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French 3D expert Alain Derobe dies

Was stereographer on Oscar-nommed docu 'Pina'

French stereography supervisor and director of photography Alain Derobe died Sunday, March 11. He was 76.

A 3D expert, Derobe had just finished supervising the live 3D shooting of feature film “Asterix and Obelix: On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” directed by Laurent Tirard. Before that he was as stereographer on Wim Wenders’ Oscar-nommed documentary “Pina,” overseeing 3D shooting and grading for the pic, which received the Special Jury Prize from the International 3D Society of Los Angeles.

Derobe was a feature film and commercial director of photography from 1966-90. He began specializing in 3D in 1992 and was also a specialist in aerial cinematography.

Derobe was also a longtime technical consultant in large formats for the Futuroscope Theme Parc, and he participated in the manufacturing of various multi-camera systems, including Circorama 360°.

He was the inventor of a 3D technique and philosophy called the Natural Depth Method, which excludes all types of automatic and semi-automatic adjustments. “The key to quality 3D depends above all on the will to use a new form of language as well as a coherent approach to this newly conquered depth; one must not be subjected to 3D but build with it,” Derobe once said.

After studying chemistry and later architecture, his passion for visual phenomenon led him to the Ecole Louis Lumière and IDHEC (now La Femis) cinema schools, to which he returned later as a professor.

He was a co-founding member of AFC (French Assn. of Cinematographers), a member of the CST (French Image and Sound Technical Committee) and the co-founder and first president of the UP3D (Union of 3D Professionals).

Survivors include his daughter Josephine, also a stereographer.

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