In CG filmmaking there are no real cameras, silly! But for many Blue Skyers, figuring out how to shoot our virtual sets, actors and action sequences is a fulltime job. Literally.
CAMERA & STAGING
Camera & Staging (also known as Layout) is where all the cinematic planning for our films is done. It's creative and technical and iterative and requires a ton of collaboration with most of the other departments. As you might imagine, Camera & Staging artists have one purpose in mind - to tell a great visual story.
Each sequence of the film is tackled by a single artist who begins the process of reinterpreting the storyboard cut and all the Previs material CG shots using low-res sets with low-res stand-in characters. They pick the lenses, block in the action (i.e. Scrat crosses an icy plane) and compose the shots to try to best express the scene. Then they show the director, change everything, cry, show the director, take notes, yell at their kids, etc. It's fun making cartoons!
When this phase is done other artists can bring in the final sets and props and evaluate it all again and tweak away. Once approved, each shot is meticulously separated out and prepped for the Animation team to bring the character performances to life.
Camera & Staging re-evaluates the composition choices once the animators do their business - seeing the performance emerge tends to inspire yet more tweaking to help polish every shot.
Stereoscopy is too long to say, so it's referred to as "Stereo" in the industry. We're not talking about hearing sounds in both ears - we're talking about seeing sights in both eyes. Did you know that you perceive depth because you have two eyes? That's how we defeated the mighty Cyclops! Don't you read the newspaper???
The incredibly talented Stereo department works on every shot, throughout the filmmaking process. They set up a second camera (which pretends it's your second eye) and uses it to control the level of depth you see. Key moments might be exagerated or scaled back in order to heighten the overall experience. Once the rest of the departments are finished with their work, the Stereo team evaluates how their cameras are holding up and polish every frame... in 3D!!!
Our team is full of funny-glasses-wearing people who are seasoned vets of an entirely new field. They've invented tools and honed processes that make the stereoscopic 3D in our movies deeply immersive, but also natural and comfortable.