Shooting VistaVision for IMAX 3-D with the Gemini 3D Camera

Posted on July 12th, 2009 in Hardware, Technical by Marc Bourbonnais

Last month I had the opportunity of supervising the VFX of a one-day shoot. It is a teaser trailer we are working on at Modus. The trailer is for a large format 3-D feature, and the 1.5 minute teaser is produced to help build momentum as the larger project is in development.


For this work the camera used was the custom-built Gemini 3D Camera, a remarkable piece of machinery. The camera uses standard 35mm film in VistaVision format, enabling easy film scanning at 4K and 8K resolution. I never thought I would see, let alone work with VistaVision scans in my career… The use of this format is a very inexpensive and productive solution. You get very detailed scans from 24mm x 36mm images without the hassle and costs of 70mm prints.


The camera itself is very small and light weight. It is rather loud when the dual reels are rolling; that being said, I’m more used to quiet HD shoots. A series of pre-packaged twin lenses are ready to be fitted, it takes a couple of minutes. It was brought in by its creator, Sean MacLeod Phillips who was on set as Director of Photography.

Most of the shooting was handled with parallel lenses, with some specific shots in convergence. My experience with stereoscopic work was always with convergent cameras, it will be interesting to compare the results. The scans are already prepped at Modus, a good test of pipeline workflow for large 4K and 8K images; doubling the data for stereoscopy is like two cherries on top.