Marvel Entertainment was one of the first major Hollywood companies to commit to 3D movies. Beginning last summer, every movie based on a Marvel comic property was to be either filmed in 3D or converted to 3D for theatrical and home entertainment releases. When this mandate came down, Ari Arad (Iron Man), producer of Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, turned to NVIDIA to help with the production of the Sony Pictures sequel, which is now out on Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray and DVD.
NVIDIA sent Arad Productions an Asus G51JX-3D laptop packed with 3D Vision technology, and Intel Core i7-720QM processor and an Nvidia GeForce GTS 360M GPU with 1GB of dedicated GDDR5 memory to use on set in Europe. Although the actual movie was filmed in 2D, the production had a full-time stereographer working with directors Mark Neveldine and Brian Taylor (Gamer). Arad explained that one of the philosophies going into the movie was to make it almost entirely on location throughout Romania and Turkey. As a result, a large part of pre-production and production was spent in the field.
“Having the NVIDIA 3D laptop where we could evaluate some of the 3D decisions that we were going to make for the movie was definitely helpful,” said Arad. “3D Vision worked seamlessly. It was easy to use. We went into the process knowing we were making a 3D movie even with our stereographer on set every day involved in pre-production, production, and post. Being able to evaluate early visual effects in 3D, including some early depth pass things and choices in 3D, was very important because even though you shoot in 2D, you’re planning for 3D.”
Arad said that being able to see what the Ghost Rider skull looked like on fire in 3D was a big, exciting moment. The laptop allowed the team to get a sense of how some of the things they were trying would actually look in 3D. “Neveldine and Taylor have a very kinetic filmmaking style, which makes this film unique,” said Arad. “But it also put us in uncharted territory when it comes to 3D, so there were things that we were trying that we thought would work and the laptop allowed us to experiment and give the directors more artistic freedom.”
The result of that artistic freedom is now on home video with Nicolas Cage reprising his role as the undead comic book hero cursed to ride the earth for eternity
Check out our exclusive interview with Arad for more 3D insights!