January 31, 2011

Get "Tangled" Up in Hair-Raising 3D! (Opens Feb 2)

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology and the superior quality of Disney Digital 3D™, audiences around the globe will get a chance to enjoy the fun and excitement of Rapunzel and Flynn Rider’s wild adventure in Disney's “Tangled” in a totally immersive way.

Director Byron Howard notes, “Seeing the film in 3D allows viewers to experience the story and action in a way they never could before. Instead of just seeing castles as painted backgrounds, the kingdom suddenly becomes a real place. The forest is real, with dimensional dust mote particles floating in the shafts of light. The audience is totally immersed in the same environment as the characters.”

For Robert Neuman, the film’s stereoscopic supervisor, “Tangled” presented many exciting opportunities for great 3D effects and marked the latest step in the evolution of 3D filmmaking at Disney. He and his team were involved from the earliest stages of layout and worked closely with the directors and various technical departments (lighting, effects, etc.) to take maximum advantage of the process.

“One of the reasons that ‘Tangled’ lent itself so perfectly to 3D filmmaking is that hair can be very effective in this medium,” says Neuman. “You feel the separation of the strands of hair and the volume. And there are some fun 3D moments where Rapunzel’s hair is lowered down from the tower. The directors wanted to have a dynamic angle on the shot and have the hair either going straight away from the camera or straight towards it. They really embraced the 3D process and worked hard to create compositions that would work well dimensionally.

“This film represents that latest evolution for 3D here at Disney,” continues Neuman. “We’re using depth more artistically than ever before, and we’re not as concerned with the literal transcription of depth between camera and projector as we are the interpretation of it.”

For “Tangled,” Neuman and his team made extensive use of an innovative technique known as multi-rigging. Disney has been the first to use this process that basically takes a more theatrical approach to adding 3D by using multiple pairs of cameras with varying interaxial distances within a scene. Scenes are divided into various groups of elements, based upon their distance to the camera. For example, the foreground may be photographed with one set of cameras to achieve a desired depth and effect. The subjects or characters would be photographed with another set of cameras with the interocular distance dialed in to best results for that level. And the background would similarly be given the depth it needs. All of those elements would then be sandwiched together in the compositing stage to create something that would be impossible in reality but highly effective to the visual storytelling.

Among the film’s most spectacular 3D scenes are the opening horse chase in which Flynn and the Stabbington Brothers are racing through the forest hotly pursued by the king’s guards, Flynn’s prison break (with its use of long corridors, repeated arches, and volumetric shafts of light), the flooding of the cave with Flynn and Rapunzel trapped inside, and the spectacular lantern scene.

Summarizing the 3D efforts on the film, Neuman concludes, “We’re taking something that looks great to begin with in 2D and adding this little something that flips a switch in the audience’s mind that tells them, ‘This is something more than just light being projected on a wall; this is an extension of reality that I feel I can reach into.’ The ability to take those amazing images and actually ‘plus’ it is quite gratifying. This has been Disney’s most ambitious 3D effort to date, and we’re really proud of the way it came together.”

Opening across on Feb. 2 in Digital IMAX 3D (SM North EDSA & SM Cebu), Digital 3D and regular format, “Tangled” is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.

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