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November 2017

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DEPARTMENT 4 POST NOVEMBER 2017 LOS ANGELES — Marking 13 collabo- rations on Marvel feature films since 2010, Hollywood visualization house The Third Floor provided a mix of previs, postvis, techvis and virtual production across some 35 sequenc- es in Thor: Ragnarok. The Third Floor, which celebrated 13 years in operation this fall, also worked on both prior Thor movies. On Ragnarok, The Third Floor's Shannon Justison led previs work to help director Taika Waititi and visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison de- velop and plan large-scale scenes. "The previs needs varied by sequence," says Justison. "For the opening in Muspelheim, it was about defining overall action and design. One of the challenges was visual- izing how Thor would fight a fire god who was 18 feet tall. The scene also needed to be a swan-song for Mjolnir, introduce the character Surtur and set up the entire film." Surtur's fire demon look and per- sona evolved with the script and was explored extensively in the previs. Using layered textures in Autodesk Maya and glows in Adobe After Effects, previs artists effectively rep- resented the fire/flesh effects over multiple shots. During shooting, Waititi per- formed motion capture for Surtur, as well as the huge stone creature Korg, while a realtime comp of the character he was playing replaced him on the video feed. Because of the differences in proportions, this helped inform the camera composi- tion. Performances for Hulk by Mark Ruffalo were similarly retargeted through live motion-capture comps. The Third Floor's head of virtual pro- duction Casey Schatz worked with production and the teams at Profile Studios to develop and execute the virtual production/performance cap- ture workflow. "By using virtual production, we were able to take the guesswork out of how the plates would work after the characters were added to the shot. Any issues with the intersec- tion of the live-action talent and digital elements, camera framing or eyelines could be addressed imme- diately rather than in post," Schatz says. "In addition, using facial and body markers for character mocap, we also placed markers on the Alexa 65 camera when shooting in the mo- tion-capture volume. When outdoors or away from a mocap volume, we used Ncam to composite previous- ly-modeled and animated assets." The Bifrost Escape required camera/sequence design as well as technical planning. Previs focused on establishing the camera and action as informed by boards while max- imizing the freedom of the digital camera to further enforce the zero gravity environment. An in-depth techvis pass delivered detailed shooting plans for the rigs and light- ing setups needed to achieve the high-intensity Bifrost realm. The finale Bridge Fight called for comprehensive previs to develop proofs of concept and work out continuity and coherence across the complex battle. HAMMER TIME! THOR: RAGNAROK MARKS 13TH MARVEL FILM COLLABORATION FOR THE THIRD FLOOR Previs for Surtur was explored with Maya and After Effects.

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