A Monumental Role
Computer Graphics World
19 Feb 2014
LONDON – Cinesite, a leading film visual effects house, completed VFX shots on the new Columbia Pictures/20th Century Fox film The Monuments Men.
LONDON – Cinesite, a leading film visual effects house, completed VFX shots on the new Columbia Pictures/20th Century Fox film The Monuments Men.
London-based visual effects company Cinesite helped bring RoboCop’s suit to life in the new film, which was released today.
Quebec premier Pauline Marois has announced that Cinesite, the London-based VFX and animations production company, is to open a Montreal subsidiary that will oversee the company’s North American operations.
The U.K. visual effects house will do work on Guy Ritchie’s “The Man From U.N.C.L.E.” for Warner Bros. in the new Canadian facility.
London-based company Cinesite VFX will join fellow VFX firms looking to benefit from tax incentives as it sets its sights on Canada.
When Cinesite wanted to spruik their animation capabilities and add to the studio’s already impressive showreel, they decided to push forward on a short film. That project became Beans, a faux commercial directed by animator Alvise Avati and produced by animation director Eamonn Butler. We talk to both artists about the evolution of this moon-monster caper with a musical end.
Beans is the first animated short film to be made at Cinesite. Animator Alvise Avati and animation director Eamonn Butler reveal all in an exclusive ‘making of’ feature
Cinesite has been interested in producing some of their own animated content for some time, and have now released their first animated short – a sci-fi themed spot set on the moon with a frightening alien creature, photoreal visual effects – and an unexpectedly humorous ending.
Cinesite shows of its chops
Cinesite releases its very first in-house animated short with ‘Beans’, which was written and directed by animator Alvise Avati and produced by animation director Eamonn Butler
Animation director Eamonn Butler tells us how (and why) Cinesite created Beans
Two years ago, Matt Johnson had told us about the work of Cinesite on X-MEN FIRST CLASS. To talk about WORLD WAR Z, he is accompanied with Anthony Zwartouw (CG Supervisor) and Thomas Dyg (Environment Supervisor).
“Starting something new, you’re taking a huge risk,” adds director Marc Forster. “When you have a built-in audience, you can take bigger risks knowing it worked before. That’s not a guarantee it’s going to work again, but doing something more original I find more exciting and interesting.”
The zombies take the US: Cinesite
Cinesite VFX Supervisor Matt Johnson tells a tale of two “digital” cities in recreating key environments for Marc Forster’s new zombie film.
World War Z is a different kind of zombie movie. While the classics of the genre from Night of the Living Dead to 28 Days Later are micro-to-low budget films with intense violence and gore (at least for the time), World War Z is a summer blockbuster with a 15/PG-13 rating that’s pitched at a wider audience – and on an epic scale.
The final battle in ‘Iron Man 3’ brings together the heroes and villains at night at a floodlit, abandoned marina. This was the primary sequence Marvel approached Cinesite to work on. “We came onto the production just nine weeks before delivery, which is an unusual situation for our team,” said VFX supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp.
Simon Stanley-Clamp explained the Cinesite’s work on PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: ON STRANGER TIDES on his last visit to The Art of VFX. He then worked on JOHN CARTER and today he explains his work on IRON MAN 3.
“The way that visual effects are these days is that we definitely are the can-do department,” – Chris Townsend. Comments the overall VFX supe on Marvel’s Iron Man 3, reflecting on the crucial role his department played in bringing the film to the big screen. Along with visual effects producer Mark Soper, Townsend co-ordinated 17 studios across the globe and more than 2,000 shots for the Shane Black-directed picture.
This was the first foray into the Marvel universe for Cinesite. I spoke to the studio’s VFX Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp in London. Cinesite came in nine weeks before completion and finished off 104 shots, with 99 shots making the final movie cut, and two which were awarded on the final day of delivery. “This was a rolling kind of show with changes and some 911 VFX shout outs. With 17 facilities, Chris Townsend’s job as overall VFX Supervisor shielded a lot of us from the changes but we had constant contact with the busy man himself, almost every day,” says Stanley-Clamp. “There were two 2K dailies run every single day of production.”
After the main shoot for ‘Skyfall’ got started in November 2011, Cinesite’s VFX Supervisor Jon Neill set to work with his team on their sequences deep in the London Underground in January 2012. They worked on a series of scenes following Bond as he pursues the villain Silva into the underground system, taking on a harrowing chase through the tunnels and culminating in a spectacular crash. The team’s task was to combine live action plates shot in a closed off, disused section of railway with action shots staged at the 007 stage at Pinewood Studios, and enhance the composites with 2D and 3D elements and extensions, ultimately constructing the full sets as seen in the film.
What is your background? I have a background in traditional art and hold a degree in drawing and painting and a post-graduate diploma in electronic imaging. Before I became a VFX supervisor, I held CG supervisor and lighting roles. My credits at Cinesite include overseeing a large portion of shots on Disney’s JOHN CARTER, WOLVERINE, HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and 3 of the HARRY POTTER films.
Cinesite’s Jon Neill discusses creating the first CG character for the Bond franchise along with other VFX mayhem.
In case you’ve been under a rock, Skyfall is the latest James Bond franchise adventure movie, the 23rd excursion for the Ian Fleming stories. A long list of VFX studios were given rope on the production, including Cinesite, MPC, DNeg and Framestore. Thankfully, the Bond series are not being created in stereo, I’m assuming that it would distract from the more stayed, old-world British aura around the stories. This is however, the very first time a fully CG creature has been employed in the Bond film franchise. Being a replacement for a real creature, the komodo dragon had to be convincingly real at full screen. There were three sequences in particular taken on by Cinesite where the facility used its digital environment expertise to enhance physical stunts and effects for the Skyfall movie.
When Komodos attack Back from the dead and tracking his Turkey attacker, Bond heads to Shanghai, and then onto a casino in Macau. Upon leaving the casino, Bond is stopped by security and ends up in a fight amongst a pit of Komodo dragons, who eventually take down one of his assailants. In a homage to the crocodile scene in Live and Let Die, Bond escapes by leaping off one of the Komodo’s backs to safety.
Just as James Bond traditionally likes his martinis shaken, not stirred, the James Bond franchise has preferred its effects shots to be practical, not CG-driven. “Bond always likes to do things in camera,” says Jon Neill, VFX supervisor for Cinesite, which worked on 87 shots in four sequences in the latest Bond adventure, Skyfall — a CG Komodo dragon sequence and three sequences that are part of a chase set in the London Underground.
The cable networks group acquires extreme fishing reality show “Rod and Rucksack” for its channels in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Visual effects house Cinesite has made its first move into production, selling a travel and adventure series to Discovery Networks.
The HPA has announced the nominees for the 2012 HPA Awards. The Awards honor excellence in post production and bring recognition to the achievements of individuals and companies who are engaged in significant and revolutionary work in post production.
There has been a lot of talk in recent weeks about the state of the visual effects; working conditions, wages, unions, subsidies and the future of the industry in general. But amongst those reports, pioneering company Cinesite has managed to push through a major upheaval – its sale by long-time owner Kodak – to essentially begin a new life.
Cinesite awarded Firtina Ozbalikci, a second year computer science student, its first Technical Effects placement under the facility’s 2012 Inspire Internship program.
What might a dedicated conversion tool look like? One studio with an informed opinion is London’s Cinesite, which recently built a stereo-conversion pipeline from scratch to post-convert 87 minutes of footage for the movie John Carter.
The Art of VFX settles down with Sue Rowe, VFX Supervisor at Cinesite, to discuss work on John Carter.
They aren’t little green men, but the large, strange-looking Martians in the science-fiction romance film John Carter are definitely green. And alien. The Martian barbarians, called Tharks, have four arms, no nose, and head flaps, and they’re violent. And, they aren’t the only inhabitants of the red planet.
Mike Seymour, Jeff Heusser and Matt Wallin take a journey to Mars to review the visual effects of John Carter.
Disney’s ‘John Carter 3D’ was released last Friday, a film that has been in the planning stage for 81 years. We spoke to the film’s producers who exclusively reveal post production secrets.
Go behind the scenes of Andrew Stanton’s first live-action feature and long-awaited Edgar Rice Burroughs adaptation.
What does it take to create a planet? A lot more effort than can fit in a seven day week. Ask the hundreds of artists at Cinesite who spent two years creating Martian environments, cities and airships for Disney’s film John Carter, or the 120 animators plus several hundred in the supporting cast at Double Negative who created the big green aliens who populated the planet.
An epic journey to the Red Planet, 100 years in the making.
John Carter is the kind of movie no studio bigwig in their right mind ought to have greenlit – but where else will you see such strange monsters?
“Star Wars,” “Superman,” “Avatar” – for decades, Hollywood has found box-office treasure in fantasy science fiction epics about heroes adventuring in strange and mysterious lands. “John Carter,” director Andrew Stanton’s upcoming Martian war tale, is based on the 100-year-old Edgar Rice Burroughs yarn that helped inspire many of those stories.
Andrew Stanton talks about the process of making the forthcoming John Carter, and just why Pixar movies are so brilliant, in a fascinating Q&A… (abbreviated)
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its Oscar nominations this morning, there were some very familiar names among the honorees.
Through to this final film, the world of Harry Potter has been a magic place for VFX artists to test their talents and achieve some of their best work. Cinesite discusses wand duels and infinite staircases for ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2’
Cinesite UK is one of the largest full-service visual effects and post-production facilities in the world. A wholly-owned subsidiary of Kodak, Cinesite has recently completed more than 115 visual effects shots for X-Men: First Class, which unveils the beginning of the X-Men saga.
Cinesite worked on a range of shots including a retro version of the Cerebro Room, Azazel’s fight sequences, a military parade in Red Square, and Washington DC, devastated by nuclear war.
Adriene Hurst of Digital Media World interviews Simon Stanley-Clamp, VFX supervisor, and Michele Sciolette, head of VFX technology about Cinesite’s work on “On Stranger Tides”
The Art of VFX settles down with Simon Stanley-Clamp, VFX Supervisor at Cinesite, to discuss work on “On Stranger Tides”
Renee Dunlop of CGSociety profiles Cinesite upon the release of “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides”
CGsociety’s Paul Hellard gets a look in on Cinesite’s work for the Battle: Los Angeles. The film follows a marine platoon that’s battling against an alien invasion. Cinesite’s Ben Shepherd was that facility’s VFX Supervisor, responsible for a tally of 110 shots.
Sony/Columbia’s new Jonathan Liebesman directed disaster movie Battle: Los Angeles centres on a series of striking visual effects from Cinesite. The VFX giant created many of the film’s intricately detailed battle sequences as well as the Commander Alien character.
The Dawn Treader arrives at its first port of call, Lone Island, which consisted of Australian plate photography enhanced with digital matte paintings and environment work supplied by Cinesite and the production’s in-house visual effects team. The crew disembarks at the quayside, constructed as a partial set in Brisbane, which Cinesite matte painter Sevendalino Khay enhanced with CG set extensions.
One of the magical elements of the latest Narnia film, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, is a menacing green mist that preys on characters' vulnerabilities and takes advantage of their weaknesses and desires. As one character puts it, “It seeks to corrupt all goodness – to steal the light from this world.” It fell to Cinesite to figure out how to do justice to that idea, combining realistic simulations of the mist with subtle performance-animation aspects that would bring the smoky tentacles to life.
Lord Voldemort’s snake-like nose was one of Cinesite’s key effects on Deathly Hallows: Part 1, replacing the real nose of actor Ralph Fiennes in 46 shots. On set Fiennes played the scene with 16 tracking markers applied via a mould. “It was a latex mask that had holes cut in it and they would put the markers though that so that they were always in the same place,” explained Cinesite 2D supervisor Andy Robinson. “That enabled the trackers to line up the head a lot better.” HDRs of the scene were also captured and a texture shoot of Fiennes' head gave Cinesite polarised and unpolarised images to derive both bump and spec passes for the face.
Cinesite completed 93 shots for Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, including Lord Voldemort’s snake-like nose, the ghost of Dumbledore and a Patronus doe. The most challenging involved replacing Ralph Fiennes' nose area with Lord Voldemort’s CG snake-like snout, which extended from between the eyebrows to the upper lip using Maya, RenderMan, PFTrack, 3de and Nuke.
Following its CG work on Beverly Hills Chihuahua and Underdog, Cinesite is back making dogs talk for Marmaduke, completing 650 VFX shots giving 10 live-action dogs the power of speech.
Fox’s big-screen adaptation of Marmaduke (based on the long-running comic strip) goes further in its hybrid animation approach than Beverly Hills Chihuahua or other canine movies.
Cinesite served as one of the lead visual effects houses on the 20th Century Fox feature Marmaduke, which opened in theatres last month. The live-action film is based on the comic strip and centres around a Great Dane, voiced by Owen Wilson, and the animal friends he makes when his family moves to a new city.
Sue Rowe, Visual Effects Supervisor for Cinesite, was on set throughout the shoot in Morocco and later at Pinewood Studios, collecting data for her team and preparing how they would handle the tasks they had been awarded, comprising 280 shots. The shoot ran from the end of August and into December. “Although the art department had provided quite adequate sets in many cases Director Mike Newell and Producer Jerry Bruckheimer came back from reviewing the footage wanting the whole production to be more, bigger and better. Can we add a couple of hundred buildings? Have a grander palace? Can that camera’s helicopter move swing even wider?” said Sue.
As Dastan and Tamina journey through sixth-century Persia on their mission to save the Sands of Time, they travel through two cities, which house several action sequences.
Simon Stanley-Clamp on creating fearsome beasts for the re-make of Clash of The Titans.
Duncan Evans travels to darkest Soho to talk about Cinesite’s work on big-budget Hollywood film Clash of The Titans
What was the biggest creative challenge you faced on Clash of the Titans? And what noteworthy surprise or surprises arose (a lesson learned or an unexpected discovery) during the course of the project?