The Santa Monica Pier in 3-D by Stephen Les


“The Santa Monica Pier in 3-D” by Stephen Les

This was my first effort at shooting and editing in 3D.  The Fuji W1 was an excellent option that allowed me to shoot simply, and start to learn the rules of 3D.  I chose the pier because I felt there was a lot of movement in z space, as well as other subjects suitable to 3D.  I shot for about 3 hours, half the time on a tripod, and half the time handheld.  In post I used Cineform Neo3D to adjust 3D parameters–monitoring the 3D in red/cyan anaglyph.  I used Final Cut Pro to edit, Apple Color to color grade, and Soundtrack Pro for the soundtrack.  The composer Kevin Hall supplied the music.

I experimented with various techniques, such as incorporating freeze-frames, stills, shot transitions, and effects filters.  Some of these proved to be rather difficult to work out in post, but this was good because the point was to learn.  I was surprised and gratified with how good the standard-definition image looks on the large screen at the Downtown Independent Theater.

I tried to show the various moods of the pier.  The color starts out very faded, like a faded postcard, then gradually becomes more vivid, especially in the last section–with the amusement park rides.

The idea to shoot video with the W1 was inspired by the work of Ray Zone, who was shooting video with the W1 and showing it at the Downtown Independent.  I learned about making titles with After Effects–that floated and moved in 3D space–from Eric Kurland and Tom Koester.

Stephen Les is the founder of AMAZING 3D POST (, an editorial facility geared toward low-budget and ultra-low budget films made in Stereoscopic 3D.

He recently worked along with Ray Zone on the International 3D Society’s Technical Achievements Awards Ceremony, and on a 3D african safari project for Digital Revolution Studios.  He is currently working on several 3D projects including one for 21st Century 3D, and a short film he wrote and directed which was shot by Hunter Senftner. He continues to build and expand his 3D facility, recently adding a second Mac Pro and a CalDigit HDPro2 16 tb RAID.  He monitors 3D on a 60″ Mitsubishi DLP with Xpand shutter glasses.  He edits 3D in real time (as opposed to editing one eye and then conforming the second eye) using Cineform Neo3D and Final Cut Pro.

Stephen started out as an editor in New York University’s Film School, from which he received a B.F.A. in Filmmaking (with a second major in Philosophy).  He continued in post-production as a splicer, then a negative cutter.  He later graduated to project management, and finally served for several years as the director of operations for the negative-cutting company.  He created the popular wall poster entitled “The Filmmaker’s Guide to Post Production”.

He was a founding board member of WigglyWorld Studios, forerunner of the Northwest Film Forum in Seattle, and sat on the board of directors of the Rainy States Film Festival.  He was a charter member of IATSE Local 488 in Seattle. He has worked for many years in the film industry in diverse roles:  as a grip on NORTHERN EXPOSURE, DISCLOSURE, THE VANISHING, and THIS BOY’S LIFE, plus many other features and commercials; negative cutter on Sherman Alexie’s SMOKE SIGNALS, and John Waters’ CECIL B. DEMENTED in addition to many other films;  and VFX production coordinator on ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS, and STAR TREK NEW VOYAGES:  WORLD ENOUGH AND TIME.

He is also now in post on a feature film he wrote and directed entitled LOST TO LOVE ( You can follow his Tweets @amazing3Dpost.

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