Tuesday, 27 July 2010

3D SLS with David Coulthard

The premise for this little project is quite simple: close off a section of road on the Isle of Man, invite along David Coulthard, strap him into a Mercedes SLS AMG, tell him to drive as fast as he can, film it in 3D. Sounds fun.

The technical challenges are manifold. Filming in 3D requires two cameras to replicate human vision, but the distance between these cameras needs to be altered depending on what you're looking at and how far away it is. The fact that Coulthard arrived with the intention of breaking 160mph on the twisting, serpentine roads makes the filming process all the more tricky.

Traditional 2D techniques for creating an image of speed - long lenses, blurred backgrounds and the like - don't really wash in three dimensions. As director of 3D photography Geoff Boyle says, "The only thing that works really well with cars in 3D is wide lenses. With wide lenses, though, the background appears to move slowly so the only way to get an impression of speed is to go bloody fast.”
How does the camera car keep up with Coulthard? The V10 Touareg has 485bhp, which helps a little. But of course, David is going bloody fast.

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