Joséphine Derobe shares her Stereo 3D story in this guest post as part of our research series.  To find out more about our Stereo 3D training scheme, CCFL Training, visit here: deadline for applications: 27 March 2015.

Josephine Derobe and Gaelle Denis during Stereo 3D test shoots - CCFL 2014

Amazed by a cow (a Salers, French breed of cow)

Some people might think that my unshakable faith was created as a result of a very important film such as Pina, by Wim Wenders, but it happened years before that.

My ardent desire to understand and explore stereoscopy as another audiovisual language was born nine years ago, thanks to a cow!

As a photojournalist I was assisting (by a lucky chance) Alain Derobe (my father) in shooting 3D images, alongside the camera crew, for a film for the Vulcania theme park in the Auvergne.  And there she was, in front of me, this redhead chewing impassively, playing an actress against a blue background, in a field in the Auvergne.

Busy with the equipment, I did not give her all my attention until the director, François Garnier, asked me to look at the live 3D image through a viewer.  I was fascinated!  The cow appeared to me in a new light and larger than life in this little box.  The original a few metres away from me seemed to be a pale copy because I suddenly had the illusion of seeing MORE.  MORE curve, more volume, almost more grace, where each of her hairs stood out and shone with a greater intensity, the mass of her body, the roughness of her tongue, almost the smell of hay.  It was stupefying!  The stereoscopic image transfigured the elements it contained, attracting me just by their presence.  My experience was physical, tactile and sensory: I was caught by an invisible bond which came from the screen to join itself to me, somewhere between the heart and the stomach.

Keep the cord

I had a new vocation: I put my words and my still images to one side to become a stereographer with Alain and the members of the Amak Studio.  I was extremely lucky to learn with experienced people in different fields, freethinker-builders, researcher-craftsmen, all working towards discovering an unknown territory.  Everyone was moving forward enthusiastically, discovering the Why and the How.

The first idea that struck me for describing a stereoscopic image is that of the “scenic box” used by my father.  A stereoscopic image with the rules of 3D creates on a flat screen an almost palpable optical illusion of the volume of each object (more or less expanded) and a perception of depth (more or less extended) which extends beyond the screen, on the plane of the screen, and can also come extremely close to the audience.  The audience is then in front of an image which becomes flesh and expresses itself like a theatre scene on stage.

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 20.10.28

 Illustration Alain Derobe

Arouse the creative desire

Looking at this illustration, how can we not question the use of the scenic box by: the story, direction, cutting, lighting, movement, recording, editing, sound … it becomes clear that 3D cannot be expressed with our existing terms and codes for traditional “flat” sound and vision.

This gigantic emotion factory, which multiplies sensations, will be cut off from its essence and we would cut the precious link between the audience and the stereoscopic picture.

Unfortunately, this is what happens most of the time at all the stages of making a stereo 3D project either in live action or in animation.  Whatever the country, motivation, and whatever the format, most producers, technicians and creatives often do not invest either time or money in the right place: the birth of a project, the creative process and the preparation.

However it is precisely here that the range of possibilities is open, as members of a technical and creative team have time to experiment by themselves, change their fear of the unknown to engender creativity.

I am not referring here to learning the jargon of the stereographer or physiological limits, but to considering 3D as a tool of artistic expression, through which we can discover the vastness of its visual and sonic potential.

I was present at the meeting between Wim Wenders and Alain Derobe in 2009 and took part in an incredible adventure, Pina, as the main stereographer.  These two great men, with experience as long as their arms, humbly questioned their knowledge, tested, pushed the limits, analysed and invented.

Since then, my collaboration with Wim Wenders and his company Neue Road Movies has not stopped and continues to expand into other projects: art installations, architecture documentaries, student films, fiction drama … and even if Alain left us in 2012, the procedure for each new project stays the same: bring together skills, challenge ideas, test, explore, create.

Today the CCFL offers us this generous perspective, so let’s go beyond!

Joséphine Derobe

For more information on our programme of Stereo 3D events offered in partnership with Falmouth University and Cornwall Film Festival, browse our events page, or read more here.

On Tuesday 11 November, Josephine will host a masterclass about her experience of working on Cathedrals of Culture, which will also screen as part of the programme.  Find out more and how to book your free tickets here.



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