Post Magazine

May 2013

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 18 of 51

tried to shoot some aerial plates of San Francisco and LA but found that post-9/11 air space restrictions made it "difficult to capture any footage that was useful. We couldn't feel as if we were in amongst the buildings." Although some reference photographs were used, "ultimately we had to create those photoreal cities — a testament to the skill of our artists." 3D projection mapping sometimes served as a starting point for the cityscapes, but extensive camera moves "made it impossible not to build a bit more dimensionally," Guyett explains. Different lighting set-ups were required for almost every shot to match the light of foreground elements. Guyett went on location at an old Budweiser factory in LA to borrow the mechanical look of pipes and other infrastructure for some engineering aspects of the Enterprise. The National Ignition Facility at Livermore provided more intricate high-end technology backdrops. "We augmented these locations digitally, but they provided a tremendous amount of visible technology and production value," he points out. He also shot some downtown LA streets as a basis for shots augmented in CG. "J.J. believes in photographing what you can, then it's up to us to futurize the footage without losing the human aspects of it." The exciting sequence that takes place in a red jungle posed a number of challenges. Initial discussions about shooting in a real jungle then digitally manipulating the footage segued to building a small practical jungle, extending it digitally and adding a volcano and lava."The lava was one of the most complex simulations I've ever seen done at ILM," says Guyett. "Dan Pearson, Almost half the film was shot with IMAX cameras. Conversion to 3D was via Stereo D. simulation and FX supervisor at ILM, created some amazing processes to control the flow of the lava and how it reacts to the environment. Digital environment supervisor Barry Williams took a tiny set and built a digital extension of it for huge shots of the tribesmen chasing our heroes through the jungle. The scene ends with the Enterprise coming out of the water in a massive CG water simulation — it took weeks to run all the elements in that shot. "What I love about Star Trek is that besides the cool space shots, you also get to create amazing planets that behave in seemingly unnatural ways. It's a lot of fun!" The on-set VFX team deployed a computer-controlled NavCam wire rig, loaded with lighting equipment, to mimic the motion of a small hovering ship attacking a building, so that the spotlights from the ship itself would match up when the CG ship was added in post. "This was a great collaboration between the various departments involved: electric, grip, and, of course, the VFX team. The final result is well worth the effort and you never doubt that the lighting is coming from our CG ship," says Guyett. ILM occasionally augmented the prosthetic make-up on creatures and aliens, and did a considerable amount of digital double work when even stunt performers couldn't safely execute certain moves. Animation supervisor Paul Kavanagh sometimes stepped in and performed the roles of key characters. Although most of the animation was done with Autodesk's Maya, the ILM R&D team heavily supplemented the software toolset with custom add-ons, proprietary shaders and texture mapping systems. ILM's Plume system generated smoke, atmospheric effects and realistic pyro. The Foundry's Katana was the lighting tool. Looking back at the enviable "predicament" ILM faced with expanded technical capabilities and boundless imagination, Guyett says the experience of Star Trek Into Darkness was "an interesting dynamic: art meets science." Everyone involved "was driven by the desire to make spectacular images" and capitalize on "new fire power to do it." Guyett says the lava in the red jungle sequence was one of the most complex simulations he had ever seen done at ILM. Post0513_016-17-vfxRAV4FINALREAD.indd 17 Post • May 2013 17 5/3/13 2:10 PM

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - May 2013