Sometimes we feel that the ancient culture is missed or forgotten somewhere but just then directors like Werner Herzog strive to bring back the forgotten through movies like “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”. This movie was shot in the Chauvet Cave which has perfectly preserved paintings of lions, mammoth, cattle, horses, rhinos and even women with bison head drawn around 32,000 years ago. Director Herzog shot this movie in 3D. It was nothing less than a war in front of Herzog to get approval for the shoot of this movie inside the Chauvet Cave from the French Government. But where there is will there is way, Herzog was determined and as he wanted he got through getting approval for the movie.
This cave is very carefully preserved by the French Ministry of Culture, and no general public is allowed to enter the cave. In such circumstances Herzog shot this movie under heavy restriction. He was allowed to take only three people along with him inside the cave. So all the production tasks they had to divide and do by themselves. Since it was ancient treasure, they were restricted to even use normal lights; they had to carry battery powered light which emits very less heat. Since it was a 3D movie, they carried custom made 3D cameras which they assembled inside the cave. Only 6 days were allowed for shooting. In these 6 days also, per day they were allowed only for 4 hours. The team had to shoot without touching any wall or floor; they were confined to work in a 2 foot wide walkway.
The production had several technical hitches. Working with custom made 3D camera in a documentary setting was very hard. Generally during production phase any 3D movie is shot on stage with heavy use of digital manipulation. Generally the foreground and background are shot individually and with the use of computer they used to be composed into a finished shot. But in this case it was not possible.
This movie was a very remarkable documentary in the director’s files. The director says in one of his interviews that he felt it as the beginning of the modern human soul. Movie critics say that it is indeed a massive movie. But when we see the amount of hard work Herzog has put in, I am sure if he revisits the whole concept of 3D and its evolution with time, now shooting the movie would become much easier than before. Techniques of 3D filmmaking in a natural circumstance with a single camera and no composition were embryonic during those days. But today, this is possible and is not very tough to apply. Hopefully when he comes up with his next 3D movie he would be much happier than before.
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