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IRMACS explores new film frontiers

February 7, 2008

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In the IRMACS presentation studio at SFU, images seem to fly right out of the screen, just as they do in an Imax theatre. The images, as one viewer observed from behind his 3-D goggles, “look more 3-D than real life”.

That’s because fourth-year film student Andy Gavel and IRMACS technical director Brian Corrie are using affordable new HDTV 1080i video cameras to record 3-D stereoscopic content at a resolution that is second only to 3-D Imax films in quality. Viewing the films is is made possible by IRMACS’ sophisticated digital projection technology and comfortable theatre environment.

Shooting 3-D (“three-dimensional”) movies is an emerging trend, with a reported nine productions scheduled for release in 2009, as the film industry moves to replace 35-mm film projection units with digital systems that can also project 3-D video.

“Some industry experts are predicting we’ll be seeing 3-D in most, if not all theatres in the near future” says Corrie. “If so, we’re in the right place at the right time. To my knowledge there are no other facilities in Canada that have the filming, production, and projection capability that is available at IRMACS”.

IRMACS (Interdisciplinary Research in the Mathematical and Computational Sciences) is a collaborative, interdisciplinary research centre designed to support researchers who use the computer as their primary research tool.

“The IRMACS Presentation Studio was built to display 3-D computer visualizations of complex scientific data,” says Corrie. “But the IRMACS Centre’s interdisciplinary nature has attracted people like Andy, whose use of the facility’s capabilities are outside the bounds of what was originally anticipated.” Corrie sees this emerging use of the IRMACS facility as an exciting opportunity for SFU film students interested in experimenting with 3-D cinematography.
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