Brian May on Tchaikovsky, Avatar and the Devil

July, 2014

Dr Brian May talks about his new book ‘Diableries – Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell’

Most people will know Brian May as the lead guitarist from Queen, but he is also a decorated Astrophysicist, a committed animal rights activist and a lifelong follower in stereography and more specifically 3D photographs.

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While at the 2014 3D Creative Summit, Brian May delivered a presentation about ‘Les Diableries’ a collection of stereoscopic photos depicting life in Hell in images that are both humorous and disturbing. The photos were published in Paris during the 1860’s and with the help of Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming he has compiled a book of the photographs which have been restored to reflect their original glory.
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We asked Brain May why he thought the still stereoscopic image has the potential to be so much more profound than a moving one.

“Interesting question and I think there is no doubt that most of the stereoscopic artists of the Victorian age thought in those terms, they wanted their picture to be studied and they wanted your eyes to move all around it and find all the stories hidden within it which is very different from a 3D film like Avatar where you just get one glimpse, and it’s gone. I sometimes wonder about that.”
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“I interviewed James Cameron for the Sky 3D documentary we did on the history of stereo and he said that really there is one point in every frame that your eyes are meant to be focused on, which is a big statement really, your eyes are in a sense, not meant to be wandering around the whole huge image which is presented to you in the theatre, it’s supposed to be all subliminal and your eyes just follow the action and he places that in the centre of the stereoscopic space, that’s his philosophy.

But yes, I find that I’m looking at these stereoscopic images for hours and there is just this magic to the still stereoscopic photograph which is different from the still 2D photograph which you just see as a thing very often and I think it’s the fact that you can walk around inside the image and you really feel that with a good stereoscopic image that you could walk in there and look around behind things and touch things and I think that’s it’s magic.”
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The Les Diableries are being turned into a short film with the help of the independent production company Unanico. Brian talked enthusiastically about working on the soundtrack for the film:

“The music is very interesting, I went to Prague to record it and basically, you’re going to laugh, it’s a version of the [Tchaikovsky] 1812 overture, appropriately because the 1812 overture of course, includes La Marseillaise which was written as a tribute to the original Napoleon and of course this would have been out of favour at the time, so it would be a appropriate that the devil would be playing this music and there is a little bit of guitar snuck in there so it’s going to be a little bit different. I’ve always wanted my own version of 1812 so now I’ve got it.”
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The short film will see a theatrical release which will be attached to a stereoscopic feature film shown later this year, but it will also be released via multiple distribution channels including augmented reality.

Head over to the London Stereo Company website to Les Diableries lit up from the black in all their demonic splendour and to get the full picture; you can buy Brian May’s book here.

Brian May is the 23rd winner of our 366 awards.

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