Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania

Transforming Marvel’s Ant-Man and Doctor Strange to 3D Stereo

Jason Bomstein

Jason Bomstein, a stereographer at SDFX Studios (formerly Stereo D), collaborates with major filmmakers, particularly those at Marvel Studios, overseeing the transformation of blockbuster features from their 2D original format to stereoscopic 3D.

Recently, he’s taken on this responsibility for Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania and for Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the latter of which received the AIS (Advanced Imaging Society) Award for Best 2D to 3D Conversion of 2022.

Bomstein has honed his approach to this process over more than a decade with the company, first as an artist and subsequently working his way up to team leader — overseeing artist teams at its Toronto location — before moving into his current role of stereographer.

“Part of what’s great about having a company like ours doing this versus filming in 3D,” he says, “is when you film in 3D, there’s no changing it. You can’t manipulate it. And this process benefits enormously from being able to try different approaches.”

Deep Thoughts

For every project, Bomstein gets to know the 2D version of each shot in order to make key decisions about the amount of depth he and the SDFX teams (located in Los Angeles, Toronto and Pune, India) will create as they deconstruct the 2D images into a great many individual elements (a face, a hand, parts of a table, and on and on) and then reconstruct all those pieces into the two images — the left and right “eyes” — that make up the 3D version.

The 3D effect is created by adding parallax between the left and right images – the less aligned the two are, the greater the stereoscopic effect. So as a prelude to the artists’ taking the images apart and reconstructing them, Bomstein determines depth and assigns the shot a number, which refers to the amount of pixel separation his team will create for the stereoscopic version.

“I’ll start out eyeballing a scene and assign it a 25,” he says, referring to the number of pixels offset between the left and right eyes. “Then we might get in there and actually see it and say, ‘You know what? It would be better at 35.’”

To complicate the calculations further, 35 refers to a total amount of offset, which is then distributed throughout the z-axis of the frame. “If we decide with Marvel that a particular shot, say looking down a hallway, should have a depth of 35 overall,” he explains, “we might give it 15 in the back and 20 in the front to reach that depth of 35. There are many different ways we could approach it and still have a depth of 35. We can fine-tune how the depth is distributed based on how pronounced or subtle we want the 3D effect to be.

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