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'Unbeleafable' in 3D: Ty Evans Follows Skateboarders into the Next Dimension

Ty Evans has made a career of capturing skateboarders doing what they love in some very interesting circumstances. Capturing well known skaters nailing an ollie or a frontside 50-50 through a series of explosions is Evans' bread and butter.

"Unbeleafable: A Girl Skateboards 3D Film"
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His next project, a 3D short called "Unbeleafable" (presented by Levi's and Girl Skateboards) continues his push to film skaters in the most dramatic ways possible, but this time in 3D.

Creating a 3D skateboarding film is not just a simple matter of setting up a couple of cameras and capturing a skater in an empty pool. While 3D films have become commonplace, general 3D workflows are still far from being perfected. And for independent film and videomakers such as Ty Evans, creating a 3D video really does mean breaking new ground.

"Unbeleafable" Behind the Scenes
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Evans says he's never been discouraged by the challenges presented by a project. The more difficult the undertaking, the more eager he is to pursue it.

   
Skateboarder Eric Koston
Photo by Atiba Jefferson

With input from post house The Astronaut's Guild, Evans developed a 3D workflow for "Unbeleafable" built around Blackmagic Design's DeckLink HD Extreme 3D capture and playback card. His production setup included two RED cameras on a beam-splitter rig and Vision Research's Phantom 65-Z3D camera.

"Unbeleafable," a short film produced for the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art's Art in the Streets exhibit, is scheduled for release to the general public over the 2011 holiday season. The film follows a number of professional skaters as they grind their way through forest scenes, tree branches and leaves.

Evans and his team used DeckLink HD Extreme 3D to play back 3D footage in the field, at the post house and even on his home studio's consumer level 3D TV.

   
Ty Evans shoots with a Vision Research Phantom 65-Z3D camera
Photo by Atiba Jefferson

"I really just dove into 3D. With the right cameras, I was able to run and gun and know I was working with good footage," says Evans. "With the DeckLink card, 3D was simple from there on out. It supported all of the flavors of 3D we could possibly consider: side by side, interlaced, etc. And the card came with support for HDMI 1.4, which let me hook directly into my consumer 3D TV in my studio."

"It really was mind-blowing to be sitting in a house with just a computer, [Apple] Final Cut Pro, our footage and a TV, making a 3D film," continued Evans.

After locking the edit, the final 3D convergence process fell to Evans' colleagues, Ian Spohr, Scott Connolly and Roham Rahmanian of The Astronaut's Guild, a California company that specializes in 3D production and post workflows. After creating a master file of RED and Phantom footage in 2K, the Astronaut's Guild team made the final touches and ensured proper left and right alignment using Final Cut and CineForm.

   
Skateboarder Brian Anderson
Photo by Atiba Jefferson

"When editing 3D [based on] a 2D image, you have no idea what your 3D depth is. With Blackmagic Design's cards, you can see left and right images perfectly and simply edit away in 3D. And the HD Extreme 3D was compatible with every screen and monitor I viewed on, which was essential in pulling 'Unbeleafable' together," says Evans.

"Unbeleafable" was not the first film on which Evans used Blackmagic Design products. He became a widely recognized skateboarding filmmaker through projects such as "Heaven," "Lakairomania" and "Fully Flared." The latter included amazing cinematography and pyrotechnics combined with absolutely amazing skateboarding skills. The film, which earned Evans and co-director Spike Jonze several filmmaking awards, was completed with a Blackmagic Design DeckLink HD Extreme card.

"The DeckLink cards have enabled me to work with my choice of cameras and workflows that have included ProRes to 4:4:4 to 2K to 3D. They let me be creative, in real time. For the price, what these cards let me do is absolutely insane," adds Evans.