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December 2014
Issue: September 1, 2010

New Business: Stereo 3D Conversion

By: Marc Loftus
Inner-D is a new 3D stereo conversion studio that just completed its first job, Weinstein Company’s Piranha 3D. The studio (www.inner-d.com) managed the 35mm 2D-to-3D conversion process, as well as first pass color grading and finishing for the film. At press time, Inner-D was getting ready to move into space in North Hollywood, where founder Grant Boucher says they’ll be able to handled conversion on as many as four features at a time.

Boucher initially founded the company with a partner, but the two split over differences on the way to best achieve a stereo conversion. The setback sent the Inner-D team back to the drawing board, where they were tasked with revamping their conversion process to achieve better results. This meant scrapping all of the work they had done on Piranha 3D to date and starting over. That was back in March, but they still managed to deliver the film in June using their Reali-D process.

“We thought about it from a 3D perspective,” says Boucher, “and looked at why it was not working, and why people were doing it this way? They are over separating things and making some mistakes, in my opinion, in what 3D is supposed to be.”

Inner-D uses off-the-shelf tools to pull off the conversion — After Effects and Nuke. They also use Assimilate’s Scratch in their stereo workflow, but Boucher says it’s their approach as VFX experts that really makes the process work.

“We used two off-the-shelf, major compositing packages that everyone knew how to use, and that allowed us to hire all sorts of people — visual effects, rotoscoping, compositing.” The process relies heavily on rotoscoping. “There is some proprietary plug-in stuff that we are developing to streamline the process,” he notes, “but it’s an approach and a process.”

The momentum from Piranha 3D is giving the new operation a boost, and the studio is already in talks with the Weinstein Company about future work. With one film now in the can, Boucher feels confident that their Reali-D process will attract more work. “No one was going to take us 100 percent seriously until we delivered our first film.”