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.

(Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20130131/LA52533LOGO)

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: http://www.cameronpace.com/.

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
@DevOpsSummit New York 2018, colocated with CloudEXPO | DXWorldEXPO New York 2018 will be held November 11-13, 2018, in New York City. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises - and delivering real results.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Dez Blanchfield joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Dez is a strategic leader in business and digital transformation with 25 years of experience in the IT and telecommunications industries developing strategies and implementing business initiatives. He has a breadth of expertise spanning technologies such as cloud computing, big data and analytics, cognitive computing, m...
Widespread fragmentation is stalling the growth of the IIoT and making it difficult for partners to work together. The number of software platforms, apps, hardware and connectivity standards is creating paralysis among businesses that are afraid of being locked into a solution. EdgeX Foundry is unifying the community around a common IoT edge framework and an ecosystem of interoperable components.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Kevin Jackson joined the faculty of CloudEXPO's "10-Year Anniversary Event" which will take place on November 11-13, 2018 in New York City. Kevin L. Jackson is a globally recognized cloud computing expert and Founder/Author of the award winning "Cloud Musings" blog. Mr. Jackson has also been recognized as a "Top 100 Cybersecurity Influencer and Brand" by Onalytica (2015), a Huffington Post "Top 100 Cloud Computing Experts on Twitter" (2013) and a "Top 50 C...
Cloud-enabled transformation has evolved from cost saving measure to business innovation strategy -- one that combines the cloud with cognitive capabilities to drive market disruption. Learn how you can achieve the insight and agility you need to gain a competitive advantage. Industry-acclaimed CTO and cloud expert, Shankar Kalyana presents. Only the most exceptional IBMers are appointed with the rare distinction of IBM Fellow, the highest technical honor in the company. Shankar has also receive...
Enterprises have taken advantage of IoT to achieve important revenue and cost advantages. What is less apparent is how incumbent enterprises operating at scale have, following success with IoT, built analytic, operations management and software development capabilities - ranging from autonomous vehicles to manageable robotics installations. They have embraced these capabilities as if they were Silicon Valley startups.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that ICOHOLDER named "Media Sponsor" of Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO. ICOHOLDER give you detailed information and help the community to invest in the trusty projects. Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO has opened its Call for Papers. The two-day event will present 20 top Blockchain experts. All speaking inquiries which covers the following information can be submitted by email to [email protected] Miami Blockchain Event by FinTechEXPO also offers s...
Poor data quality and analytics drive down business value. In fact, Gartner estimated that the average financial impact of poor data quality on organizations is $9.7 million per year. But bad data is much more than a cost center. By eroding trust in information, analytics and the business decisions based on these, it is a serious impediment to digital transformation.
Daniel Jones is CTO of EngineerBetter, helping enterprises deliver value faster. Previously he was an IT consultant, indie video games developer, head of web development in the finance sector, and an award-winning martial artist. Continuous Delivery makes it possible to exploit findings of cognitive psychology and neuroscience to increase the productivity and happiness of our teams.
As DevOps methodologies expand their reach across the enterprise, organizations face the daunting challenge of adapting related cloud strategies to ensure optimal alignment, from managing complexity to ensuring proper governance. How can culture, automation, legacy apps and even budget be reexamined to enable this ongoing shift within the modern software factory? In her Day 2 Keynote at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Aruna Ravichandran, VP, DevOps Solutions Marketing, CA Technologies, was jo...
Predicting the future has never been more challenging - not because of the lack of data but because of the flood of ungoverned and risk laden information. Microsoft states that 2.5 exabytes of data are created every day. Expectations and reliance on data are being pushed to the limits, as demands around hybrid options continue to grow.
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
As IoT continues to increase momentum, so does the associated risk. Secure Device Lifecycle Management (DLM) is ranked as one of the most important technology areas of IoT. Driving this trend is the realization that secure support for IoT devices provides companies the ability to deliver high-quality, reliable, secure offerings faster, create new revenue streams, and reduce support costs, all while building a competitive advantage in their markets. In this session, we will use customer use cases...
Business professionals no longer wonder if they'll migrate to the cloud; it's now a matter of when. The cloud environment has proved to be a major force in transitioning to an agile business model that enables quick decisions and fast implementation that solidify customer relationships. And when the cloud is combined with the power of cognitive computing, it drives innovation and transformation that achieves astounding competitive advantage.