Using only the heat of the human body as a light source, a 3D film from the National Film Board has won a top 3D Creative Arts Award
ORA captures the movements of six dancers using a pair of stereoscopic, thermographic 3D camera platforms, the first such use of the imaging technology which was developed for and by the U.S. military.
The 15 minute NFB film, directed by Philippe Baylaucq and produced by René Chénier, was announced as the winner of the Autodesk 3D Independent Short Film Competition at the 3D Creative Arts Awards ceremony in Beverly Hills, California, earlier this month.
The director and producer of ORA were on hand to receive the award.
Presented annually by the International 3D Society, the 3D Creative Arts Awards recognize productions making use of 3D technology in film, television, video games, and other media. In past years, films such as Hugo by Martin Scorsese, Alice in Wonderland by Tim Burton, and Avatar by James Cameron have received 3D Creative Arts Awards in various categories.
ORA had its first Quebec screening more than a year ago, and since then it has had a world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) in 2011, and opened the 15th edition of the Cinéma du Québec film festival in Paris.
For several weeks, ORA was shown in Quebec on a double bill with the acclaimed feature-length 3D dance film Pina by Wim Wenders.
In addition to being included on TIFF’s list of the 10 best Canadian short films of 2011, ORA received a Special Mention from the jury at the 2012 Hong Kong International Film Festival and the Audience Award for Films Under 45 minutes in Length at the 2012 Thessaloniki Documentary Festival in Greece.
Infrared thermal imaging technology and the extremely sensitive cameras that can detect minute temperature variations are mostly used in military, medical and scientific applications, so the NFB production marks a first for creative content development using the platform.
Cameras used on ORA were developed by an organization called Santa Barbara Focalplane (SBF), a Lockheed Martin Missiles & Fire Control Business.
SBF’s AuraSR Super Resolution infrared camera has a 16 channel >100 Hz frame rate output and 1024 x 1024 FPA, using Lockheed Martin’s advanced InSb FPA technology. Its high-speed digital output is rated to 160 MSPS, with a data rate that can exceed 80 megapixels per second.
The intense data capture means only 2½ minutes of footage can be shot before having to download captured material to external hard drive storage.
The film was recorded in Dolby 7.1 surround sound, said to be another production first for the NFB.
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