Post Magazine

December 2010

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 15 of 51

Cover Story T By DANIEL RESTUCCIO ron: Legacy H Joseph Kosinski stays true to the look of the original while using the most current technology. OLLYWOOD — Twenty-eight years after Disney Studios’ pio- neering visual effects sci-fi film Tron became an indelible part of the cyber-cul- tural consciousness, Tron: Legacy — a sequel using the latest and greatest technology and design — pays homage to the original... in glorious Disney Digital 3D. How did this happen? In 2007 Joseph Kosinski, a young, up-and-coming commer- cial director, walked into producer Sean Bai- ley’s office and pitched his vision of doing a remake of Tron in a post-Matrix world. “What I said to Sean,” explains Kosinski, “was that I wanted this movie to look like Tron.We live in an age that with the com- puter you can make anything look like any- thing. I wanted this movie to be instantly recognizable as Tron from the first image on the screen.That meant staying true to the design of the original Tron, and making it feel absolutely real, [as if] you took a motion pic- ture camera into the world of Tron and shot it from the inside.” That meeting convinced Bailey to get a pitch session at Disney. Kosinski persuaded the execs to let him make a three-minute, VFX proof-of-concept that would layout in Kosinski’s vision, “the look, the tone, maybe a hint of the narrative of a movie that did- n’t exist yet.” Kosinski took the production of the test to Eric Barba (Benjamin Button), Digital Do- main’s Oscar-winning visual effects supervi- sor, with whom he had worked on the com- mercial for the X-Box game Gears of War. “Right before I started in earnest on Button, the test came in for Tron. Joe came to me, we planned it all out and finished it in stereo,” recalls Barba. Digital Domain’s Eric Barba on Clu 2.0: “We had to come up with a system based on what we did on Buttonand take it to the next level.” The Kosinski/Digital Domain demo im- pressed the Disney execs, however the turn- ing point came when they showed the VFX proof-of-concept as a teaser at Comic-con in 2008.The totally unexpected sneak peek into what Tron: Legacy could be was met with an enthusiastic response by Comic-con fans.The Internet buzz over the next few months con- vinced Disney to greenlight the project. Like Avatar,Tron: Legacy was shot in dual camera 3D using Pace Fusion rigs developed by Vince Pace and James Cameron. However, the Tron: Legacy gear was a step up from Avatar. Sony made available F35 cameras as opposed to the F950s used on Avatar. “The benefit of this camera,” recalls Kosinski, “is that it has a full 35mm sensor 14 Post • December 2010 which gives you that beautiful cinematic shallow depth of field.We needed the suits to be the brightest things on set, which meant the sets were illuminated very dimly. We made up for that by shooting the whole going to look like. “We had to build a 3D pipeline, and even a 3D previsualization pipeline, for Joe Kosin- ski to plan out the look of the film in stereo so he could see how everything was going Joseph Kosinski directing his actors on set: he wanted the film to feel as if you took a camera inside the world of Tron and shot it from the inside. thing with master prime lenses, wide open at 1.3, which makes the 3D fall off in a very different way that gives it that distinct look.” During production they output the data from each camera to Codex Digital portable and studio devices, and captured in both uncompressed 1920x1080, 10-bit 4:4:4 DPX frames S-gamut and compressed 3:1 wavelet, depending on the scene. PREVIS In a very real sense,much of Tron: Legacy was made even before principal photogra- phy began.“There is no such thing as post on Tron: Legacy,” says Kosinski,“we started the visual effects on day one.” “Wyatt Jones had been editing previs and he stayed on through most of the project,” says Tron: Legacy editor James Haygood (Fight Club, Panic Room).“When I came in, I started working on previs with him on some of the big set pieces — sections that relied more on previs.That was a big part of some of the early production, which was already happening when I arrived.” “Working with stereo left and right eye is fairly new for visual effects companies,” says Barba. “Avatar came out six or seven months after we finished principal photog- raphy and no one knew what that was to appear on the big screen,” says Barba. “From the very, very beginnings of this movie, we had a whole previs department that Joe was working with directly,” explains Steve Preeg (Benjamin Button), Digital Do- main’s Oscar-winning animation director. “Sitting with him, lining up cameras, helping him pick out his shots.A lot of the big action sequences were cut before they even started principal photography. “All of those assets, all of those scene files,” continues Preeg, “all of that camera- work was already built into our pipeline. So there were tons of things we were able to leverage out of our previs team.” The previs team in fact became the layout team, and Digital Domain got to keep the wealth of knowledge that started at the be- ginning of that film and used that throughout the rest of the process,“which you won’t get if an outside facility does the previs,” notes Preeg.“It was very efficient and valuable, and I would not want to do it any other way.” Haygood, who used Avid Nitris DX to edit, reports that one of the most challenging aspects of editorial was that most of the time you were staring at people in green- screen or previs shots. “When you are shooting a big special effects film, a lot of times 90 percent of your image is not there.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Post Magazine - December 2010