Five Things About Streetdance 3D, With Directors Max And Dania

Posted by September 28, 2010 Comment

Now out on Blu-ray and DVD is Streetdance 3D. Consider it a blessing or a curse, but alongside the 2D version, the disc contains  a 3D version that is formatted not for those expensive, new-fangled 3D TVs, but for any TV. That’s right – it’s time to break out the old anaglyphic red-green glasses again.

This film really did look gorgeous in cinemas. I think you might be best sticking to the 2D version for the time being, waiting for a digital 3D version to sample how it looks in stereo.

I spoke to the film’s directors, Max Giwa and Dania Pasquini. Here are five topics of interest, and what they had to tell me about them.

1. Learning to Shoot in 3D

Dania: We had a fast turnaround, just a couple of months prepping things, filming and then we had to rush for a release date. But before we started, we had to learn the strengths and weaknesses of 3D.

Max: I went out to the States to spend some time at Paradise FX. What they do is build the rig for the camera houses to fit in. Their man Max Penner is one of the fathers of the 3D stereographic world.

Dania: Max Penner was concerned about planes of field staying in focus. As a subject moves forward, maybe doing the out of the screen thing, you have to maintain focus on that subject. As a stereographer, that was his area. He was sitting in the corner with a black cloth over him pulling focus as the subjects came backwards and forwards on the screen.

Max: There are basic rules that you have to keep within. One of the basic ones is, if you imagine, you have a window frame, and whatever you shoot has to work within that window frame. If you shoot outside of that window frame, the stereographer can’t do his job and get the two eyes to match. If you go outside the frame your brain immediately says “This is not right”. Max’s job was, basically, to tell us when everything was lined up and we were ready to shoot.

Dania: You have to bear in mind framing techniques and that’s quite difficult when you’re dealing with dance because the human body, leaping and jumping is subject to gravity. On the whole we took the view that just as you might use anamorphic lenses or something and you’d have to think about perspective and depth and field with those, so it is with 3D.

Max: We played around with the depth of field. There’s a thing called “outies” where something comes flying out of the screen, but we wanted to shoot with more of a Spaghetti Western style of things where we went back and had depth of field and depth of focus and the audience gets more engaged with everything.

Dania: You choose your locations to have lots of depth, and locations with ceilings give more sense of scale and depth. We never felt overwhelmed that it was a huge science, it was just another cinematographers tool. We just took it on board. Obviously, we looked at all of the films and 3D experiments that had been done, then on the day it was just a question of maximising the depth of field.

2. Two Directors, Working As One

Dania: We’re kind of like right-arm, left-arm. There isn’t a clear demarcation.

Max: We both do everything but we cross over in so many different ways. Dania will work with the actors, and I will work with the camera department, and then we’ll cross-over.

Dania: I’ll work on the writing, I’ll work on the characters with the actors, and Max will work with the camera department and the lighting. But we can swap, and we do swap. It all depends on what the project needs.

Max: We’ve been doing it so long it’s just become an organic thing.

Dania: If Max were to quit, I’d have to carry on. He’d do the same. He’d carry on too.

3. Reach for the Stars

Dania: These are like modern day musicals. I remember when I was young, my favourite Sunday afternoons were watching the old Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire films, and this is a modern day equivalent of that. For Max and myself it was important to make an aspirational film. We’re very happy to be unashamedly celebratory and say look how wonderful London is, see how beautiful our world is. I think it’s important to give young kids something that is not negative – this is what the most of our kids are doing, they’re having fun and trying.

Hip-hop and streetdance when they first started in LA were all about the kids staying out trouble and the gangs keeping out of fighting. Now that has spread worldwide, the kids that we meet are the nicest, sweetest people. Dance for love and for life – that’s what they do. They were all teetotallers, none of them went to parties, some of them went to church, they were just the loveliest young people and all of these strereotypes are all born from the films and TV that have been thrown out there. Of course, there’s a minority of people.

4. The Sequel…

Dania: We’re working on the sequel. At the moment, we’re writing. Jane English who worked on the first one is writing again. We’ve been working on an outline, but I can’t divulge the storyline yet, there’s no point saying anything until we’re all sure about all of it.

Max: There’s so many ideas still being worked on. We’re doing outline after outline and seeing what works.

Dania: We’ve already started casting and are looking around for fresh dancing talent. We’re going to be filming next year. What we intended to do is to give a platform to all the UK artists over this side. We’re giving a voice to the UK dance world and giving the kids here a taste of their own… We’ll be watching all of the American films and improve on what they do. We’ll be inspired by them.

5. …and Beyond

Max: Our next film after Streetdance 2 is a thriller-drama and that will be in 3D too. It will look  – and will be – amazing. I’m excited about where you can take 3D, there’s so many places you can take it. We’re going straight into that as soon as we finish Streetdance 2.

There’s a lot of talk about doing music videos in 3D but what the record labels are waiting for is somewhere to show them. There’s no use in spending all that money then only being able to show it off the back of a film. So, until Sky open up a 3D MTV channel… I hope they have some time for this on their 3D channel. It could be very groundbreaking.

(Last Updated September 28, 2010 8:37 am )

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