View­ers get a 3-D take on US Civil War

The Press - The Box - - FRONT PAGE - Washington Post

His­tory buffs in the United States can watch some­thing very old and very new on their tele­vi­sions these days. Fields of Valor, a four-part doc­u­men­tary of the US Civil War, fol­lows the men of the 1st Vir­ginia Reg­i­ment and the 20th Mas­sachusetts, also known as the Har­vard Reg­i­ment.

The se­ries uses tech­nol­ogy as old as the war. The ma­jor­ity of Civil War pho­tographs were shot in 3-D stere­oview, a process that used two cam­eras for one shot which, viewed to­gether, lent the im­ages an ex­tra di­men­sion, a process used to­day in 3-D film-mak­ing.

Much of the film’s per­spec­tive is deep into the tele­vi­sion, what film­mak­ers call pos­i­tive space.

Some el­e­ments leap out at you, blood mostly, but some­times can­non smoke or bul­lets.

‘‘You want to save the neg­a­tive space for the mo­ments when you want to have im­pact. You don’t want to be too gim­micky,’’ Tom Cos­grove, chief ex­ec­u­tive of the re­spon­si­ble stu­dio, 3net, said.

The im­age push­ing back into the tele­vi­sion also gives a more re­al­is­tic per­spec­tive, Cos­grove said.

The 3-D sweep al­lows view­ers to get the full scope of bat­tle­fields, which may not seem so grand on a 2-D panel.

Mean­while, di­a­logue is drawn largely from di­aries and let­ters, but some of it is scripted to limit the use of heavy nar­ra­tion, said 3net vi­cepres­i­dent and ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of the show, Tim Pa­s­tore.

Each episode is an hour long and fol­lows the ma­jor bat­tles of the east, in­clud­ing First and Sec­ond Bull Run, the Penin­sula Cam­paign and An­ti­etam. The two reg­i­ments come face to face at Get­tys­burg. 1. X Fac­tor 2. Amer­i­can Idol 3. En­tourage 4. Sur­vivor Re­demp­tion Is­land 5. Cas­tle 6. Amaz­ing Race Aus­tralia 7. Su­per­nat­u­ral 8. Bones 9. Sur­vivor South Pa­cific 1. Down­ton Abbey 2. Amer­i­can Idol 2011 3. Jersey Shore 4. Camp­bell Live 5. What Now 6. 3 News 7. One News 8. Bones 9. Short­land Street 10. Good Morn­ing

Photo: REUTERS

Bull Run: Union forces fire on Con­fed­er­ate lines dur­ing a re-en­act­ment of the first Bat­tle of Bull Run, in Vir­ginia. A new doc­u­men­tary on the war creatively uses pho­tographs from the era to cre­ate a 3-D ef­fect.

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