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Sunday, July 06, 2008

'Journey to the Center of the Earth' Hype Begins

'Journey to the Center of the Earth,' starring Brendan Fraser, opens next Friday, and there are already some articles showing up touting its use of the Fusion camera system developed by James Cameron and Vince Pace. It's based on the Sony HDC digital camera, and it was used for the recent 'Hannah Montana' 3-D concert film.

The Boston Globe writes:

    "Journey" is the first live-action non-documentary feature to be shot completely using the Fusion System, a versatile 3-D camera rig engineered by Cameron and cinematographer Vince Pace to record with greater artistic control than traditional equipment. Technical partners for the better part of a decade, Cameron and Pace did some earlier R&D for the rig on the director's underwater IMAX documentaries "Ghosts of the Abyss" and "Aliens of the Deep" - which, like "Journey," were produced with Boston-based Walden Media.

    Fusion's goal is to capture imagery with photorealism - to make viewers feel that they're being pulled into the movie, rather than having the movie artificially pop out at them.


Cameron has been talking up the system for a few years now. In my last chat with him in 2006, we talked a bit about traditional cinematographers getting comfortable with 3-D cameras. "There's always resistance to change," Cameron said, "because people can't parade themselves as the world's greatest expert. But some people like challenges -- they like to push themselves and test themselves. What haven't you done yet? That's the only interesting thing to be doing. That's what gets me up in the morning."

On the set of 'Journey,' Pace told me, it was possible to review dailies or rehearsals in 3-D, if necessary, on a 25-foot screen. That's cool.

Oddly, Vince Pace's Web site makes no mention of the camera at all... but there is a separate single-page Web site for the Fusion camera.

Cinematical assesses the 3-D elements of 'Journey.' Slashfilm has an early take praising the 3-D effect, but snarking about everything else. VFXworld talks about the film's 3-D production pipeline.

The LA Times offers a PDF document from Real D showing the planned 3-D releases for 2008, 2009, and beyond. A dozen are expected next year...

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