Sony Pictures Film Noir Thriller "Dark Country" Takes 3D Cinematography to New Levels using Silicon Imaging SI-2K Digital Cinema Cameras

Actor/Director Thomas Jane and Director of Photography Geoff Boyle immerse audiences in a visceral 3D world using the Silicon Imaging SI-2K camera system.

(Las Vegas, NV – April 8, 2008) 3D cinematography has always held the potential for delivering to audiences a more realistic, immersive, story-telling experience, yet it's a promise that has been largely unfulfilled due to the visually-restrained stylistic choices dictated by the physical reality of dual-camera 3D rigs, whose immense physical size and weight often limit the creative direction of each and every shot.  These same restrictions and challenges were faced by the the creators of the film noir thriller "Dark Country", but through the use of highly mobile 3D Steadicam-based rigs made possible with the Silicon Imaging SI-2K camera system, new possibilities have been created that open the door to a dynamic story-telling style, erasing the visual boundaries of 3D cinematography as it transforms the medium into its full immersive potential.

Thomas Jane and Geoff Boyle had been exposed to Silicon Imaging's camera technology during their recent Sci-Fi action feature film "Mutant Chronicles" and were already keen on shooting with SI-2K. Sony Pictures hired 3D specialists, Max Penner and Tim Thomas of ParadiseFX to help bring the feature to life. They had just completed developing a 9-camera 360-degree rig using the Silicon Imaging cameras and were able to design a stereo beam splitter rig into a MK-V-AR Steadicam with variable interocular control and another rig with fixed interocular for hand-held shooting. The Steadicam-AR rig was used to perform dynamic tracking shots with auto-leveling, moving the cameras from a high mode of 8-feet to ground level in one second.

“The physical size of the Silicon Imaging 3D rigs completely redefine the scope and potential of 3D cinematography," says Director of Photography Geoff Boyle.  "For instance, the variable interocular rig on our MK-V-AR Steadicam weighed approximately 10lbs, and our fixed interocular version came in at a feather-light 3lbs. While most of shots had the cameras mounted in the Steadicam rig, there's really no limit to where you can mount these things.  Our camera mounts are only part of the story though; where the true revolution lies is that we've now been given a visual language and stylistic choices that nobody has ever seen in a 3D movie before.  Had we utilized any other camera system, there would have been nothing new to see – it would have looked like any other 3D film shot in the past 50 years in terms of the physical restraints of how or when we could move the camera.  To bring a thriller car-chase movie like 'Dark Country' to life, we simply couldn't make those compromises."

"'Dark Country' is a film that I wanted to express in a manner that remains true to the stylistic choices of film noir, while delivering an immersive reality and visceral experience that only the next generation of 3D cinematography could provide," says "Dark Country" Actor/Director Thomas Jane.  "Every medium brings a life of it's own to the story-telling process, and with 'Dark Country', I wanted audiences to be there, to be in the car with the characters, and make the story their own with a heightened sense of physical contact never experienced before.  The mobility and physical expression in each shot we were able to achieve with the Silicon Imaging camera rigs truly transformed my personal vision into a living and breathing visual reality."

Taking it to the Next Level

NAB 2008 will continue the course of innovation, as Silicon Imaging will be demonstrating a technology preview of the industry's first integrated 3D stereoscopic camera control and recording environment, enabling film-makers to view, adjust and shoot in-context of a live 3D stereoscopic effect, providing an integrated suite of 3D visualization features in an intuitive cinema-oriented camera control and recording toolset.  While the first-generation camera control system for "Dark Country" required dual recording setups that were independent of each other, this preview of the next-generation of SiliconDVR will allow users to attach two SI-2K MINI's over gigabit Ethernet to a single system, view the stereo pair live on both the main GUI screen and a separate external monitor, and visualize exactly how the 3D shot will look as it's being captured, all in a single integrated environment.

"From the feedback we've received on 'Dark Country', one of the biggest challenges in current process is visualizing the 3D steroscopic effect and controlling two camera systems, and then enabling that on a level that matches what crews were accustomed to from single-camera configurations," says Ari Presler, CEO of Silicon Imaging, Inc.  "When you're working in 3D right now, it basically requires 'two of everything', and the transparency between the artist and the tool that's so vital for the artist's intuition gets lost.  With this next-generation 3D toolset we're going to re-enable that transparency and give the end-user an unprecedented amount of visualization and control while hiding the complexity of the process."

Pricing and Availability

The SI-2K MINI™ with SiliconDVR™ recording software, integrated CineForm RAW and IRIDAS SpeedGrade technology, and the P+S Technik Universal Lens Mount System bundled with an included PL-mount option is $17,500 and available now and currently shipping.

The SI-2K™, which includes an embedded version of SiliconDVR™ recording software and integrated CineForm RAW and IRIDAS SpeedGrade technology, is $34,000 and available now and currently shipping.

Silicon Imaging products and technology demonstrations will be on display at NAB 2008 in booth SL10608.

About Silicon Imaging

Silicon Imaging, Inc. is a leader in IT-centric high-definition digital camera and RAW workflow solutions. Silicon Imaging’s products incorporate disruptive technologies to deliver a new generation of products outperforming traditional HD cameras while increasing flexibility and lowering cost. Please visit us at


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