Today: April 12, 2024

Director Barney Cokeliss

His 3D short film, The Foundling…

Philips Electronics and renowned film producers, Ridley
Scott Associates (RSA) – not content with their Parallel Lines campaign bagging
the 2010 inaugural Cannes Lions Grand Prix for Film Craft – have raised the
game by producing an all-new 3D short film.

The Foundling, directed by RSA director Barney Cokeliss was created to showcase the world’s first Full HD 3D cinema proportion LED TV, the Philips Cinema 21:9 Platinum Series, the film is available to view in selected Philips retailers. A historical drama set in a 1930s circus, it was shot in collaboration with award-winning stereographers Vision3@Compendium featuring a team who also worked on 3D blockbuster, Avatar (2010). Barney has two features in development including one based on a
cult short story by the celebrated British author J.G. Ballard. He is currently
prepping the Berlin part of Geography of the Hapless Heart – a portmanteau feature built of fives stories
happening simultaneously in five cities. FilmJuice gets his lowdown on 3D TV.

Congratulations on a beautiful short film. Firstly, what attracted you to this project?

Thanks! It’s an honour to have been chosen to participate in the Parallel Lines series. The previous films were all so strong and the fact that this sixth film is in 3D is enormously exciting. It’s a project that would entice any film-maker. The wonderful thing about Philips’s Parallel Lines series is that they give film-makers total creative freedom and, at the same time, one major restriction – the six lines of dialogue. It’s a great combination of freedom and focus and I think it stimulates film-makers to be more inventive than a totally open brief would.

How did you come up with your own interpretation of the project? What influenced you?

I wanted to make something set in the past as none of the other films had been. And I wanted to make something emotive. The film is under six minutes long, so I liked the challenge of wanting to move an audience in that short space of time.

What is your favourite scene from the film and why?

I like the big wide shots in the circus tent scene a lot – somehow there’s a lot of emotional resonance in just dropping back as the actors hold still. I’m not sure why, but it’s there every time I watch the film. I’d say that whole scene is my favourite.

Do you believe that all film genres can be enhanced by being shot in 3D?

That’s a tough one. Maybe. I think – to be practical about it – it depends on how the camera and rig technology develops. Right now, 3D leads you to a certain kind of visual storytelling – a more inclusive, somewhat classical style with longer shots and fewer cuts. This is partly because the eye needs more time to process a 3D image and also because the 3D effect doesn’t suit certain kinds of framing. You can’t really crop things in the foreground the way we do all the time in 2D film-making. But it’s also because the camera rigs are large and rather slow to use. So you can’t shoot dozens of shots in one day – you have to boil you story down to the key images. I don’t think I’m giving away any secrets when I tell you that there isn’t one single shot that we did on The Foundling that isn’t in the edit. You have to be well prepared and economical.

How difficult is it working in 3D compared to 2D, and what are the biggest misconceptions about filming in 3D?

Well, you have twice the number of cameras to start with, so you twice as many things that can go wrong technically. Then you’ve got the issue of the 3D rigs, which can be temperamental. Changing a lens – which in 2D can be a two to five minute operation – can take 30 to 40 minutes in 3D. So you can’t afford to play around with shooting the same shot on different lenses and see what you discover – there just isn’t the time in the day. You end up being much more sparing – we used only three lenses on The Foundling and one of those only a couple of times. This isn’t unique to 3D – film-makers like Ozu and Polanski famously use only one or two lenses – but in 2D it’s a choice, whereas in 3D it goes with the territory.

What is the future of 3D?

I hear that the 3D exhibition of theatrical features is disproportionately profitable, compared to 2D exhibition, so I’m sure we’ll be seeing more and more 3D movies.

As for people experiencing 3D at home, on tv, I think that’s going to become widespread over time. Ultimately it’ll be like colour – if you ask someone today if their tv can do colour they look at you strangely, but it’s not that many decades ago that it was a serious question. Now people take it for granted and I think eventually they’ll take 3D capability for granted as a normal aspect of any tv. This doesn’t mean they’ll watch everything in 3D, though. I’m not sure they’ll be watching cookery programmes in 3D, or chat shows. But for bigger, more cinematic storytelling I think it’ll keep on growing.

Have you heard of D Box – simulator chairs within film theatres – to be used with 3D glasses? What are your thoughts on this?

I’ve not heard much about that but I’d certainly give it a try!

How did you get started as a filmmaker?

I had two key short film commissions that got me going. MTV commissioned a two-minute short of mine which went to Sundance and Jeremy Howe at the BBC commissioned a ten-minute film from me which went to Venice and was very well received by the British press.

You have an incredible portfolio as a photographer. Has filmmaking taken over that passion?

Thanks very much. I see them as complementary activities. The one can inspire the other. And it’s refreshing to go between big, complicated film shoots and simple, low-key photo shoots. I like to think that my photographic activities make me a better director. But film-making is the overriding passion, yes.

What are you currently working on?

Lots of commercials and a couple of features.

A 2D version of The Foundling will also be presented exclusively to fans on Philips Cinema’s Facebook page www.facebook.com/philipscinema , and will then be released on www.philips.com/cinema and www.youtube.com/philipscinema on September 22nd. Exclusive footage of how the film was made, including interviews with the director and crew, will be released on Philips Cinema’s Facebook page.

Marcia Degia - Publisher

Marcia Degia, who has worked in the media industry for more than 20 years, is the Publishing Editor of KOL Social Magazine. See website: thekolsocial.com

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