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Official Dark Country - Sundance Report

Tim Bradstreet

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Let me preface Ray's report with a note to inform people who aren't aware that Ray 3D Zone was an instrumental catalyst in Tom Jane's decision to make Dark Country in 3D. Ray also served as the film's 3D Producer and Supervisor. That said, Ray was the perfect man to send to Sundance to talk up the production.

Now I give you the ZONE -



“The Dark Country” at Sundance

Thomas Jane’s 3D film is previewed at Film Festival

By Ray Zone


On January 20, a panel of 3D experts convened at the Sundance Film Festival to discuss what’s happening in the “New Hollywood” with digital 3D cinema. As 3D Supervisor of the film, I was on hand to present a two and a half minute clip of “The Dark Country” in 3D to the standing-room only audience.

Titled “In 3D: The Future is Now,” the panel was moderated by Business Week media columnist Jon Fine. The previous evening, “U2 3D” had its world premiere at Sundance with the band and filmmakers in attendance. A panel consisting of Catherine Owens - U2 3D director, and 3eality CEO Steve Schklair, who produced the film, was held after the premiere.


On the following day, Fine convened the “In 3D” panel to a soldout house. “New technology is changing the way we tell stories,” stated Fine. All of the panelists were in agreement on that score. Along with Owens, Schklair and myself the other 3D panelists included Phil McNally, Global Stereoscopic Supervisor at Dreamworks, Todd Cogan from Pace Technology and Jed Weintraub, director of “Scar 3D.”


Dolby Digital 3D was the stereoscopic platform used to project the 3D at Sundance. The Dolby 3D process uses passive glasses with mostly clear lenses that separate the left and right eye images with wavelength interference filters, based upon selective transmission or blocking of RGB color values. It has the advantage of working on a white matte screen such as is used in most conventional cinemas. The digital projector is retrofitted with a rotating filter wheel behind lens circulating at a very high rate of speed to separate the left and right eye versions of the film.


About the 3D process, independent filmmaker Jed Weintraub observed that “you have an entire new dimension which is depth. Scenes from Weintraub’s “Scar” were projected in the Dolby 3D process. "The 3D screen is truly breaking down the wall that separates you from the action."

With “The Dark Country” it has always been Tom Jane’s intention to use the narrative to drive the 3D effects. The fast-paced story tells a chilling tale about a newly married couple traveling over the course of a desert night into the heart of a surreal nightmare. The 3D clip projected at Sundance was greeted by the viewing audience with great anticipation and whetted cinematic appetites for watching the full-length version of “The Dark Country” when it is released.


Much of the unprecedented 3D camera mobility in “The Dark Country” was evident in the clip shown at Sundance. The innovative HD 3D camera rigs that photographed “The Dark Country” were developed by Max Penner and his 3D team at Paradise FX in Van Nuys, California. Paradise FX is also handling the post-production chores in finishing the film.


“Moore’s law is driving down the cost of the technology,” I stated on the 3D panel at Sundance. The day is quickly approaching when it will be possible to shoot and complete a 3D feature film using desktop digital technology. As 3D drives the proliferation of digital cinema in motion picture exhibition, more and more filmmakers will be adopting stereoscopic production techniques. Thomas Jane’s “The Dark Country” will provide an important benchmark for how to use 3D to tell a thrilling story on the motion picture screen.






Thanks you Ray!

- TB

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