Hearst Castle getting its first 3-D close-up

It’s a first: A production company filmed Hearst Castle in 3-D for an hour-long program expected to appear on the WealthTV Channel later this year, according to producer Laura Kunsman.

She and three stereographers — 3-D videographers — were at the palatial retreat of media magnate William Randolph Hearst from Tuesday through Thursday last week.

“Hearst Castle is one of the most magnificent estates ever built in the U.S.,” Kunsman said. “The estate is rich with history and stunningly beautiful. The artwork alone, which is of museum quality, is worthy of a 3-D shoot. We’ll cover much more.”

Last Tuesday, two different camera rigs, each with a pair of lenses, captured shots in “active 3-D” of the iconic Neptune Pool and the statuary, artifacts and esplanade that surround it.

“This is brand-new, cutting-edge technology,” stereographer Chris Schickedanz said. “Three-D is all about depth.”

Viewing the show in all its glory will require a 3-D TV set, special black-lens glasses and, locally, a hookup to Charter Cable’s Digital Plus package with access to WealthTV on Channel 137.

WealthTV is not carried on Dish TV or DirecTV satellites.

Kunsman said people can watch the show on a regular HDTV set without the 3-D capability, “but it just won’t be the same.” She said about 1.8 million 3-D sets have been sold so far.

It’s the second complete show WealthTV has commissioned in 3-D, Kunsman said. The first was on the Mercedes-Benz Classic Center in Irvine.

This is the second show Kunsman has produced at the Castle. In 2007, she produced for WealthTV the first hour-long, high-definition show ever filmed at the state park.

“It remains one of our most popular shows ever,” she said.