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December 2016

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Page 39 of 45 36 POST DECEMBER 2016 PREVIS W hen a script calls for folding buildings or stairways floating up to the sky, you can bet those scenes were visualized as detailed previs prior to any footage or visual effects being produced. For all types of shots and projects, previs has become a process to help shape the creative storytelling and produce technical roadmaps to inform production. It can also provide key ways to communicate what ambitious visual effects shots are about, right down to their physics. Marvel's Doctor Strange and Warner Bros.' Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them are visual feasts-for-the-eyes, with magic used to bend bodies, minds and even cities. Artists from visualization studio The Third Floor (Game of Thrones, Captain America: Civil War, The Jungle Book) were brought on to help develop the fantastic worlds for both. STRANGE MAGIC, MIND-BENDING IMAGES The Third Floor's Faraz Hameed su- pervised a team upwards of 30 artists to create all of the previs, techvis and postvis for Doctor Strange. The previs team worked from Los Angeles for two six-month stints, spending 10 months in the UK, operating from The Third Floor's London office and with the pro- duction shoot. "This was an amazing project because we were able to explore story points, do look development and R & D complex visuals that had not been seen before," Faraz says. "Marvel encouraged us to pitch, brainstorm and really push the boundaries of storytelling in the previs. There wasn't a department we didn't interact with. We supported the visual effects team, heads of department, pro- ducers and the director, Scott Derrickson, in every way we could. Scott is very col- laborative and had epic ideas for the film. He embraced previs fully and pushed us creatively. It was really exciting to see the previs displayed on monitors on the set for others to reference." In addition to visualizing shots, The Third Floor worked with visual effects supervisor Stephane Ceretti (see Post interview in November 2016 issue and on- line), visual effects producer Susan Pickett and various production departments on specific production and visual effects approaches to realizing the mind-bending images. Artists collaborated with props to set-decorate action scenes, interfaced with stunts to help coordinate combat scenes that defied gravity and worked with special effects to ensure that rigs, stunt equipment and vehicles worked to- gether as envisioned. Work in previs and postvis also extended to collaborations with the DP and editorial. Technical diagrams, worked out togeth- er with input from multiple departments, were compiled into techvis "bibles" that left literally no stone unturned for pro- duction execution. Relying on the techvis, which provided information like camera and distance data from top, side and front elevation views, made it possible to shoot effectively at the production's fast pace. The physical transformations Strange undergoes — being copied, re-assembled and torn apart, proved to be among the most challenging visuals. "We brought a big bag of tricks into the previs — ev- erything from deformers to simulation effects, as we worked with Stephane and co-visual effects supervisors Geoffrey Bauman and Chris Shaw to develop something that could be shot," Faraz says. Scenes at the sanctum in New York required trying different designs with the art department to come up with some unexpected visual treatments and looks. Often ideas would start with Escher and evolve from there. "We wanted the shots to offer more than expected, we wanted to 'plus it,' even with ideas for camera coverage in the scene. There were a lot of discussions to determine ways to shoot the folding city imagery. Would it be with a crane or motion control rig? Would it be first or second unit? Would it be on-location or on-stage? There were so many details to be determined, especially for the puzzle city section that happens at the end of the chase." In Hong Kong, destruction effects combine with time reversing in another challenging scene. Beats and gags for the action were worked out in previs to visualize a forwards-working fight with FANTASTIC VISUALS ARTISTS FROM THE THIRD FLOOR LONDON AND LOS ANGELES HELP VISUALIZE STUNNING SCENES FOR DOCTOR STRANGE AND FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM Previs was key for Doctor Strange Doctor Strange Doctor . Techvis aided Hong Kong scenes.

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