In Memory

Noel Archambault

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02/03/09 01:23 PM #1    

Dan Sharp

Very talented classmate and friend

02/09/09 04:47 PM #2    

Greg Doheny

In what now seems like another life, I spent three years in the SFU Film program between 1981 and 1984. When I entered second year I was both pleased and surprised to find that Noel Archambault was a fourth year student in the same program. I was even more surprised when I found out what he was trying to do for his fourth year project. He was trying to make a 3D movie! None of the instructors had any experience with 3D movies, and when he suggested it as a project they initially tried to talk him out of it. He persevered, and made a 3D documentary about Alex Norris’s sculptor father, entitled “George Norris In Depth.” It was the first and only 3D movie ever to come out of the SFU Film program.

Amazingly, since the SFU Film faculty had no knowledge of 3D movie making, Noel had to be completely self taught. In addition to having to endure endless jokes about “Dr. Tongue’s House of Stewardesses,” he also had to learn all his own techniques from books, and jury-rig all his own equipment from old carpentry machines. The department had two 16mm Éclair movie cameras which Noel bolted to the steel protractor from an old lathe in order to get the right convergence angles. How he managed to attach that monster to the tripod I still don’t know. He had to do the same thing with a pair of projectors, to reverse the process when it was projected on the screen. He also had to develop techniques for starting both projectors at the same time, so the images would match. Finally, he had to choose between the standard, horror movie red/blue method and the polarized filter method for making the two images. He chose the better of the two, and used polarized lenses to achieve the 3D effect. It took a lot of experimentation, but he finally got it to work, and his movie was shown in Robson Square in 1984. The audience loved it!

His experiment with 3D movie production might have ended there, had it not been for Expo 86. IMAX came to town to shoot a 3D movie in Vancouver, and hired the only person in Canada with 3D experience to be the assistant cameraman. He never looked back. I lost track of what he was doing until about twelve years later, when one of the other students from the old film program informed me that Noel had been killed while filming an IMAX movie in the Galapagos islands. As tragic as his untimely death was, I remember thinking that he was also lucky, in a way, to have achieved a major goal of his life, and to have achieved it in such a spectacular way.

02/12/09 09:44 AM #3    

Joseph Ho

I think I speak for friends of Noel when I say that Noel will be at the reunion in spirit through the memories of his friends. I am glad to call Noel my friend as we enjoyed playing music together in his basement and helping him on his films projects which he had so much passion for. Thank you for the time you spent with us Noel. You are missed to this day.

03/06/09 04:03 PM #4    

Mairi Harrower (Welman)

I was working in the industry for a CG animation company that was partnering with IMAX on some development work and remember hearing internally from the IMAX folks in New York about Noel's untimely death. Everyone was shattered.
I suppose the only consolation is that he was doing what he loved at the time.

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