PassmoreLab Creates 3D Documentary on Burning Man Festival

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PassmoreLab takes on the challenge of an extreme desert location to shoot 3D documentary at counterculture art's Ground Zero - the Burning Man Festival.

One-hundred-fifteen degrees Fahrenheit at midday. Drinking water the temperature of a warm bath. Alkaline dust that could choke a camel - or kill a video camera worth many thousands of dollars. Fine grit in every crack and crease of your body. No proper sleep for days. Strange people with bizarre customs, odd and sometimes painful body modifications, and arcane rituals. A tribe of 47,000-plus - from mystics to mothers to mechanical engineers - on an insanely devout, often psychically augmented quest for art's alternate reality. It's all in a day's work documenting the Mad Max-ian drama and UV damage inflicted during the annual Burning Man Festival.

It's just such a challenge in which digital 3D production company PassmoreLab thrives, and this month they will be venturing into the torturous conditions of the Nevada desert once again, with the purpose of capturing Burning Man's quirky and colorful pageant. Over the last three years, the San Diego-based 3D technology and imaging company has been the very first to produce 3D video content of the worldwide phenomenon that is Burning Man, held in the scorching Black Rock Desert during August-September. The shooting conditions are continually brutal, but with the lessons learned on each expedition, the production team is returning with increased creative anticipation and the highest level of preparedness for the rigors of working in triple-digit temperatures, constant dust and grit, and the peculiar distractions of naked, body-painted attendees juggling fire within harm's way!

According to PassmoreLab's president and founder, Greg Passmore, the only way to prepare for a campaign such as this, is to read from the modern warfare handbook. "To get the footage we have from Burning Man," says Passmore, "our crews have used techniques that we developed for shooting in war zones in the Middle East. We use these same techniques to protect fragile and expensive equipment specially designed to shoot immersive 3D. It's our purpose to once again capture this unique celebration of alternative, anti-authoritarian art. And although Burning Man is well known for its display of alternative lifestyles," he continues, "the PassmoreLab team has focused on the incredible art produced by the participants - massive organic structures built without plans, giant fire-breathing dragons, post-apocalyptic cities, mutant vehicles, and some of the most outrageous costumes ever seen - all filmed to create a viewing experience that is truly immersive in quality."

Started in 1986 and held on a beach north of San Francisco, the festival relocated to the remote Black Rock Desert in 1990, where it has been staged every year since. For one week in the height of summer, participants from around the world converge and create anew the bustling experimental community known as Black Rock City. Together, this culturally diverse yet artistically unified population joins in sweat-streaked harmony to brave the furnace-like heat, blistering sun, wind, dust, and other day-to-day challenges of life, in Passmore's words, "basically, in the middle of nowhere." The central feature of the festival is The Burning Man, a towering sculpture and talisman that presides over the event and is set afire during the closing ceremony. Last year's structure was 40 feet high and stood on a 32-foot- tall Green Man Pavilion in the shape of mountains and rolling hills, containing 30,000 square feet of exhibition space and combining art, earth sciences, and technological innovation.

The completed documentary will premiere in Black Rock City in 2009, where a massive 3D theater is planned and will allow viewers to relive the past years of art, celebration, and creative spontaneity that is the core ethos of Burning Man. It will feature an original score composed by Michael Page, PassmoreLab's audio designer/producer and former sideman with Iggy Pop and others.

"We applaud and support the Burning Man event," says Passmore, "and we're honored to have the blessing of its organizers, and to participate in documenting this amazing cultural experiment and celebration of radical self-expression."

About PassmoreLab
PassmoreLab was established in San Diego, California, in 2003. The company's staff is comprised of programmers and scientific engineers, and also includes graphic artists, videographers, stereographers, a musical composer, and even a biologist. PassmoreLab facilities include a full studio, video/film post-production, an optical development lab, and a software development environment. PassmoreLab is a firm with staff located around the world, with offices in San Diego, South Africa, Russia, and the Philippines.


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