The Galápagos in 3D with Robert Hollingworth2 comments
Nature photographer Robert Hollingworth was recently part of a crew for a 3D film project in the Galápagos with one of the world’s great naturalists, Sir David Attenborough. Here is an extract from the story, which featured in Nikon Pro magazine.
Galápagos 3D for Colossus, a joint venture between Atlantic Productions sand SKY 3D, really pushed the boundaries. The crew of about 15 people was divided into three units – with one filming Sir David, the second natural history subjects, and the third (Robert’s unit), covering landscape and time-lapse close-ups, as well as publicity shots for the film. During the shoot, they filmed pretty much everything, including flowers blossoming, plants growing and snails crawling.
For 3D, the subject has to be filmed from two slightly different angles, mimicking the way the human eye sees. 3D films imitate this by presenting one perspective to the right eye and a slightly different one to the left. It’s a complicated process and it means that during filming, different rules apply. The distance between the subject and camera is crucial. ‘To achieve a good three-dimensional effect, the subject has to be between 5m and no further than 20m away,’ explains Robert.
‘In the Galápagos animals aren’t scared of humans and happily wander up to the camera crew to investigate, which meant we could get close enough and didn’t have to keep moving the camera rigs, which weigh about 60kg.’
The 3D effect is controlled by how far the two camera lenses (representing eyes) are apart in relation to the subject. For filming, the nearer the subjects are to the camera, the closer the two lenses need to be together (this distance is also referred to as inter-ocular distance or IO). ‘To get 3D into big vistas you need to create hyper stereo’ (big IO between left and right eye cameras). For this I used two D4 cameras, which we sometimes separated by 50m or more.’
Robert’s most memorable experience of the trip was being dropped off by helicopter on a remote part of the island to film the volcanic land and cloudscape. As he explains, ‘I couldn’t believe that I was actually standing on the ridge of a volcano in the Galápagos, surrounded by giant tortoises. It was humbling as well as awe-inspiring.’
Here is the full list of the kit Robert took with him for the assignment:
2x AF Nikkor 20mm f/2.8D
2x AF Nikkor 24mm f/2.8D
2x AF Nikkor 28mm f/2.8D
2x AF Nikkor 35mm f/2D
2x AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D