Thursday, September 19, 2013

Making the Wizard of Oz 3D

Back a 10+ years ago, I spent some time at Warner Brothers studios trying to convince them that they should convert to all digital.  The idea of storing images on film seems so arcane.  After seeing how they worked and thinking about it, I changed my mind.  While production and post processing/editing make sense in digital, film is a wonderful archiving medium.  As we talked about recently, digital is not the best way to store something for an unspecified length of time because it isn't clear what format will be most compatible with future systems.  You can always pick up a piece of film and look at it.  There will always be a way to view it.
I'm really glad that they had the Wizard of Oz on film because Warner Brothers has been busy restoring it and converting it to 3D.  They have a rather manual process for converting from 2D to 3D (not like the system we recently talked about), but the results will certainly impress.  They had over 1300 people working on it by hand for 14 months.  The movie itself is a little over 100 minutes long.  At 24 per frames per second, that works out to less than 150,000 frames or a little over 100 frames per person.  I'm pretty sure that I could make 100 frames look pretty good in 14 months.  No news about whether or not they listened to Pink Floyd while working on it (you should try this).
The video below gives a hint about how the 3D process worked.

More information available here and here.

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