Director of Photography Manfred Reiff Shoots 3D Video Art with Panasonic's New AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D Camcorder


‘Time Suite III’ Displays a New Dimension in Museum-Quality Art

Last Updated: November 11, 2010 6:59 pm GMT
(Secaucus, New Jersey--November 11, 2010) Prominent Manhattan-based Director of Photography Manfred Reiff recently chose Panasonic’s new AG-3DA1 Full HD 3D camcorder to shoot a piece of high-end video art entitled “Time Suite III”.

This project depicts moving, animated type, projected on the human form, and shot in 3D. This is the third work in a series from director John Zieman, and is currently in post production.

The filmmakers plan to enter “Time Suite III” for consideration at the upcoming Art Basel Miami Beach, considered by many the most important art show in the U.S., as well as at leading galleries and museums. “Time Suite,” the first in the series, was showcased during the 2009 Armory Show week, with a theatrical 4K projection. “First Dream” followed, playing in the Chelsea Art Museum last August.

Reiff is celebrated for his commercial work for such brands as Rayban, L'Oreal, Armani Beauty, Reebok and Pepsi. He has worked extensively with Panasonic camcorders, having shot “First Dream” with the AJ-HPX3700 P2 VariCam, and video profiles for the New York Times’ with the AJ-HPX3000 native 1080p P2 HD camcorder. These New York Times’ “Screen Tests” featured such celebrities as Charlize Theron and Natalie Portman.

Prior to shooting “Time Suite III,” Reiff had worked with 3D rigs. Earlier this year, he was approached about a 3D commercial project, one that would have required moving in the same shot from inside a car to outside, as well as Steadicam shots . “There was no way I was going to be able to use the very heavy, virtually immobile rigs I had used before,” Reiff said. “While evaluating my options, I learned about the 3DA1, which at six pounds would have been a far more reasonable choice.”

That project didn’t come to fruition, but when John Zieman came to Reiff with “Time Suite III,” whose themes included “Your thoughts lack depth,” the pair began discussing 3D and the Panasonic camcorder, and lined up a demo of the 3DA1. “First of all, we were both pleased with the quality of the 3D image,” said Reiff. “It’s very clean.”

Having decided on the Panasonic camcorder, Reiff spent three days testing the 3DA1 prior to the early September shoot. “Every camera has a sweet spot, and I wanted to understand as completely as I could how to get the best possible 3D out of the 3DA1,” he said. “I especially worked to avoid the phenomenon of cardboarding, whereby the background can appear flat and 2D. 3D requires a different visual language, and one needs to rethink depth of field: one of our solutions was to continuously have three-dimensional elements from foreground to background to sustain the 3D ‘spell.’”

“Time Suite III” was shot totally as an exterior, on a roof top in lower Manhattan, with the Empire State and Chrysler Buildings to the north and Flatiron Building to the south. Shooting was all done at night, with considerable supplied lights. “Our camera tests paid off and we able to achieve very good 3D depth perception of the classic architecture in the distance as well as the foreground action,” Reiff said. ”We lit up the night and really pushed the dynamic range of the camcorder, whose light sensitivity was quite pleasing.”

The piece, which will run approximately three minutes, is being edited in Final Cut Pro at PS260 (New York, NY), where Zieman is supervising the edit. The production company is High Line Films (New York, NY).

“Post production is a dream with the 3DA1,” said Zieman, partner at the PS260 editing boutique. “The left and right eye files easily match up, with start frames always coincident, and lens sizes and alignment are always perfect, unlike most two-camera rigs. In production, the ability to zoom while shooting, while still maintaining convergence, feels totally natural, but hides some real technical wizardry.”

“With art-based projects, one inevitably must make conscientious use of resources, so an affordable 3D acquisition tool like the 3DA1 is a real breakthrough,” Reiff noted. “The camcorder will certainly occupy a distinct niche in various types of productions.”

“Typically with the advent of new technologies, equipment is extremely expensive. The 3DA1 defies that convention,” he continued. “Even at these early stages of mainstream 3D production, its price point is quite low. Its affordability coupled with its simplicity of operation will allow content creators who want to produce 3D projects within reasonable budgets to take advantage of the medium. It’s a huge plus for overall 3D production.”

For more information about DP Manfred Reiff, visit; for more information about director/editor John Zieman, visit

About the AG-3DA1
The AG-3DA1 is the world's first professional, fully-integrated Full HD 3D camcorder that records to SD card media. The AG-3DA1 will democratize 3D production by giving professional videographers a more affordable, flexible, reliable and easier-to-use tool for capturing immersive content as well as providing a training tool for educators. At less than 6.6 pounds, the AG-3DA1 is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to record 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD. It can record for up to 180 minutes on dual 32GB SD cards in Panasonic's professional AVCHD PH mode, and offers professional interfaces including dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone and twin-lens camera remotes. For more information, visit

About Panasonic Solutions Company
Panasonic Solutions Company empowers people whose jobs depend on reliable technology. The company delivers collaboration, information-sharing and decision-support solutions for customers in government, healthcare, education and a wide variety of commercial enterprises. Products and services within the company’s portfolio include Panasonic Toughbook® mobile computing solutions, projectors, professional displays (including both plasma and LCD), and HD and 3D video acquisition and production solutions. As a result of its commitment to R&D, manufacturing and quality control, Panasonic is known for the reliability and longevity of its products. Panasonic Solutions Company is a Division of Panasonic Corporation of North America, which is the principal North American subsidiary of Panasonic Corporation (NYSE: PC).

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