Click here to close now.


News Feed Item

Q&A: Claudio Miranda on Filming the 'Impossible' Film

CAMERON | PACE Group talks to the award-winning cinematographer about his Oscar-nominated work on "Life of Pi" and the remarkable storytelling potential for 3D.

BURBANK, Calif., Feb. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "The Life of Pi," the story of a young man adrift in a life raft with a Bengal tiger, was no simple cinematic endeavor. Logistical hurdles, among other challenges, led many to conclude that "Pi," based on the 2001 novel by Yann Martel, might never make it to the screen. Even director Ang Lee struggled with what he called an "impossible" film. But Lee eventually concluded that the richness and dimensionality of 3D would deepen the story and advance his unique vision.


Lee tapped Chilean-born Claudio Miranda as his cinematographer, in large part because of his work with 3D on "Tron: Legacy" and digital on "Benjamin Button." "Impossible" "Pi" has gone on to become a critical and financial triumph worldwide. The film is nominated for 11 Academy Awards, including a nod to Miranda for best cinematography.

CAMERON | PACE Group was integral to "Pi's" 3D artistry from pre-production to screen, lending both expertise and patented technology to the project. Miranda collaborated closely with CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) Co-Founder and Co-Chairman Vince Pace on both "Tron" and "Pi." The CPG team was on location in India and Taiwan, where a 1.7-million gallon tank was constructed for water scenes. "Pi" earned CPG Certification, a seal of approval that ensures the highest quality of stereoscopic production and 3D media experience possible.

In the first of its "3D Showcase" series of interviews with leading creative and technical talent around the world, CPG spoke with Miranda at his home in Los Angeles three days before the Academy Awards.

CPG: So have you rented your tux?

Claudio Miranda: Actually, I own one (laughs). I have to.

CPG: Tell us how you got the job on "Life of Pi"

CM: Probably because of "Tron." And a little bit of "Benjamin Button." Ang (Director Ang Lee) had seen both films. "Button" is a good-looking movie full of digital effects, and "Tron" is a good-looking 3D movie. I really didn't imagine Ang being a 3D guy, since his other movies had been shot on film and in scope (the same aspect ratio as CinemaScope). But he knew he had to shoot digital for 3D, so I think that's why I got picked for the job.

CPG: Was "Tron: Legacy" your first experience with 3D?

CM: Yes. There's always talk about doing the 3D in post-production using conversion. There were so many real sets on the film that we felt we should just do it in the camera.

CPG: You worked closely with CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) on that film. How was that experience?

CM: Just great. Vince (Pace) was there for me in the beginning in Vancouver, along with some other guys from CPG. Vince gave me the basics. Once he saw that I had the hang of it, I carried on.

CPG: We heard that before "Pi" you and Ang Lee educated yourselves about good 3D by studying bad 3D.

CM: Ang and I learned some important lessons from one particularly bad movie that I won't mention. For example, they used a really tight shutter angle that caused strobing (a staccato effect in the motion of the film). It's not a great feeling when you're watching it in the theater. The tighter the shutter, the more crisp each frame. It's like when you're taking a still photograph and you want to capture your kid in mid-air without any blur so you use a very fast shutter speed. But with 3D, in-camera blur can be your friend because the blur between frames makes for a more fluid motion. It eliminates that kind of stutter on the screen and makes the 3D experience less hyperactive. With "Pi" we definitely preferred a faster frame rate and a longer shutter.

CPG: Clearly, the 3D in "Pi" is visually amazing. But it also plays an integral part in the storytelling.

CM: Ang was very sensitive to not overdoing it. Any time characters or objects started to look miniaturized as a result of the 3D, we veered away from that. But there are some cases where it can help with the storytelling. There was one scene where we wanted the lifeboat to look really small so we did spread the eyes (the distance between the two lens centers) to cause a miniaturizing effect. It made the boat look almost like a little toy. This was in service of the storytelling, to reinforce the idea that Pi was alone, a speck on the ocean. We wanted to play with the 3D to reinforce plot and character. When a character is being aggressive, you can get his head out in front, so it feels like he's in your space. Ang loved the idea, too, that in the scene of the sinking ship, Pi is on the viewer's side of the screen. He's watching the ship as it sinks on the inside of the screen. So there's a big visual separation between this new world that's all to be his, and his past, represented by the sinking ship. The 3D really reinforced that part of the story.

CPG: Did you learn anything on "Pi" about 3D that you didn't know before?

CM: For me, "Tron" was really about making good 3D. I didn't really connect it to the way the audience would respond to the story. So doing it from point of view of a story was really something new. I had to think about how to set the 3D up and to stage it. Not just as far as people walking in and out of a room, but also how their placement would affect the emotions of the audience. We also experimented quite a lot with how different lenses might make the audience feel: Is it personal? Is it more intimate? Is it aggressive or passive? Those were new ideas that we played around with.

CPG: James Cameron (co-founder and co-chairman of CPG) said that "Pi" has shown that 3D can be used for smaller, more intimate films. Do you agree?

CM: Ang feels like "Pi" was the first art house movie to be shot in 3D. We felt like we had to explore this new medium. We had to try to figure it out.

CPG: Did shooting "Pi" in 3D affect the decision of cameras you used?

CM: No. We used the Arri Alexa™. We tested with a bunch of cameras. At the time, it held water highlights the best. Cameras are always improving. There will always be a new test to see which one is best for what you need, every time you do a movie.

CPG: Why did you pick CPG for "Pi?"

CM: They get me everything I need. I knew I needed a really good underwater 3D rig. They know the Alexa that would be housed in the rig. I couldn't think of anyone else who could do that, so I didn't even test with anyone else. I talked to Vince and said "I really need this camera rig; we need this thing built." So they did it and it was great. It was my first opportunity to shoot underwater in 3D.

CPG: You also had CPG experts on the set in Taiwan?

CM: We had a number of guys there from CPG, including stereographers who offered advice on the 3D.

CPG: Did you notice any big changes in 3D technology between the time you shot "Tron" and "Pi?"

CM: Vince has shown me some of the newer rigs (smARTrigs ™) and there's a huge improvement in those. They're simpler and easier to use. So even in the short time since we shot "Life of Pi," this equipment has come a long way.

CPG: Did you consider post-production conversion for "Pi?"

CM: No. We had high hopes of keeping a lot of the ocean in the film. I just didn't see how you could cut up and convert water moving away from the camera or rolling toward you or sideways or capping. How do you chop that up and separate that for the conversion process? It just wouldn't have been the same. What I had seen of conversion didn't convince me. I didn't see it happening for either "Pi" or "Tron."

CPG: Do you have a favorite 3D scene in "Pi?"

CM: I think the ship sinking was a good 3D moment. I loved the water in general, how it looked. I did quite a lot of 3D testing for the water scenes-- how it felt when the surface of the water is at the top third of the screen versus the bottom third. It's very interesting. If the water level is halfway up the screen, audiences might have an emotional reaction to that, almost like you're drowning. It's unsettling.

CPG: Do you think "Pi" would have been made without 3D?

CM: Ang really felt that the movie had to be made in 3D. For him it seemed like it was the only choice. Obviously, I've seen this movie in both 3D and 2D. You know, you really do miss some things. The water has this flatter look to it in the 2D. It feels a lot different. With 3D you just have a lot more texture, which was very important in "Pi."

Ang loves 3D. So do I. He will always try to shoot in 3D. He was very excited about the results. He's always talking about creating another language for film, another way to tell the story. So in this impossible story to tell, he felt like 3D would give it another dimension. We still feel like there's so much more to learn from 3D, that there are so many places we can go where we haven't gone.

CAMERON | PACE Group (CPG) is the industry leader in 3D technologies and production services from SLATE2SCREEN™. Led by founders and Co-Chairmen James Cameron and Vince Pace, CPG delivers the highest quality 3D through its technology products, solutions, and creative tools engineered for use across all media channels. Supporting filmmakers, broadcasters, studios, networks and creative teams globally, the company has unparalleled expertise in helping content producers realize the full potential of 3D as a powerful and immersive medium. CPG's easy, efficient, and cost-effective 3D solutions have supported productions generating more than $8 billion in box office, supported 31 3D feature films, close to 300 3D broadcasts, and multiple 3D media experiences in all formats. CPG-supported films and broadcasts have won numerous Oscars® and Emmys® for both technical and creative achievements. For more information about the company, please visit:

In August 2012, CPG launched CAMERON | PACE Group China in the northeastern port city of Tianjin, just outside Beijing. CPG China is uniquely positioned to support a market that has seen exponential growth in 3D entertainment in the last five years, in large part due to the enormous popularity of CPG co-founder James Cameron's "Avatar" and his recent "Titanic 3D," which scored the biggest box office opening in China's history when it premiered last April. China's pursuit of 3D technology is unparalleled and CPG's Total Solutions technologies will be an integral part of that growth.


More Stories By PR Newswire

Copyright © 2007 PR Newswire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PRNewswire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of PRNewswire. PRNewswire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
In demand-intensive mobile and web applications, an emerging pattern is to host the Systems of Engagement in the cloud (for maximum responsiveness) but keep the Systems of Record with the other important business systems in the company datacenter, often on a tightly secured mainframe. But what about the space in between? In this IBM Redpaper publication, we show that the IBM Bluemix cloud platform offers technologies that make it easy for cloud-based SoEs to securely connect to on-premises IBM...
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
OpsHub, Inc. has announced enhanced support for DevOps and Migration for both Team Foundation Server and Visual Studio On-line in a heterogeneous environment. With added support for build and release entities in OpsHub Integration Manager (OIM) Microsoft customers can now leverage Visual Studio build and release services to manage DevOps processes in a heterogeneous environment. With the enhanced support customers can manage the DevOps process in Team Foundation Server while undertaking activit...
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Cloud computing is unquestionably one of the driving forces of DevOps, as the automation of operations transforms enterprise software development. DevOps, however, is more than a technology trend, as it represents a move toward silo-busting, self-organizing horizontal teams that drive business velocity. At the same time, enterprise Digital Transformation represents an upheaval across the enterprise, as customer preferences and behavior drive enterprise technology decisions. This transformation ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Catchpoint, a global leader in monitoring, and testing the performance of online applications, has been named "Silver Sponsor" of DevOps Summit New York, which will take place on June 7-9, 2016 at the Javits Center in New York City. Catchpoint radically transforms the way businesses manage, monitor, and test the performance of online applications. Truly understand and improve user experience with clear visibility into complex, distributed online systems.Founde...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
Two weeks ago (November 3-5), I attended the Cloud Expo Silicon Valley as a speaker, where I presented on the security and privacy due diligence requirements for cloud solutions. Cloud security is a topical issue for every CIO, CISO, and technology buyer. Decision-makers are always looking for insights on how to mitigate the security risks of implementing and using cloud solutions. Based on the presentation topics covered at the conference, as well as the general discussions heard between sessi...
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
Actifio is powering new application development and testing services from Net3 Technologies (N3T), a managed cloud services provider. N3T's new Symmetry DevOps™ service builds on its existing Palmetto Virtual Data Center (PvDC) Cloud services for data backup and disaster recovery (DR) based on the Actifio Copy Data Virtualization platform. Previously, N3T's data protection and DR services were challenged by overlapping and inefficient legacy hardware and software platforms from multiple vendo...
The cloud. Like a comic book superhero, there seems to be no problem it can’t fix or cost it can’t slash. Yet making the transition is not always easy and production environments are still largely on premise. Taking some practical and sensible steps to reduce risk can also help provide a basis for a successful cloud transition. A plethora of surveys from the likes of IDG and Gartner show that more than 70 percent of enterprises have deployed at least one or more cloud application or workload. Y...