Verizon : Droid Charge

A great opportunity to put my latest research in true motion, not only little tests but truly a new approach on our lighting pipeline that did permit us to produce such huge job in record time without suffering too much.

During the process the director and agency really pushed to get a feeling if scale and production value that kept referring our work to early matte paintings we did, this was great in the sense that we had an exceptional rendition of what was really meant to be done rather than blurry descriptions so we did push to get it done and the team managed to produce this.

We insisted to have the editor on set to help us take fast decisions and explore ideas while we were shooting so we could cover eventual changes, these didn’t happen after all as the director was really on top of it but nevertheless this approach meant we went back to London with almost all the homework done and an edit we could work towards. And yes, it did change a few times but these were not radical changes so it was good.

In this particular project the huge amount of design involved was also an opportunity to show we can handle these tasks and we did get involved heavily on it while the production designer overlooked our work with the director while they were preparing the set design we would be shooting later on.

Set extensions were quite a big part of the initial brief and although these later weren’t so demanding in the context of the rest of the job it did really added some extra work.

And of course the graphics and set dressing was also taken care of.

A particular piece of work was the ever evolving fuel device and its branding, finally we all settled for a more boxy-like style.

This was one of the biggest scenes with huge robots and the spheres so we ended up with very long render times a pretty complicated setup time although thanks to our stage based pipeline animating and previewing the low resolution versions did allow us to animate and lock the shots pretty easily.

Huge amount of effects were needed to get the look of the sphere’s interior when they were ignited right, from volumetrics to objects spinning… pretty nice.

The whole tunnel interior section was handled in a separate way due to production logistics and the required scale of the tunnel that was three kilometres long to accommodate the effect.

The tunnel was built out of two different pieces plus a T section and managing the rendering proved highly time consuming and we ended up splitting the journey on two to make the render go thru.

Interesting enough our basic blocking that was in development from the shoot onwards did prove pretty spot on and many shots didn’t change at all from the first blocking to the end of the job.

The collision chamber was also another section managed by separate as the requirements were very different, ultimately it was built out of small sections revolving around the Y axis.

And the explosion was handled by ICE using XSI and gave us tremendous power to get the required effect, didn’t take long to produce but the scale was something we struggle to sell so it was only at the end when we suggested to play with the audio as if it was a vacuum to really sell the scale of the chamber.

Director: Daniel Barber
Production: Knucklehead

Task: VFX Supervisor and Lead artist.

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