical context to the project
Mars Suite by Michael McNabb: an option to play just this composition
Mars Music by William Schottstaedt: an option to play just this composition

Overall I would recommend this if you liked Space Station 3D, and for any fan of space documentaries, space history, and the history of stereoscopic cinema. While the film is dry, I found it to be much more informative than most IMAX documentaries.

This can be purchased through AIX Records' website for $19.98. The entire film is also freely available on YouTube (minus the 5.1 sound and high quality MVC encode of the Blu-ray).

3D Music Video: OK Go + Pilobolus - All Is Not Lost

OK Go released their 3D music video "All is Not Lost" on YouTube today. In the behind-the-scenes video below, Eric Kurland describes the process of shooting this in 3D with the Panasonic 3DA1.

3D Blu-ray Reviews

Hey 3D fans, we're starting a new weekly segment for Blu-ray 3D reviews. Check back every Thursday for new videos!