Miller’s “Happy Feet 2” Uses ‘Fury’ Cameras

Kennedy Miller Mitchell has just wrapped shooting at Fox Studios in Sydney of one week of filming of live action elements on Dr. George Miller’s highly anticipated animated feature “Happy Feet 2”.

In an online exclusive, Dark Horizons can reveal that the sequences were done using a completely customised 3D camera system developed by Paul Nichola and built specifically for Miller’s next project – “Mad Max: Fury Road”.

Two years ago Miller requested a 3D shooting system for ‘Fury Road’ that wouldn’t get in the way of the filmmaking process. Paul Nichola and his team constructed a compact 3D rig that required no alignment on-set. This was achieved by implementing a software convergence methodology.

Software convergence dispenses the need for intricate mechanical alignment of lenses. The end result is an operationally less intrusive, smaller robust and faster to shoot with system. There is no alignment required at any stage in the shooting process.

For ‘Road’, a customised digital cinema camera system was constructed, based on the Dalsa 4M60 sensor, which had the left and right cameras shooting in parallel at a higher resolution than what was available at the time.

The resulting image was converged on-set non-destructively (no toeing-in), and the convergence could be re-assigned at any stage during post-production right up until the final master without any affect on the original oversized capture.

This essentially allowed Miller to adjust and assign the 3D levels of individual shots and elements during the editing process rather than on-set.

George Miller says “Why converge in camera when it can be done more appropriately in the cutting room. Our post convergence methodology means I can adjust that decision losslessly right through to the final master.”

It also meant for a more robust style of shooting as the camera and other advancements with the chips used meant that much of the technology that processed the images was physically separate from the cameras themselves. This made the units both much lighter and easier to operate, and allowed them to be used for shots you simply couldn’t attempt with a more conventional system.

Tests of the camera have been taking place since February. Though originally designed for “Fury Road”, that project’s environmentally caused delays meant this shoot for ‘Feet’ was the first time footage for a major studio film had been shot utilising the new system.

“Happy Feet 2” is scheduled for release Thanksgiving 2011.