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Crank3 Going 3D with Bullet-Time

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We previously announced that Crank 2: High Voltage is in the works, but now the plot thickens - they're also making Crank 3! And that's not it - it's going to be in 3D, too! Steve over at Collider caught up with filmmakers Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor, who told him about their ideas for trilogy, including a groundbreaking new moving bullet-time camera system that they're using in Crank 2. If you thought these guys pushed the limits with the first Crank, just wait until you hear what they're working on now.

Mark Neveldine first talked about their ideas for Crank 3. It's not 100% confirmed that they'll go 3D, but it sounds like if the technology advances by the time they start working on it, that's the way they'll go.

"We were actually thinking of trying to do RED 3D for Game for a while. We think it's the way things are going. The problem for us is that the rigs are still a little too cumbersome. They're a bit too big. So for 3D you tend to have a lot of locked off shots, things on cranes, things that are very controlled. We just don't shoot that way man, we like to just pick up the camera and run and go berserk and it doesn't really lend itself to 3D right now."

The RED camera system they're talking about is the latest and greatest behind-the-scenes hot thing in Hollywood. It's a high definition digital system that was design by the guy who founded Oakley, and is of the absolute utmost quality (currently unattainable with other professional digital cameras). To learn more about it, head to red.com. Mark and Brian were actually one of the first to use the cameras on Game, the Gerard Butler action film they already finished shooting.

Another one of the ridiculously interesting things they mentioned that should get any movie geek excited is the bullet-time rig they're developing. Mark explains what they're trying to do:

"We're pushing the limits… We're going to be creating a moving bullet[-time] camera that has never been done before. We're putting about 15 cameras onto a piece of speed rail, all these super lightweight cameras that I'll be holding on rollerblades flying around people. So you'll have that image that you've seen in the Matrix, where they stop motion and the cameras spin around, except for the fact that our cameras can spin around and move while the actor moves."

A typical bullet-time rig (as they used in Matrix) consists of upwards of around 100 still cameras rigged around a green screen set. To shoot the scene, each camera shoots one frame to fill in roughly ~30 frames per second of video, and the computer works out the rest (and fills in any gaps). What it sounds like Mark and Brian are trying to do is develop a similar system with cameras rigged to a rail, but build it so that it can be moved with the actor. He even goes as far as to mention the idea of strapping on rollerblades while shooting with it, although I'm guessing a mechanical or hydraulic system would have better (visual) results.

In theory, this sounds like it could be great - an action sequence that implements practical bullet-time that flies in and out and moves around the person while they're "in action" or fighting. Think about Matrix, but if the entire person was moving or running or flying through the air and yet the bullet-time continued. Get it now? Now are you saying to yourself "that's frickin' awesome" like we all are?

There's obviously plenty of time for this to develop and for them to tweak the camera rig. Crank 2: High Voltage is supposed to start shooting in April, and we'll bring any updates we hear from the guys up until then. Mark and Brian already finished shooting Game and are working on post-production for that. After Crank 2, Mark and Brian are likely to start work on adapting the comic book Jonah Hex. Stay tuned for more this coming week!

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