Post Magazine

July 2018

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Page 25 of 43 24 POST JULY 2018 SUMMER MOVIES he latest title in the Marvel Studios Universe, Ant-Man and the Wasp takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War. It finds Scott Lang under house arrest in San Francisco trying to balance fatherhood with su- perherohood when a mission teams him with Hope van Dyne as the new Wasp. As one might expect, opportunities for stand- out visual effects abound. The action-packed film, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, introduces a fully formed Wasp character and the new villain Ghost and is filled with lightning-fast changes of scale as Ant-Man, the Wasp, props and locations shrink and grow in the blink of an eye. Ant-Man and the Wasp posed big creative chal- lenges for the film's four main VFX vendors (Double Negative [DNEG], Scanline VFX, Method Studios and Luma Pictures) as well as the additional dozen or so studios that also came onboard as the film's VFX needs evolved and grew. "There were some new characters, new cos- tume art, more playing with scale. We introduced the Wasp to the world — the way she looks, flies and fights — and Ghost who is contaminated by quantum energy and unstable in our world so she phases in and out. And we go deeper into the Quantum Realm than ever before," says the film's VFX supervisor Stephane Ceretti. "It's two hours of VFX everywhere!" EARLY STAGES The Third Floor was called on for previs to help visualize the dynamic fight and chase sequences and the rapid changes of scale. "Some things you can only figure out in previs as you play them out," notes Ceretti. "There was a feedback loop from the script to the visuals; we tried to never stop having new ideas." A great deal of attention was paid to the level of detail and shading in digital Ant-Man, especially in his Giant-Man incarnation where he's some- times seen in extreme close up. Lots of simulations were required for the underwater sequence in San Francisco Bay and for the Quantum Realm, a multi-layered mix of dynamic environments. "I don't let technology drive me. Concepts drive me — what looks cool — then we find the tools we need to do the job," Ceretti reports. "Some were already available, some were tweaked and molded to tailor them to our needs and some were built as we went along." Since Ant-Man and the Wasp was released in IMAX and 3D, images were protected for 1.77 full frame IMAX and "every detail was scrutinized for the bigger screen," he says. "Most vendors are used to delivering 3D renders. It was so exciting to see the Quantum Realm in 3D, the big landscapes, all the floating particles in the Quantum Realm auroras. It's so much more immersive in 3D." Ceretti gives kudos to Marvel Studios for its production management skills, which enabled shots "to flow into the editorial department and to the vendors in the fastest and most efficient way pos- sible." Marvel Studios also "worked in tandem with vendors to deliver all the VFX and layers to 3D and get everything to Technicolor for the DI. "The exchange of information is really slick now," he points out. "Everybody knows there is no time to waste. There has to be an almost military-style regimentation to how we do things." Regimentation sounds like it might run counter to the creative process, but Ceretti disagrees. "To be very creative you have to very organized on the technical side. If there's a mess in the everyday pipeline, you have a problem. You'll spend more time figuring out how to make the pipeline work than working on shots. The framework has to be su- per-organized for films that are extremely complex and constantly changing so that creativity can flow." DOUBLE NEGATIVE DNEG's Vancouver studio created VFX for some 500 shots in Ant-Man and the Wasp. "This office opened three years ago, and the chance to take on such an important film from the Marvel Universe was a privilege," says Alessandro Ongaro, VFX su- pervisor at DNEG ( "DNEG London has worked on previous Marvel films, and I really enjoyed the first 'Ant-Man' picture. So to be able to work on the sequel was great!" DNEG's biggest sequences come in the film's third act. The car chase on the streets of San Francisco not only comprises breathtaking car stunts but also features numerous changes of scale as the hero vehicle shrinks to Match Box size to slide beneath the undercarriage of the villains' vehicle and as a giant Hello Kitty Pez dispenser (the real version of which sits on Ongaro's desk) topples a motorcyclist. In the sequence Scott, Hope and Luis are in a speeding minivan chased by bad guy Sonny Burch and the evil Ghost who are trying to capture Hank's lab, which has shrunk to hold-it-in-your-hands size. Practical footage of the car chase was shot in Atlanta whose flat downtown streets don't resemble the hills of San Francisco. So additional live-action plates of the city on the bay were shot as back- grounds, including the famously twisting Lombard Street, which sells the sense of being there. "A special 17-camera rig mounted on a car captured plates in San Francisco to stitch together for traditional car comps," says Ongaro. "We also used lidar scanning and a lot of HDRI to capture San Francisco locations. We mapped the whole city, basically." Environment supervisor Pedro Santos was responsible for more than 130 unique locations ranging from 2D matte paintings of the ends of streets to 2.5D environments in the middle ground and some full 3D builds in the foreground. DNEG rebuilt the hero minivan along with a Yukon SUV, white Escalade with gold trim, a Dodge Charger, motorcycles and generic cars. "Some stunts started on location and finished with CG or vice versa," Ongaro explains. "A lot of detail went into the cars, even the goons' car's undercarriage when the minivan shrinks and scoots beneath it." DNEG developed the Ghost character and her phasing treatment, which features in the car chase. Ghost is traditionally portrayed as male in the com- ics but appears as a female in the film. "The idea is that Ghost has the ability to pass BIG VFX FOR ANT-MAN AND THE WASP STUDIOS DELIVER FOR NEWEST MARVEL RELEASE BY CHRISTINE BUNISH T

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