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Star Wars: Episode I to be converted in 3D by Prime Focus

March 30th, 2011 · 14 Comments · 2D to 3D Conversion

Lucasfilm and Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) officially announced the company that they have selected after what they call an “exhaustive testing process” to do the conversion from 2D to 3D for the first movie from the Star Wars saga and that company is Prime Focus. Utilizing Prime Focus’ proprietary View-D process for the conversion the new release of the Phantom Menace is scheduled to hit 3D theater screens on February 10, 2012 is everything goes as planned. There is enough time for a really good conversion, so we can only hope that Prime Focus takes the time and does its job very well, because otherwise the relaunch of Star Wars Episode I in 3D can turn out to be a total disaster.

“It was incredibly important to me that we have the technology, the resources and the time to do this right,” said Star Wars creator George Lucas. “I’m very happy with the results I’ve been seeing on Episode I.”

Prime Focus has worked on films such as Avatar, Shrek, Tron: Legacy, Narnia: Dawn Treader and most recently Sucker Punch. The extensive conversion process is being done under the close supervision of John Knoll, Visual Effects Supervisor for ILM, and with the positive feedback from George Loocas who apparently sees very convincing results with the conversion to 3D we can hope for the best, but also prepare for the worst.

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14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mathew Orman // Mar 30, 2011 at 13:10

    Look like another nail to the coffin.

    Mathew Orman

  • 2 astonish // Mar 30, 2011 at 18:53

    Too bad the movie is terrible! No upgrade would make me want to sit through that film again!

  • 3 steve // Mar 30, 2011 at 19:46

    Crappy film, but to be honest i thought the conversions of the Shrek films (they couldnt get the source renders) were pretty damn good for once.

  • 4 Thereisnomouse // Mar 30, 2011 at 20:53

    Good news ! Even if this “phantom menace” is clearly terrible, the pod-racers and “Duel of the fate” scenes could be cool.

  • 5 Frédéric Lopez // Mar 31, 2011 at 02:08

    @steve do you have insider informations about the fact that DreamWorks didn’t do a re-rendering in stereo 3D ? Because Jeffrey Katzenberg said exactly the contrary in this interview :

    “Our movies exist in digital files to begin with. To go back and rebuild to a quality 3D experience is not inexpensive, but we are about to achieve a pretty high quality result. For animated films like “Shrek,” the 3D process involves going back to files and rendering out another eye.”

    Source : http://www.today3d.com/2010/04/dwa-to-convert-three-shrek-films-to-3d.html

  • 6 Bloody // Mar 31, 2011 at 09:45

    You can read more about the Shrek conversion here: http://3dvision-blog.com/talking-more-2d-to-3d-conversion-with-barry-sandrew-from-legend3d/

  • 7 Frédéric Lopez // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:32

    Barry Sandrew said this in the interview :

    “It all depends on whether or not the CG assets from the original computer animation production are available. If they are, then the process is very straightforward and the quality of the conversion is essentially the same as if it was re-rendered “natively” with another camera in the computer.”

    And then he add :
    ” We did receive a large number of assets from DreamWorks which was very helpful though all assets were not available. ”

    So since they got access to most CG assets, in his own words we can conclude that their conversion is equivalent to a “native” re-render with another camera.

  • 8 Bloody // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:40

    Yes, this is one of the reasons why the conversion did turn out so well with the Shrek movies and why they were able to do it faster. But still they did have to convert some things from 2D to 3D…

  • 9 Frédéric Lopez // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:44

    Back to the subject, it’s funny how this PR says that Prime Focus has been involved in Avatar although it was the case for only an handfull of shots, when in the same time the conversion they did in its entirety for Clash of the Titans is not even mentionned.

    Knowing this, I’m not expecting anything good from this Star Wars conversion.

  • 10 Bloody // Mar 31, 2011 at 12:51

    Prime Focus is also a VFX company, they are not only doing 2D to 3D conversions… I doubt that Lucas will be Ok with a level of conversion like with Clash of the Titans.

  • 11 Frédéric Lopez // Mar 31, 2011 at 16:05

    Yes, but Prime Focus is in charge of the 2D-3D conversion here. And even if they may have improved their technique since Clash and Narnia – which I seriously doubt – I’m not exactly hopeful for that Star Wars conversion.

  • 12 Bloody // Mar 31, 2011 at 16:15

    It is not only up to the conversion technique, things greatly depend on the time and resources you have available for the conversion. If you have too few people and very short time frame, then the results will never be good… the time they had for the Clash of the Titans conversion was way too short for anything good as the decision for the conversion of the movie in 3D was taken very late… it wasn’t even shot with 3D in mind.

    In the end we should hope for the best, but be prepared for the worst :)

  • 13 Mathew Orman // Mar 31, 2011 at 21:36

    CG animations do not need conversions they are simply rendered again using stereoscopic camera.
    But star wars was a composition job so the conversion will be crap as usual.

    Mathew Orman

  • 14 Frédéric Lopez // Apr 1, 2011 at 17:31

    If a viable technique existed to recreate 3D from 2D images – even given enough time and people – we would already know about it by now.

    Specialized researchers have been tackling this problem for more than 30 years, and they are only able to recreate 3D with an acceptable quality from hundreds of images of the same static scene. How can you expect that a little VFX company would be able to recreate 3D from an handful of shots of a moving scene ?

    Have a look here for the state of the art on this topic :

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