French 3D expert Alain Derobe, the stereographer on Wim Winders’ Pina and Laurent Tirard’s upcoming Astérix and Obélix: On Her Majesty’s Service, has died aged 76.
A former DOP who began specialising in 3D in the 1990s, Derobe shot to international prominence last year for his work on Wenders’ groundbreaking 3D documentary Pina (pictured), about the late German choreographer Pina Bausch.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles-based International 3D Society awarded the documentary a special jury prize for excellence.
Following studies in chemistry and architecture, Derobe eventually studied cinematography at the Ecole Louis Lumière and the French state film school La Fémis.
From the early 1960s to late 1980s he worked as a director of photography on commercials as well as some 20 features including Jospeh Strick’s 1970 Tropic Of Cancer, Claude Berri’s Le Pistonné and Denys Granier-Deferre’s 1984 Reveillon Chez Bob.
In the early 1990s he worked as a technical consultant for the French Futuroscope multimedia theme park, participating in the development of camera systems specialising in 360 degree shooting as well as getting his first taste of 3D filmmaking.
Throughout his 3D career Derobe was constantly developing equipment aimed at facilitating stereoscopic shooting. Most recently he collaborated in the development of the Transvideo CinemonitorHD, enabling the stereographer and director to monitor a 3D image as it is being shot and make lens depth adjustments relatively quickly.
He is credited with being the inventor of a 3D technique and philosophy called the Natural Depth Method.
“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 explained.
To this end he believed passionately that the stereographer should be involved in a 3D film as early as script stage.
Talking to Screen International last year about his work on On Her Majesty’s Service, Derobe explained: “3D is not the icing you pour over a sponge cake once it’s been baked. It should be an integral part of the filmmaking process, like the crème pâtissière sandwiched between layers of pastry in a millefeuille.”
Derobe was also a co-founding member of the French Association Of Cinematographers and the French Image and Sound Technical Committee and he was co-founder and first president of the Union Of The 3D Professionals.