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The Original “The Phantom of the Opera” Movie Restored in 3D

March 9th, 2012 · 6 Comments · 3D Movies & Videos

Did you know that the silent classic “The Phantom of the Opera” was actually shot in stereoscopic 3D format more than 80 years ago, actually filming each and every scene with two movie cameras, was a customary technique in the silent film era, so the movie was actually unintentionally shot in 3D. Making this interesting discovery in 2010, filmmaker and author Carl Hernz went to work on matching the stereoscopic views accidentally created by this fortunate mechanical setup and soon the movie will make its first public screening in 3D. The first public screening as part of a benefit for the Florida Hospital Neuroscience Institute Parkinson Outreach Center on April 30 in Orlando, FL USA. The historic Enzian theater is scheduled to be the venue, and stereographer/producer Carl Hernz (who himself has young-onset Parkinson’s disease) will be there as well. April is Parkinson’s Disease Awareness month, and the world premiere of this historical find will definitely shine a bright light so needed on many PD issues. And the film will be featured in several film festivals in the U.S. and other countries before its major release on Halloween night, October 31, 2012.

Here you can find more interesting information about the restoration in 3D of the movie…

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6 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kaan // Mar 9, 2012 at 12:07

    Why was it customary to use two movie cameras?

  • 2 Bloody // Mar 9, 2012 at 14:31

    Well, for a whole lot of reasons… for making different shots at the same time or for preparing different versions for Europe and US. Back then editing a movie was much harder to do than nowadays with digital, so using two cameras for shooting provided some extra footage that could come in handy without having to reshoot the whole scene again and again. Of course the idea was not to make a 3D movie this way, but it seems that the extra footage from a second camera might be used to rebuild a 3D version of some of these movies. Of course not all the footage survived up until now and actually not a lot of movies do have a proper side by side configuration of the two cameras shooting absolutely the same thing. For example one could be doing a wide shot while the other could be zoomed in on the actors at the same time and on the same scene, back then things like that just saved a lot of extra work, but you cannot use such footage to build a 3D version of that movie.

  • 3 DigiMagic // Mar 9, 2012 at 14:40

    Did Charlie Chaplin use same configuration of cameras? I think Modern Times or City Lights would look spectacular in 3D.

  • 4 Bloody // Mar 9, 2012 at 15:23

    Yes, Charlie Chaplin has also used a lot two camera setups for getting different framing of the same scene. But do to that way of using the cameras you are not going to be able to rebuild a 3D version of a movie. Unfortunately “The Phantom of the Opera” is just one of the few movies that offers almost perfect conditions for using the footage from the two cameras it was shot for rebuilding a 3D version… and one of the few movies that actually had the extra footage surviving.

  • 5 Tim // Mar 10, 2012 at 01:20

    There is a short 3D Chaplin clip floating around the internet somewhere but there’s not much to it.

    The reason for shooting with two cameras was often to skirt import/export taxes. The price difference between sending developed and undeveloped film was apparently large enough that they’d send the undeveloped film to Europe and then develop and edit a second copy of the movie as closely to the first as possible. That might cause some trouble when trying to make a 3D version from the two if you could even find them.

  • 6 Scotty // Mar 29, 2012 at 23:48

    Wait, there’s two versions of this film in 3D? I tried digging up some more info online and came up with another Phantom of the Opera that’s already in 3D and re-edited with sound called the ‘Angel of Music Edition.’

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