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August 2012

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For Films Effects challenge studios and entertain audiences. By Marc Loftus The summer is a busy time at the box office, with studios releasing heavily-hyped and long-awaited titles. Many of this year's movies relied heavily on visual effects to help tell their stories and impress audiences, but there are plenty of invisible effects on screens too. This month, we spoke with a number of post houses that worked on feature films that were in theaters recently. Weta had several films in house while it was working on Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Digital Domain's range of work can be seen in both The Watch and Rock of Ages. And Double Negative's visual effects for The Bourne Legacy are described by the film's VFX supervisor Hal Couzens as "photonatural." Here's a look at the different challenges each studio faced and how they were able to make it work on the big screen. on this planet today." As the lead house, Double Negative handled many of the film's most challenging shots, including the destruction of Marta's (played by Weisz) house. The inspiration for the 19th century house was too fragile to shoot in, so compromises had to be made. Exteriors were shot at a similar house in Staten Island, NY, and a front façade of the house's first floor was created on a stage. Double Negative then extended the side and additional two stories digitally. They also created a digital fire effect that was paired with real fire in a scene where the house is destroyed. Another significant contribution by the studio was for the scenes that were shot in Canada. Couzens estimates Double Negative pro- vided effects for around 200 shots in which snow needed to be added. THE BOURNE LEGACY The Bourne Legacy is the forth film in the action/adventure franchise and introduces a new lead character — Jeremy Renner, who stars as Aaron Cross, along with Rachel Weisz and Edward Norton. The Uni- versal Pictures film was directed by Tony Gilroy, with John Gilroy han- dling the edit. Hal Couzens was the VFX supervisor on the film and says work was divided among six VFX facilities, with Double Negative in London han- dling the majority of the film's 800 shots. Other contributors included Level 256, Rhythm & Hues, Phosphene, Lola and Studio C. "The main priority has always been realism," says Couzens of the film's visual effects. "Our approach was to go one step beyond photo- real — what I call 'photonatural,' which is completely what could exist 26 Post • August 2012 Level 256 cleaned up this shot for The Bourne Legacy. It was one of 126 shots they worked on overall. They also worked on scenes featuring combinations of real wolves, animatronics and digital characters. The studio provided face replacements for several scenes too, including shots involving stuntmen, and scenes that were shot while lead actors were unavailable. All of the drones that fly through the sky were also created by Double Negative, and for the motorcycle chase scene, the studio added CG traffic and handled set extensions, as well as made the part of the shoot that took place in LA resemble the main shoot that took place in Manila. As the number two effects house on the film, Level 256 handled

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