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How To Shoot In 3D With Fashion Photographer Matjaz Tancic

How To Shoot In 3D With Fashion Photographer Matjaz Tancic

Matjaz Tancic is an established Slovenian fashion photographer, who’s lately been experimenting with shooting in 3D (much like Creator Sebastian Denz). After working in Europe for many years, Tancic’s currently based in Beijing, where he captures China’s historical spirit, the transient city landscape, and the daring new architectural designs in highly-polished fashion shoots. His ongoing 3D photography series titled “Mimicry” consists of large format, exhibition-worthy pictures that explore the idea of subjects blending with nature in unfamiliar, cold surroundings.

“Mimicry” China, 2012

“Mimicry” China, 2012

Tancic’s passion for 3D photography stems from the magic it has to let people to engage with an image in an intimate way beyond its place in glossy magazines and galleries. After showing his work at Chambers Fine Art in Beijing, he took the photographs back to the original site of photo shoot located in a traditional hutong community, which was in the process of being demolished. He mounted the 200 × 140 cm photos at the exact places they were taken, and the spontaneous pop-up exhibition attracted friends and locals, who looked on with 3D glasses.

We caught up with Tancic to learn more about how he shoots in 3D…

The Creators Project: Tell us a little about yourself, and your journey as a photographer.
Matjaz Tancic:
I had pretty regular childhood growing up in the capital of Slovenia, Ljubljana. Initially, the biggest impact to my photography were trips abroad with my family… Sweden, where I took my first photo. Rome, where I spent my saving on two instant cameras. Vienna, where I recieved my first camera for my birthday. Paris, where I lost that same camera. London, where I studied fashion photography. Beijing, where I’m currently living and working.

Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

When did you start shooting in 3D? What made you transition away from regular film?
I started shooting in 3D about four years ago. I saw a photo series of caves shot by my friend Peter Gedei. I was blown away and surprised by why I don’t see more 3D photos around, so I decided to try it myself. The ultimate challenge was to learn shooting in 3D with Peter’s help. and then shooting a series of my own in 3D. “Mimicry” was shot in Slovenia and in the UK in about 10 different locations.

Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

Shooting in 3D often requires a complicated technical process, can you explain how it’s done?
3D is actually really complicated as you have mentioned. It’s really technical photography if you want to do it right. To explain the basic concept is really simple. You need two identical cameras that are 6.5 cm apart (the average distance between human eyes) that you have to shoot at the same time. But when this theory comes into practice, it requires a lot of calculating, adjustments, specialized 3D equipment, etc.

Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

What are the hardest parts about shooting in the field?
Heavy and clumsy equipment that you have to make yourself or buy, finding the best locations to give you the best 3D effects, post-production, and retouching—since anything you do it has to be done identically on both of the images.

What equipment do you use?
I use whatever I need depending on the project… normally two Nikons for 3D. Since both cameras must be completely synchronized to shoot at the very same time, a good triggering system is crucial. Another important thing is having a 3D camera rig/stand that holds two cameras together that isn’t too heavy, and makes focusing both cameras as fast as possible.

Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

What do you have to consider when shooting in 3D compared to 2D?
While shooting 2D (fashion, portrait) you are normally shooting at the biggest aperture to achieve a small depth of field. In 3D, it’s completely opposite. You have to be aware of every single object in your shot. Some of them are helping you to make better 3D effects, while other objects are problematic if they are too close or too far away from the main object/model. They can make you feel dizzy while watching.

Photo in Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

Feeling dizzy is kind of a big issue for people viewing 3D images/movies, how do you prevent that during the shoot?
You solve this by being careful how you shoot things. The “stereo space,” as it is called, should not be to large. Which means you should not shoot a landscape in a way where there is grass in focus just couple of centimeters away, then a tree 14 meters away, a house 50 meters away, and mountains 1000 meters away. That’s too much information, too much depth, and too much for the brain to process. It becomes unbearable to watch. This is one of the common mistakes while shooting.

Photo in Beijing Hutong Exhibition, 2012

What are you currently working on?
Currently I am flying to Slovenia to attend two 3D exhibitions I am having there. One of them is especially interesting—a limited-edition calendar for a Slovenian national air company. Another project that I am really looking forward to is a hand-painted black-and-white photo project that I have just started working on with a friend in Beijing who has an amazing collection of old Chinese hand-painted photos. It will be a long and hard, but super cool project.

All image courtesy of Matjaz Tancic.

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