Computer Graphics World

July/August 2014

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60 cgw j u ly . a u g u s t 2 0 1 4 V I S U A L E F F E C T S pringtime in America's Midwest bursts forth with more than tulips, daffodils, and apple blossoms. April, May, and June bring cold air rushing down from Canada and warm air rising from the Gulf of Mexico. When the two meet, tornadoes happen. We see funnel clouds hop across farmlands on news broadcasts, and sometimes, sadly, their aermath in uproot- ed trees and shattered homes. In Warner Bros' action thriller Into the Storm, Director Steven Quale takes us inside Mother Nature's terrifying onslaught. We see the oncoming storm and eventual destruction in this documentary-style film through the eyes of daring storm chasers and frightened townspeople. Artists at Cinesite, Hydraulx, Scanline VFX, Digital Domain, and Rhythm & Hues created the visual effects, with Method Studios responsible for the climax of the film, a major sequence in which two funnel clouds join to form a mile-wide tornado that hits ground. "The tornado hits a school, but the children and our heroes are in a storm shelter," says Nordin Rahhali, visual effects supervisor at Method. "They see another tornado coming that is larger and stronger than the first. They need to get out. Just as the last school bus with our heroes pulls away from the school, the huge tornado de- molishes the school. The con- voy of buses is on the way, but the wind knocks a power line across the two-lane road and blocks the last bus. Our heroes try to shelter the children under the road. The tornado inches closer. They make it into a storm drain. The tornado sends a truck toward them that hits the front of the storm drain and blows off the manhole cover. Now, they're in a wind tunnel with nowhere else to go." The filmmakers shot a real school in Detroit, aerial plates for the landscapes, and the actors on a storm drain set. METHOD STUDIOS CREATES THE FIERCE CLIMAX FOR A TORNADO-DRIVEN FILM BY BARBARA ROBERTSON ARTISTS AT METHOD STUDIOS ADDED WIND TO THE PLATES BY SENDING CG DEBRIS FLYING AND BY REPLACING TREES IN THE FILMED FOOTAGE WITH CG GREENERY.

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