The rise of 3D presents a fresh set of challenges for the natural history film industry. Esprit’s Director, Dave Blackham gives an update  on the solutions Esprit can offer.

Esprit have specialized in supplying kit and skilled support for the wildlife film industry for 20 years. Today over half of their work is for 3D productions.

Film makers are learning the hard way that stories or shots that worked in 2D do not always work in 3D. From a creative point of view, Dave feels that  with 3D new approaches are needed to help convey the story visually. The challenge is both creative and technical .

Ideally 3D works best in controlled situations, but the natural world doesn’t always co-operate, so Esprit has developed robust practical 3D kit specifically designed for wildlife filmmakers.

Esprit also offer tips and solutions to those wanting to adapt a 2D idea to 3D – As Dave puts it,  “It’s in part about adapting storytelling - we offer advice on how to use the equipment and techniques appropriately and to the best effect for 3D.” There is no one size fits all rig for 3D, we often find we are using several rigs for a production and always innovating to create new solutions.

Esprit hire the following 3D kit for wildlife films.

Red Epic

Relatively small and easy to set up for 3D. Offers outstanding image quality.

Photron Cameras

For high speed shots up to 2000fps.

LMP HD 1200 Cerberus Miniature Cameras

Very small, light weight and easy to rig. It has a 2/3 sensor camera so meets broadcasters HD requirements and can be used where larger cameras are unsuitable, eg: on lightweight jibs or polecams. This camera can also operate at higher frame rates and is very useful as it can operate side by side at 42mm IA so in some circumstances a mirror rig isn't needed.

Esprit recommend LMP HD 1200 cameras for lower budget 3D productions as they can be used on a mirror rig or Side by Side rig. For information about hiring these cameras, contact Esprit Film and Television using the button at the bottom of this page.

Esprit also hire out their own rigs, adapted specially for wildlife filming.

Esprit Harrier, Hawk and Gryphon Rigs have been used to shoot everything from 3D birds in flight to great white sharks, in cinema Features and commercials. They work underwater in the air and on land.

By collaborating with companies such a British Technical Films Ltd, Esprit have developed a single lens rig for 3D macro which was previously thought impossible.

As 3D technology evolves, Esprit continues to adapt their cameras and rigs to stay ahead of the game; “by pushing the technological boundaries, we can continue to develop new techniques and equipment for 3D wildlife film makers”.

Esprit also advise on 3D post production

Esprit operate their own 3D post production kit and this is key to maintaining location equipment standards and innovation.

The future of 3D

Although up-converting 2D to 3D is improving all the time and gives reasonable results, in Dave’s opinion the image quality is still nowhere near that of true 3D filming.

3D gives an unrivaled viewing experience and with the advent of new more wildlife friendly technology, the opportunities are now there for the taking.

New lighter weight cameras make 3D a possibility for even the most tricky inaccessible locations. Glasses free 3D viewing will soon become available to consumers.

3D is the future innovation that we wildlife film makers should embrace.

Commissioners are increasingly keen to exploit this exciting new technology and Esprit are here to support this major innovation in natural history output.

If you have any questions about 3D or Esprit's kit, or you need to hire Camera or Audio equipment for your next production and need the best support and advice available please call us on +44 (0)1452 741240 or go to to www.espritfilm.co.uk.

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