Post Magazine

July 2013

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w o r l d [ Cont.from 8 ] over the layers and made it easy for compositors to add extra smoke plumes etc." POST: What about the Philly shots? DYG: "For the Philadelphia street shots nearer the beginning of the film, the technique was somewhat similar, except that it was shot on location in Glasgow. Many of the buildings were topped up from the second floor upwards with well-known Philadelphia buildings. Again, these were created as relatively simple geometry, with photographs projected on to them. Nuke was used to layout the placement of the buildings and integrate them into the plate. A number of passes were rendered out to support the compositing stage." POST: You created many digital vehicles, did you build all the models? JOEL BODIN: (Lead Lighter) "Maya and Mudbox were used to create a wide variety of models from scratch. The long list of assets we created includes an entire military camp, 20 different types of car, the Benjamin Franklin Bridge, several buildings for 2.5D projection, several different types of ship for a flotilla sequence, an RV camper van, the cab of a garbage truck and various helicopters." JOHNSON: "The Philadelphia sequence at the start of the film uses several CG assets. In many shots we added cars, helicopters and other required vehicles as well as CG zombies and people. We needed to create a convincingly gridlocked and chaotic environment." POST: What about the smoke, fire, hair and water sims? Were they written in-house? ZWARTOUW: "The TD FX, which we created for WWZ, included boat wakes, rain and puddles, smashing glass, bullet hits, blood splatter, smoke, atmospherics and digi-doubles with cloth and hair simulation. For the different types of effects we used both Houdini and 46 Post • July 2013 z Maya, and the team of FX TDs was led by Jan Berner. "For cloth we used Maya nCloth. We built on top of this using in-house tools which helped us to manage the hundreds of different cloth combinations for dressing the characters, control the behavior of the cloth and also our own CSWedge tool, which allowed us to simulate and manage hundreds of cloth simulations. "For shots where the camera was too close for the Massive set-up to work, a generic cloth simulation set up was used. We filmed video reference of all types of different clothing. Even so, we got a lot of detail using our own simulation tools and our CsSculpt tool allowed us to add even more detail and address specific direction from the client within a really short turn around. "For hair, we built our own pipeline around the Yeti fur plug-in, with the simulation driven by Maya's nHair. Again, we developed a wide range of tools, which gave us a faster turnaround and higher level of control. Our CsCache tool was used to cache out and modify the simulations at different stages. "Our set-up was much like the cloth simulation, where hero characters and crowd had their own individual grooms, sculpted to impressive detail by lead groom TD Tarkan Sarim. The hair team tackled a multitude of shots, including a full frame close-up of simulated long hair." POST: Can you point to what you consider the most challenging scene? DYG: "Personally, I think the Jersey rooftop was the most exciting and challenging scene. Large parts of this environment are entirely CG, but it is all based on realworld photography. The original photography obviously helped immensely in achieving the final, photoreal look. From that standpoint, it's much easier to begin art directing the environment to fit the brief and M i x i n g [ Cont.from 36 ] share a house in Washington, DC. They all have their troubles, but then again, what politician doesn't. The show is a political comedy written by Garry Trudeau, creator of the Doonesbury comic strip. For Payne, working on a new show in the new studio space was the most rewarding par t of the experience. Harbor Sound was star ted by five guys who all worked at Sound One before it closed last September. Joining up with Harbor Picture Company has been a symbiotic relationship for Payne and his team. They provide audio post services for a picture company that does great editing. "It's been a really great collaboration," says Payne. "The picture guys know what they're doing and they're well sought after. It's great for them to be able to say to their clients, 'We've got sound too. It's actually a group of people who have been doing this a long time, and doing it well. Why don't you go take a look?'" Payne has been in the audio post biz for 20 years. His past work includes O Brother, Where Art Thou?, Titus, Fargo and Broken Flowers (another project with Bill Murray in it).Since most of the pilot was shot indoors, Payne notes the production dialog was very clean, so he was able to spend more time making it sound good, and less time fixing technical problems. There was also w a r f o r W e b S e r i e s minimal ADR. For the few lines of ADR they did need, Payne used the Audio Ease Altiverb plug-in to help match it to the production dialog. "In the beginning of the pilot, Bill Murray is being arrested, or taken off to a court appearance. We have some agents pulling up outside, so there was ADR and Foley in that scene. To keep it from sounding too dry, we ran it through convoluted reverbs in Altiverb, and it made it sound like it was coming through the window, from two floors down, on the street." Though Alpha House is a Web series, Payne was asked to approach the sound with a film sensibility. The clients, he notes, like the fact that he typically does film work. He says, "They liked that we weren't going to approach the sound as just a TV show. We were going to approach the sound as something a little bigger." Payne took full advantage of the 5.1 format by spreading out the background sounds to bring the spaces to life. He wanted it to feel like there's a whole world happening around the viewer. For example, there is a scene where John Goodman walks out of a senate meeting and into a hallway in the senate building. "There are people coming down the steps behind us that we don't see. People cross the screen from the thus the film. "I find that a lot of energy can be used simply in making environments look real, taking away valuable time from making them look great. Using our system, we were able to just jump straight in and start tweaking and playing around with the scene. This work on World War Z was the first time we used this technique to such an extent. Its success has led to us defining a better process for how we create environments in the future." POST: Can you talk about using LIDAR scans? BODIN: "LIDAR scans and surveys are an essential part of building CG sets and they were used for various sets and locations as well the people on the streets in the Philadelphia scenes. They were used to help us place crowds within shots." POST: You also called on Nuke a lot? DYG: "We now use Nuke heavily for most of our environment work. Of course it's always used in compositing, but we have used it for environments as well. "Sometimes our environments are created using only Photoshop and Nuke, projecting onto simple geometry or cards. Other times more complex renders and render passes are created through Modo, Cinema 4D or Maya or more elaborate textures/ matte paintings are painted in Mari. Environment models are increasingly built using photogrammetry. "But common to all environments is that they are going through Nuke before being passed on to compositors. This is to avoid spending compositing time on a shot-by-shot basis to reassemble layers and render passes into a finished environment. Instead, an environment artist is in control of the environment on a scene-by-scene basis, making the process and ability to iterate a shot easier and faster." front to the back, and from the back to the front, and so we took advantage of panning those people and making sure we hear sounds all around us." Payne is looking forward to working on the upcoming season of Alpha House. He hopes there will be some interesting locations, like Afghanistan, which was briefly alluded to in the pilot episode. Payne says, "I'm hoping that we'll get to do a bunch of helicopters flying overhead, or maybe they'll be out in the field, or at the base in the middle of Afghanistan. That is the type of stuff we get to have fun with." For Rob Fernandez, re-recording mixer on the dialog, Foley, and music for Alpha House, the challenge was to create a soundtrack that worked for laptops, tablets and TV broadcast in 5.1. "We mixed it to the highest quality medium of all these formats, which was TV broadcast 5.1 and down-mixed from there." He checked the mix through very small TV speakers, though, for future episodes, Fernandez plans on checking the mix through laptop speakers. "I listened to the mix on my laptop at home after it was released, and there were some instances that did not translate well." Alpha House was mixed in Studio B using Pro Tools 10 and an ICON D-Control. Studio B at Harbor Sound is a Dolby-certified 5.1 mixing stage.

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