We all saw it. Lurking under glass in a darkened corner of Panasonic’s NAB 2009 booth was a bug-eyed prototype of what would soon evolve into the first professional one-piece 3D digital production camera. HD technologist Randall Dark saw the Panasonic’s 3D camera prototype, too. Although Panasonic pledged “end-to-end 3D technology” at NAB 2009, it was the small, light, 3D-camera concept that kick-started Dark’s imagination about what was coming next.
Randall Dark is widely acknowledged to be one of the true pioneers in the world of HD production. As the founder of HD Vision Studios in New York and Dallas, Dark has played a part in producing more than 2,000 HD projects, ranging from feature films to commercials to live presentations. An expert in emerging technologies, Dark has recently been working with all of the latest and greatest gear that HD filmmakers have now embraced as their own.
“I realized that HD is now like Kleenex; everyone is using it,” says Dark. “The RED camera is great, the [Canon] 5D Mark II and 7D–the technology is now here, and it’s cost-effective. But I have to be honest, over the past few years, I was always saying, ‘Where is my next windmill?’ I needed a challenge.”
The challenge that Dark was looking for came in the form of a new 3D camera. “I started reading about the AG-3DA1 camera,” Dark recalls, “and I thought to myself, ‘This could be a whole new language, a whole new way of doing things.’ The camera was aesthetically interesting to look at, and after I read about what it could do, I just thought to myself, ‘That is just outrageous.'”
Never one to procrastinate, Dark was hooked on the idea of quickly putting a 3D production into gear, one of the first to be shot with the new camera. Partnering with Cinemarr Entertainment of Sevierville, Tenn., a production company with experience and ties around the eastern Tennessee area, Dark contacted several of the local tourism boards to ask if they’d be interested in shooting a 3D travelogue of the local area and attractions to boost tourism. They said yes.