Details About the ‘Dawn Treader’ 3D Conversion

Prime Focus has completed the full 3D conversion of the eagerly-awaited Christmas blockbuster ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader’, which opened in the UK on Friday 10 December.

The film, directed by Michael Apted and starring Ben Barnes, Skandar Keynes, Georgie Henley and Will Poulter is the third film in the Chronicles of Narnia series, and is the industry’s biggest full 3D conversion film to date.

The opportunity to convert ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Voyage of the Dawn Treader’ came in June 2010, when producers were looking for a facility that could manage such an extensive project in the challenging timeframe. With its integrated worldwide studios and global digital pipeline at the heart of the project, Prime Focus was able to convert a staggering 1500 shots into S3D for the 115-minute movie. Normally for a project of this magnitude, the studio would split up conversion shots between a number of vendors, but with artists working across its facilities in London, Los Angeles and Mumbai, Prime Focus was able to take ownership of the 3D conversion.

It was this global team mobilisation which ensured the high quality delivery of the project on time. Sean Santiago, Vice President, Visual Effects Walden Media emphasised how important this was: “We chose Prime Focus based primarily on their ability to deliver. In Prime Focus we recognised a toolset that when properly harnessed would result in high quality stereo images across an incredible volume of material.”

Prime Focus Film spent 24 hours a day across three different time zones working on the conversion process. In total they delivered 600 shots from London, 550 from Los Angeles and 350 from Mumbai.

Richard Baker, senior Prime Focus stereographer, emphasised that without the company’s global digital pipeline the process wouldn’t have run as smoothly. “Our long experience and huge knowledge base in the conversion arena, our production proven pipeline and the efficiency of our transfer technology gave us the ability to respond to client changes immediately. The client was amazed that we could view a shot in London, submit notes to Mumbai at the beginning of dailies and have the amended stereo 3D shots sent back for review before the end of the session.”

A very close working relationship with the Fox and Walden production teams, in particular the studio stereographer Ed Marsh, was essential to the success of this project. Prime Focus spent a great deal of time with Ed at the beginning of the process, developing and understanding the levels of depth required for different types of shot and developing a shorthand which helped the project to run efficiently. As Santiago explains, “Working with Prime Focus was a collaborative experience based on partnership. Every artist shared the same goal as our own team of filmmakers: render the best stereo material from single-camera photography possible. Thanks to Prime Focus’ tireless effort, that goal was achieved.”

One of the main challenges Prime Focus faced working on such a large and vfx-heavy project was dealing with the huge number of assets produced by the multiple vfx facilities working on the film. By producing a ‘vendor package’ book, detailing exactly how vfx material should be delivered for successful conversion, and by leveraging the good relationships Prime Focus holds with the various vfx vendors on the project, the company was able to effectively process and manage over 10,000 delivered assets to produce the 1500 S3D conversion shots.

Matthew Bristowe, senior producer at Prime Focus, praised the talent of the team of artists and stereographers for their work on the project. “Without our global infrastructure and such a committed team, we couldn’t have achieved the results we did. This project was delivered by the most highly- skilled stereo conversion team out there and we think the final results speak for themselves.”

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56 Responses

  1. FasstProductions says:

    A less than outstanding 3d conversion just makes sub-par visual effects stand out more. I enjoyed this movie much more in 2D because although the green mist was still poorly composted, it didn't pop out of the screen at you.

  2. Allalea says:

    Second Comment! lol. I agree. I didn't even notice the 3d in the Narnia movie.

  3. Hwin says:

    I enjoyed it in 3-D, but I would really like to see it in just 2-D. Maybe I will be able to go again this weekend… 😀 I have a feeling I will enjoy it even more the second time than I did the first!

  4. David Sutton says:

    The 3D was a mixed bag. It was bad in the first 1/3, but got better after the Reepicheep/Eustace duel. There were some shots that you could not tell were converted, but at least every 10 minutes there was a very poor shot that woulds stand out and pull you out of the movie to remind you that this was converted. I have seen Disney films which were converted and I could never tell, but this was semi-obvious it was converted. When I visited the website I found that this is the same company that converted Clash of the Titans into 3D. I did not see that film, but it is infamous as being the worst 3D movie ever converted.

    Usually I love 3D films because I feel it enhanced the movie. I didn't think the 3D enhanced the film on this one, but I am glad to see it in 3D because I am sure that the increased ticket prices will help Narnia's box office sales.

  5. David Sutton says:

    The company also worked on Avatar and Journey to the Center of the Earth they did not convert these films from 2D to 3D they just worked on other visual effects. I hated both of these movies. Journey to the Center of the Earth was a reel to reel 3D Gag. The effects tried to use every opportunity to jab something into your face and were a big distraction from the film. Avatar was an all around poor film. I liked the color scheme and I liked the special effects, but the story and characters fell flat. The 3D in Avatar was very bad, but that is just because I saw it in a Chinese theater will a bad projection system. All Prime Focus did on these two films was add CGI effects. These films were shot in 3D and were not converted.

  6. Dirty B. says:

    In 2D the movie looks more whole. You can look at everything that is in frame, not just what's in the 1st plane. I think 3D doesn't look grate because director and operator didn't expect the movie to be converted. So, I've convinced that converted 3D can't impress me.

  7. Gem says:

    I saw it in 2-D, but I really want to go see it in 3-D as well. I'm sure some of the shots would be absolutely amazing in 3-D. But from what I'm hearing, people don't like it in 3-D. Still, I'd like to go see it for myself.

  8. Claudio says:

    personally, I loved it in 3D.. but im a 3D whore hehe

  9. Someone just uploaded all the soundtrack to YouTube.
    Here's one of them, Liliandil and Dark Island:

  10. Geon says:

    I couldn't careless about the 3D. I'm still disappointed on how they portray the plot. Honestly, I thought Prince Caspian did a much better job. If Disney or Walden Media could of given Andrew Adamson a second chance, Voyage of the Dawn Treader would have been good. This is just my opinion, no one has to agree with it!

  11. MinotaurforAslan says:

    That's pirating.

  12. sachin says:



  13. Aslan's Meadow says:

    I only noticed two bad 3D spots. There was one when Reep looked like he had fake hair behind his head. And another which looked like you were seeing the DT in doubles.

  14. NewMillenium says:

    Pirating is when you illegaly download/gain in any way something and then proceed to sale it(also illegaly). Whoever posted the soundtrack bought it legally and is posting it to for streaming listening, not download.

  15. Demor says:

    I definitely did.

  16. Kevin Gale says:

    And it still sucked in 3d, wasn't worth the price, and I didn't notice any differences from 2d.

  17. Griffle says:

    Everyone I've talked to who have seen it says the 3D was really bad in this so when I pre-booked tickets for the Swedish premiere (Christmas Day), I went for the 2D tickets. I've even read comments that make me think it might be one of the reasons why some critics gave it such bad reviews. They simple couldn't stand the 3D. One guy commented on a review I read writing, and I quote: "…the 3D effects looked abysmal – and seeing as box office was very poor in the US, let's hope this movie begins the sound of a death knell for that horrible old-fashioned un-cinematic special effect."

  18. Griffle says:

    I think you meant to say "composited". 😉

  19. Gina says:

    I just go home from seeing Voyage. We chose to see it in the regular format and it was an awesome movie. To people that won't go see it because of the bad hype about the version in 3-d I say go see the regular version, it is worth it!!

  20. Farsight says:

    I did not like the green mist floating around throughout the whole movie. I thought that was silly…It did not go along with the book, and it looked kinda creepy too!
    (they're not even supposed to know about the dark island until they come upon it)

  21. Farsight says:

    I hope so too!

  22. Farsight says:

    Andrew Adamson decided himself that he needed a break. He had been away from his wife for a long time.

  23. Samuel the Magnificent says:

    You could barely tell it was 3D and it was hard to pay attention to the movie.

  24. stateofgreen says:

    LOL; green mist is compostable. 😉

  25. stateofgreen says:

    It won't enhance the sales if the remove how many screens are playing it in theatres. 🙁

  26. stateofgreen says:

    All the money spent in 3D conversion should have been spent in hiring better scriptwriters.

  27. nic says:

    i suspect that people's impressions of 3d for this Narnia is related to 3d often being experienced with some new graphical experience in a blockbuster (like avatar or the new tron i'd imagine) and that then all following 3d films get judged as that kind of package for many.
    The Narnia 3d i think is awesome, but it's awesome in a overall story telling picturesque way, rather than a 'Wow' kinda of way in of the 3d experience coupled with new effects themselves. Same as the Narnia franchise itself, it's a story telling franchise rather than a blockbuster thrill one, -not to say it can't be blockbuster in returns – so it is the story telling watching audience that will love it & appreciate the 3d more. I'm hoping that this Narnia can steadily accumulate a good return so then for next time, that above type of audience has lead the way to expanding it's popularity for rest of series in a way that is obvious & less wasteful for the marketing, while the marketing is used to expand this geographic!

  28. FasstProductions says:

    Yep. It was an amusing error though.

  29. stateofgreen says:

    I agree with you that the franchise is story telling rather than blockbuster thrill type. That's what the makers don't get.

  30. Kirsta says:

    I totally agree – I can accept the plot revisions, and can even forgive the 'seven swords' addition; but green mist? a sub-par fantasy gimmick, in my opinion. Otherwise, after seeing it twice, the movie is definitely growing on me. 🙂

  31. Herohtar says:

    Pirating is when you download something you do not legally own. Selling it afterwards is not required for it to be pirating.

    Uploading something you legally own to YouTube or elsewhere is not pirating, but it is usually violating copyright law in some way unless it falls under fair use.

  32. Tawariell says:

    Exactly. The only reason I wanted to watch it in 3D was because I wouldn't be able to see it in 3D once it came out on DVD. I don't go to the theatre very often, and I've never seen anything in 3D, so it was more distracting for me to watch it in 3D, and I don't think it added anything to the movie; nothing seemed to jump out that much. I also watched in 2D before I watched it in 3D, and enjoyed the 2D much better.

  33. I agree with you 100% on that front!

  34. son of adam says:

    Matthew Vaughn will be a great director for the next Narnia movies! Hope he will come to direct!

    Stardust budget – 70mil
    Kick-ass budget – 30mil

  35. sachin says:


  36. samuel says:

    I'm glad it wasn't in 3d in my theater. I've seen conversion and I don't really care to watch any other converted movie. If you want to see good three D, go see the next Pixar movie, they do the most beautiful and effective use of the 3D. Ironically though I do find the conversion process fascinating and do it with my own photographs, I just don't want to pay 3 dollars more to see a professionally made movie put a less than spectacular effect on their movie

  37. samuel says:

    You must've seen avatar in a poor theatre, because it truly had gorgeous 3d film work, the only redeemable feature in the movie was the 3D, IMHO

  38. samuel says:

    let's hope they realize that if they want 3d they should do it the honest way, spend some extra cash and film it in 3d

  39. Griffle says:

    Sachin, your post is awaiting moderation. 😉

  40. Viníccios Matheus Giraldelli says:




  41. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    I wish the would compost he green mist…

  42. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    i enjoyed the 3D – tastefully done , not tacky like PARASITE the movie with demi moore or the U2 concet which got blurry. it made the sailing shots enjyoable.

  43. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    someone report it, that will hurt sales and we might not get another soundtrack, knowin g these fox people.

  44. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    thanks for your support, India!!!

  45. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    I think $3 .00 is a small contribution to make to help get SC greenlighted…

  46. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    sounds like this critic is not extactly impartial, more like he has an agenda. very biased and unprofessional for a review.

  47. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    exactly,it should have stirred the heart like the wizard of oz, that's how deep and spiritual the book is. they have to stop dumbing the movies down- give the audience some credit-

  48. High Queene Shelly Belly says:

    or be eliminated by space robots from mars!!

  49. Griffle says:

    Oh, sorry, it's not from a review, it's from a comment made by a guy commenting on the review. The reviewer actually like the film quite a lot, he gave it an 8 out of 10.

  50. dramaticalmama says:

    i totally agree. this film was good, but to me it lacked the depth and the magic that the two previous films had. i wish andrew adamson directed this film, but i understand if he needs to take a break. hopefully he'll direct Silver Chair.

  51. dramaticalmama says:

    i agree

  52. williams says:

    Important safety tip –
    if the movie is not shot in 3D it's not worth seeing in 3D. Conversions never look that good, and the director was shooting the movie thinking 2D when he made it so unless it's shot in 3D, don't waste your time or money

  53. williams says:

    Alan Rickman must play puddleglum!!

  54. RealityCheck says:

    Pirating is any use of a copyrighted work other than as specified in the license granted with the sale. Copying a track you've bought to your personal iPod will not usually be considered as pirating, but uploading a track to a public site certainly would be.

  55. Roger says:

    Williams is spot on in regard to conversions. It took me a few googles to be able to determine that this was a conversion and not shot in 3D. Since we're seeing the movie this afternoon, this blog has probably increased our enjoyment of the movie since we'll pick the 2D version! Avoid conversions!

  1. December 20, 2010

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