Renowned 3D supervisor Alain Derobe dies

ARRI is sad to report that the internationally renowned 3D expert Alain Derobe passed away on Sunday 11 March 2012. He had just finished supervising the live 3D shooting of the feature film ASTÉRIX & OBÉLIX: ON HER MAJESTY'S SECRET SERVICE, directed by Laurent Tirard and shot with ARRI ALEXA cameras. Before that he had supervised the 3D shooting and grading of Wim Wenders' PINA, which was nominated this year for the Best Documentary Feature Oscar and received the Special Jury Prize from the International 3D Society of Los Angeles.

The key to quality 3D depends above all on the will to use a new form of language.

After his initial studies in chemistry and then architecture, Derobe's passion for visual phenomena led him to the Ecole Louis-Lumière and IDHEC (now La Fémis) cinema schools, where he returned later as a professor. A co-founding member of the AFC (French Association of Cinematographers) and member of the CST (French Image and Sound Technical Committee), he was also co-founder and first president of the UP3D (Union of 3D Professionals).


Derobe specialized in 3D images from 1992, after a career as a feature film and commercial cinematographer from 1966 to 1990. Following an airplane accident, he ironically specialized in aerial cinematography! He was also a long-time technical consultant in large formats for the Futuroscope theme park in France, and participated in the manufacturing of various multi-camera systems, among them the Circorama 360°.

The first 3D shoot with which he was entrusted sparked an all-consuming passion that would last for the rest of his life. He is the inventor of a 3D technique and philosophy called the 'Natural Depth Method', which he elaborated and enriched with every film he took on, working with a team that included his daughter Josephine, who has been following in her father's footsteps.

It was Derobe's belief that pre-production expertise - starting sometimes during script development - was essential. He once stated, "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."

ARRI joins the worldwide filmmaking community in lamenting the loss of this unique man, who was enlightened by a true vision of research and invention that aimed to serve creativity.