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Aurora Borealis 3D

Ikuo Nakamura, an award-winning Japanese filmmaker, is maybe the first artist to shoot the aurora borealis in stereoscopic 3D format. Ikuo Nakamura did it in the Northwest Territories.

Ikuo Nakamura captured the Northern Lights in 3D, creating a stereoscopic image of the phenomenon by placing 2 cameras 5 miles apart. The 11-minute short was projected along with "Cave of Forgotten Dreams" at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, USA) on May 3, 2015.

Aurora 3D 320px

Making Of Story

Shooting Aurora in 3D was really tough and a technical breakthrough was the must.  Mr. James Pugsley, Aurora expert at Astronomy North, says that many have tried to shoot the Aurora in 3D, but not many succeeded. 

10 KM Interaxial Distance

I had two cameras 5 - 10 kilometers apart requiring specific alignment and synchronization in a -30 to -40 °C environment.  Please picture a huge person with eyes separated by 10 km.  His two eyes are my two cameras.  His face can be 4 times taller than Mt. Everest (altitude 8,848 m).  He cannot breathe the air even when he sits. 


I set up one camera at the first location.  At the same time, I started the second camera and hopped in a truck to drive 5 - 10 km to the second location.  While I drive from the first location to the second, the second camera kept shooting with its lens cap on, as two cameras need to be turned on absolutely at the same time.  Upon arrival at the second location, I set up the second camera.

At the beginning, it took me more than 25 minutes to set up two cameras. Once I got used to the procedure, I got better and I was able to minimize the whole setup time to 15 minutes. . Despite all of that, I managed to achieve what I wanted. Time lapse photography by two still cameras was transformed into 3D film.

About Ikuo Nakamura

Ikuo Nakamura is a Japanese photographer and a hologram specialist. He is on Twitter and his web site is He has its page on Wikipedia too.

About BAM

BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) is a multi-arts center located in Brooklyn, New York.  For more than 150 years, BAM has been the home for adventurous artists, audiences, and ideas—engaging both global and local communities. With world-renowned programming in theater, dance, music, opera, film, and much more, BAM showcases the work of emerging artists and innovative modern masters.

Source: Mubi, Bam.