When George Miller looked to return to the world of Mad Max with his new Fury Road, the director began a lengthy development period that saw several false starts but ultimately culminated in a six-month long shoot in the Namibian desert. Here, DOP John Seale would use multiple digital cameras to capture incredible practical stunts with more than 150 vehicles conceived by production designer Colin Gibson, then rigged, driven and crashed thanks to the efforts of key crew including special effects supervisors Andy Williams and Dan Oliver and supervising stunt co-ordinator Guy Norris.

But the intense Namibian shoot, and further filming in Sydney, was only half the story in the creation of Fury Road’s insane stunt action and post-apocalyptic landscapes. Hundreds of visual effects artists, led by overall visual effects supervisor Andrew Jackson, would spend considerable time crafting more than 2000 visual effects shots and helping to transform the exquisite photography into the final film that at times feels almost like a single car chase. Even more plate manipulation would also be carried out by colorist Eric Whipp, weaving in a distinctive graphic style for the film with detailed sky replacements and unique day for nights.

Original plate filmed in Namibia.
Original plate filmed in Namibia.
Final shot by Iloura.
Final shot by Iloura.

Jackson was aided by visual effects producers Holly Radcliffe, with Iloura taking on the lion’s share of digital work - more than 1500 shots overseen by visual effects supervisor Tom Wood and producer Fiona Crawford - that ranged from detailed environments, a heavy-sim’d toxic storm to intricate 2D compositing. An in-house postvis and VFX crew set up at production company Kennedy Miller Mitchell, dubbed Fury FX, was also crucial in planning and realizing hundreds of effects shots. Additional work was completed by Method Studios and BlackGinger, with early previs delivered by The Third Floor.

In this article, fxguide runs through several of the main visual effects and color grading challenges in the film, many of which are enhancements of the largely practical and stunt-based effects imagined by Miller. “I’ve been joking recently about how the film has been promoted as being a live action stunt driven film - which it is,” says Jackson. “But also how there’s so little CGI in the film. The reality is that there’s 2000 VFX shots in the film. A very large number of those shots are very simple clean-ups and fixes and wire removals and painting out tire tracks from previous shots, but there are a big number of big VFX shots as well.”


Crafting the Citadel

Iloura's Citadel.
Iloura's Citadel.

At a rocky outcrop in the desert known as the Citadel, cult leader Immortan Joe (Hugh Keays-Byrne) rallies his citizens and readies a group, headed by Imperator Furiosa (Charlize Theron), to collect gasoline from a nearby location. Furiosa’s ‘War Rig’ is lowered to the ground while Joe provides the citizens a miserly douse of fresh water through pipes in the Citadel.

The Citadel location was produced via a combination of principal photography in Namibia, shooting in Sydney and visual effects work from Iloura informed by actual rock cliffs photographed in Australia and re-worked using photogrammetry. “I’ve got an absolute aversion to people painting rocks,” says Jackson, in explaining why a photogrammetry approach was employed. “I just always want to use real surfaces and textures and shape as much as we possibly can.”

CG geo.
CG geo.
Final shot.
Final shot.

Jackson considered reference locations in Jordan, including the famous Wadi Rum mountains, but ultimately found suitable cliffs in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. “There are cliffs there that are 200 feet tall and sheer and just amazing,” he says. “I took a helicopter and we flew backwards and forwards with a high res stills camera. It has real lighting but because it was shot in overcast conditions you can add more key light. We had the chopper standing by for 10 days waiting for the right conditions. We didn’t have one cloudy day for a week and a half, but the day we went was just perfect.”

 

The use of photogrammetry techniques for the Citadel location, and for others in the film, was actually inspired by Jackson’s initial use of an on-set aerial photography drone from Sensefly that he had intended to employ just for ground reference photos. “It was a little one meter wingspan plane with a compact camera,” explains Jackson. “It completely flew itself. You just map out the area on the ground, you throw it into the air and it flies up and flies in a grid taking photos every two meters and then comes back and lands where it was launched. The software they give you with the plane was Photoscan.”

Original plate - inside the Citadel.
Original plate - inside the Citadel.
Final shot.
Final shot.

“This was four years ago when no one had heard of Photoscan,” adds Jackson. “We started using it to build textured terrain models, and then, experimenting with the software, it was incredible for building anything you wanted. Iloura did all the Citadel work - there was a lot of work taking the raw material, chopping it up and bending it around and re-building it.”

In fact, Iloura spent significant time re-working the cliff textures and geometry to form the Citadel to the required final look. “We had to assemble strips together,” notes Wood, “and then George didn’t quite like the black staining that’s all over the Blue Mountains, so we had to re-color them and re-texture them, to try and keep it as authentic as possible.” Similar photogrammetry acquisition was also carried out at Jenolan Caves south of Sydney for what would become interior regions of the Citadel.

CG Citadel in progress.
CG Citadel in progress.
Final shot.
Final shot.

At one point Joe addresses his citizens from a rock-platform balcony, a location where he also opens the water pipes using ship pump actuators. “The balcony went through a huge number of iterations,” says Wood. “There was a practical set piece that was shot in one of the stages at Fox Studios in Sydney, which was completely replaced. The only thing that’s real are the four guys and the pump actuators. For below him they had shot about 150 extras and we extended those to 30,000 with crowd sims. Those rocks didn’t exist so we were controlling light across the crowd, which was really tricky.”

The water flow from the pipes made use of a Houdini simulation for wide shots, with some practical water on set. “They had practical rain machines on set in front of their very small piece of rock face,” describes Wood. “That sprayed out more than a mist - it was a rain. There was also some pouring water where it splashes on some rocks. Everything above that was VFX.”

Original plate.
Original plate as Max and crew return to the Citadel.
Final shot featuring Iloura crowd sims.
Final shot featuring Iloura crowd sims.

Back to the top.


Into the toxic storm

Final shot by Iloura.
Final shot by Iloura.

Furiosa leads the War Rig party on the road out of the Citadel, but then makes a sudden detour, for she is harboring Joe’s five ‘Wives’. An entire army pursues the War Rig, including the War Boy Nux (Nicholas Hoult) who brings with him the captured Max Rockatansky (Tom Hardy) as a ‘blood bag’. A dramatic chase sequence ensues all the way into a toxic storm featuring enormous dust clouds, twisters and lightning.

A combination of real photography in Namibia of various cars and additional greenscreen and stage shoots was combined with CG car take-overs, digital doubles and complex fluid and dust simulations by Iloura for the storm. Plus additional VFX elements were shot to help tie pieces together and provide for more foreground dust.

The vehicles enter the toxic storm - original plate.
The vehicles enter the toxic storm - original plate.
Final shot.
Final shot.

Jackson notes that although the sequence could have been achieved almost completely in CG, it was important from his point of view to shoot actual vehicles driving - that way you retain realistic camera movement. “You shoot the layout and vehicles and gradually everything might get replaced,” he says, “except the camera and the positions of where things were. You may end up with nothing left of what was actually filmed, but the shot still inherits something real from the plate you shot originally. I still believe it’s worth doing for that reason.”

On location in Namibia, production approximated where the twisters in the toxic storm would be located, and then had vehicles drive accordingly. “Then we did a lot of postvis (see The postvis process, below) working out the size and position and scale and the movement of the whole scene,” says Jackson. "Then it was obvious that the actual twisters would be massive fluid simulations. Tom Wood was working on concepts and the look of the twisters and suggested the idea of flames being swept up into the swirling dust cloud, which was a fantastic idea.”

Animation frame.
Animation frame.
Final shot.
Final shot.

Wood engaged some concept artists to flesh out the storm shots and the twister moments, which Miller then approved. “What we received was effectively a locked cut,” states Wood, “and then we would be set about controlling the dust layers and the light. It was tricky because it was all shot in predominantly bright sunlight on a very flat empty piece of desert. We had dust kicked up from the car and they were all glinting and very directionally lit, which we had to suppress. Or we would track the vehicles and put CG replacements in with new directional lighting - or flashed from live to CG and back again, so we could have lightning flashing from all different directions and dust shadowing the cars that we couldn’t have on set.”

Iloura’s CG cars - also used in other crash shots - were built from photogrammetry surveys, again processed in Photoscan. “You get a very good model,” notes Wood, “but it’s very dependent on reflections and anything shiny doesn’t resolve well - you get dents and lumps and rounded edges. We’d then give that to the hard modelers and they built everything fresh in Maya. It meant we could put hard edges in, deform surfaces, and we could animate the separate parts and put them all back together so that we could destroy the car efficiently and properly.”

The car is lifted up - animation frame.
The car is lifted up - animation frame.
Final shot.
Final shot.

A CG car was used most dramatically in one scene in which a twister picks up a vehicle and a group of War Boys into the air after being nudged by the War Rig. The car is ripped apart as a stream of bodies tumble about onto other vehicles and past the camera. Early previs for the shot had the bodies as fixed figures spinning up into the air - this was based on Miller’s initial desire that they followed real dynamics and physics, since a great deal of crash reference footage the director had sourced tended to show that movement. Wood also sourced crash footage, including from Isle of Man TT motorcycle races. “If you get flung off something at high speed,” says Wood, “you have no control of your arms and legs - they fly out like a windmill, basically.”

Iloura applied that real world behavior to digi-doubles of the War Boys in rag-doll sim software Endorphin. But when Miller saw the result he felt it no longer looked right for the scene. “The reason is,” suggests Wood, “that there’s a real difference between what we know as real world actions and movie actions. We’re so used to seeing what stuntmen do in these kinds of crashes. They will take a run and jump off a bounce board and fly through the air and circle their arms and pedal their legs - it’s an exaggerated performance and totally part of film language.” Ultimately Iloura went back to Endorphin with more elaborate sims and key frame animation for the final flying War Boys shots.

Original plate.
Original plate.
Final shot.
Final shot.

Meanwhile, Iloura turned to Houdini to realize the twisters and dust clouds. “They were very informed by practical twisters,” explains Wood. “The shapes were very random - George wanted to make sure they didn’t look too uniform. We had about seven layers of dust on the ground going from 'arctic ice'-type low level blowing across the surface right up to lumpy real dust to middle of car height, and then huge billowing eddies of dust that the cars disappear into and come out the other side. I thought it was very much a ‘conceal and reveal’ type sequence, especially in the chase when you only had glimpses of the cars.”

Iloura’s R&D team also wrote a tool called Mincer that could iterate particles to what Wood describes was a ‘ludicrous degree.’ “The base of the twister - the main column - was a volumetric shader and then that was wrapped by huge numbers of Houdini particles that were then run through Mincer and became fine dust clouds. They really helped with the randomness of it and in showing the little bits tearing off which were all designed and picked per shot. What you get in the final film is a light show full of dust.”

Original plate.
Original plate.
Final shot by Iloura.
Final shot by Iloura.

Looking to ensure the final toxic storm shots remained somewhat grounded, Jackson also incorporated a dust element shoot for swirling action close to camera and streams of sand blowing off the vehicles. “I shot a whole lot of saw dust particles blowing past the camera and towards the camera, and sand pouring,” he says. “We went to the old Dr D studios (in Sydney). I got a big space and hung blacks - we were shooting into black with very bright lights in the foreground. The dust was really brightly lit. The background was so dark I could actually put fans in the background and not see them.”

Back to the top.


Through the canyon

The War Rig arrives at the canyon.

After the storm, Max finds himself teamed up with Furiosa and the Wives aboard the War Rig. Furiosa outruns a number of war parties to a narrow canyon, where a biker gang detonates the rock walls to close the path - and the War Rig is able to escape, for now.

Both Iloura and Jackson’s Fury FX group took on the canyon shots, which involved significant environment augmentations. “The canyon where we shot that part of the film got extended quite significantly,” states Jackson. “It was made a lot taller and narrower in places. There’s a major part of the film that gets narrower in the neck with a rock explosion - there was a narrow piece there but it didn’t really exist and didn’t have the rocks over the top.”

Canyon comparison shot. VFX by Fury FX.
Canyon comparison shot. VFX by Fury FX.

For the rock wall detonation, the initial plan was to use CG sims to achieve the effect. But Jackson says he “spent a lot of time talking people into how they might shoot something for real that might otherwise have been a CG event. So we were looking at places where we might be able to shoot some sort of large rock elements, but really a large miniature. There was an old quarry in the area where we were working, and I asked if it might be possible to actually blow up a bit of the quarry. We asked the owner and he said, ‘Yeah sure.’ So we staked out the bit we wanted to blow up and we put cameras on the ground and we’d already matched the angles - and we blew it up. Then we comp’d it in.”

Quarry location explosion before and after.
Quarry location explosion before and after.

Back to the top.


Delivering day for night

Day for night comparison.
Day for night comparison.

The War Rig continues on into the night - now with Nux on board - and pursued by The Bullet Farmer (Richard Carter). The Rig gets stuck in a swampy and muddy area before again making an escape. This nighttime sequence was actually filmed in the Namibian desert in bright daylight, but was then transformed into a blue environment by colorist Eric Whip based on a suggestion made to production by Jackson to film the sequence overexposed  - instead of the traditional underexposing for day for night - by two stops or more.

“Part of the reason I had that idea,” explains Jackson, “was that I shoot a lot of HDR mirror balls on set and the Nikon camera I use has a nine stop automatic bracketing setting. Occasionally after shooting a mirror ball I would forget to turn the bracketing off and I’d have a series of images that are from four stops over to four stops under. I’m always shooting 14 bit RAW images with the Nikon and I can grade those two three four stops over images and they look amazing. As long as they’re not clipped, as long as you’ve not lost the highlights, the resulting images are the best images you can get.”

Original plate.
Original plate.
Final shot (with VFX by Iloura).
Final shot (with VFX by Iloura).

Jackson’s observation was that the higher exposure, the better the image is - assuming no clipping has occurred - something that he felt could be replicated by shooting with the ARRI Alexa. His rational was that an overexposed image would contain more detail and less noise, and on the Alexa would roll off into the highlights while not quite clipping, and therefore be suitable for grading from day to night. “I did some tests with the day for night idea with digital stills,” adds Jackson. “The massive benefit you get with shooting overexposed for a day for night setup is that you get detail in the shadows that’s still there. You can pull the highlights down and darken the whole image, but still have detail in the shadows. It doesn’t just clip to black in the shadows.”

Still, the unique approach took some convincing. “I had talked to John Seale about it and they did a test in broad daylight in the middle of the day - full sun - and shooting with the ARRI at various exposures,” recalls Jackson. “I came along to that, and said, ‘Oh you’re doing the over exposed thing,’ and they said, ‘Don’t be silly’. I think they were doing half a stop over. I was proposing to do four stops for a test, at least, with one, two, three and four stops over. I had to work hard to convince them to do a test at four stops - they just thought it was ridiculous. But then we did a test on location and the overexposed ones looked amazing and it was solved right there.”

Shooting The Bullet Man plates.

During grading, Whipp took advantage of the latitude in the Alexa to deliver the day for nights. “When I first started grading the scene,” recalls Whipp, “I was in a little bit of shock - literally you have these people running around in full sunlight. There were shots in the film with lens flares, people are literally squinting into the sun and the lens flare is hitting the camera and it’s two stops overexposed in full daylight - how am I supposed to make this work?”

“But it worked,” says Whipp. “It’s not your typical one layer grade - you can’t just lower it down and say, ‘Hey, we’re done.’ As with a lot of day for night, the biggest giveaway is often skies. We weren’t necessarily going for a very photorealistic night. We tried it - one of the first things I tried was trying to make it as photorealistic as I could. It actually looked like night, it was a really good scene, except you couldn’t see anything. We had to find a middle ground and we went a little more stylized and graphic with it. We had versions where it was more de-saturated and more cyan. And we ended up going into a very rich blue feel. The roll off on an overexposed shot is creamier and lighter and nicer than an underexposed shot so for this shadow range. Because we’re playing a scene that’s running around in the shadows, it actually strangely makes sense.”

One particular scene in the day for night sequence involved views of The Bullet Farmer who has been blinded after a shot is fired by Furiosa. A first pass grade had employed a circle vignette on the footage designed to show that the Farmer was emanating or receiving light from the heavens that was guiding him after he’d been blinded. “George was relatively happy with having a circle vignette but it just looked like…a circle vignette,” states Whipp. “It didn’t look very good! So I thought, what if there were clouds behind him that were glowing and lighting him up in essentially a circle vignette behind him so that there was a bit more of a backlight effect. I found a nice sky and drew round a bunch of clouds that I wanted to be brighter and I made them brighter and did a sky replacement on it and put the look on and with the night scene you’ve got to drop the exposure of everything and grade it all blue and then roto the faces and lift it up - it’s a lot of detailed work.”

Whipp also notes that if audiences watch the scene closely they will notice that it starts a little darker and then actually gets brighter. “It was just a way of getting into it,” says Whipp, “selling the idea of night, walking into darkness and your eyes are getting used to it and it plays a little brighter.”

Back to the top.


The final chase

Now joined with the last remnants of desert survivors The Many Mothers, the War Rig group decide to journey back to the Citadel, via the canyon way. On the way they are faced once again with several war parties, who now use 'pole cats' and a constant barrage of vehicles to attack the Rig. In one spectacular sequence, a mobile refinery being pulled by a Mercedes limo truck explodes with an enormous fireball right in the middle of a throng of chasing vehicles. Conceived as a practical effect, the refinery was blown up in Namibia, with Iloura then compositing in the other cars and Max on a foreground pole.

Original plate.
Original plate.
Final shot.
Final shot.

“They took that mobile refinery out in the desert,” says Wood, “and drove it remotely, surrounded by camera cars and a helicopter, and blew it up. It’s absolutely amazing special effects. They had nitro canons blowing the cab into the air - it was just extraordinary. Then from those plates, Andrew Jackson went back out and shot equivalent plates for all the chase vehicles to be around it. Our work on those shots was a bit of environment - originally it was shot on very flat desert and George wanted to see the start of the canyon around it - and then compositing the vehicles around it, with Max on a pendulum. We were not comp’ing or changing any elements of the actual explosion.”

The chase reaches the canyon.
The chase reaches the canyon in this befores and afters comparison. VFX by Fury FX.

That final chase sequence was also one in which The Third Floor delivered previs, under previsualization supervisor Glenn Burton. "CG car models in previs were built to the same size and specifications as the practical vehicles in order to work within the limitations of how the cameras and actors could fit within that space," explains Third Floor previs artist Shannon Justison. "It was also important that the cars did not exceed a given speed so that the action depicted would be true to what they could legally and safely shoot. Previs characters were even kept to the correct scale of the known cast - when Nicholas Hoult was cast as Nux, we rescaled his previs stand-in to his actual height and discovered that he was going to be very uncomfortable in his Deuce Coupe."

"The final car chase has a lot of characters and there's a lot of switching vehicles and concurrent action, adds Justison. "The previs had to carefully track where everyone was at a particular beat and help work out the transitions so the characters would be at the right place at the right time. All the action needed to be preserved without cheating anyone - no one could magically change vehicles or get from one end of the War Rig to the other without fighting their way across. In the end, I think this is what really enhances the visceral nature of the action in the final film. Max, Furiosa, and Nux are heroes, but they're not superheroes. They fight and they get hurt, and nothing comes easy."

Back to the top.


The guitar gets it

The Doof Warrior in action.
The Doof Warrior in action.

The War Rig crew continue through the canyon, battling Joe’s army and others. Joe is dispatched and most of the crew make it onto his car, but Nux sacrifices himself in the War Rig to block the canyon. This ultimately results in a major crash sequence, including the vehicle heralded by Coma the Doof Warrior (iOTA), a character attached to the car by bungie cords and sporting a guitar flame thrower for most of the film.

The sequence made use of numerous Namibia plates, including stationary action that would be enhanced with moving backgrounds, canyon augmentation, a War Rig and other vehicle crash stunts. Surprisingly, the final twisted mix of vehicle pieces, metal and bungie-corded guitar that fly towards camera were largely practical effects.

The War Rig crashes.
The War Rig crashes.

“I thought the best we could do was at least shoot the guitar,” says Jackson. “It was all wires and flame throwers and had fuel lines that were broken and leaking fuel and various bits of wires dangling off. I just imagined that for real coming up to the camera and bouncing back. We set up a shoot for that where we hung the guitar from bungies on a cherry picker. I suggested that if you pull the guitar back and release it in exactly the same way it will always go back to the same spot. We released it and marked where it was going to and put a camera exactly there, so we could repeat that event and push the camera slightly closer.”

Even the steering wheel that flies out after the guitar was achieved photographically, as Jackson explains: “We shot that on a little gimbal spinning. In the end, George wanted to push right into the mouth of the wheel, but the resolution wasn’t enough, so we tracked the action of the spinning wheel on the gimbal and I built a little rig to photograph that with a high res stills camera. So we matched the motion of the spinning one and did a really high res version - like stop motion. Pushing right into the mouth of the steering wheel was all a live action element.”

Back to the top.


Arming Furiosa

See b-roll of Charlize Theron wearing a green sleeve for her arm.

Furiosa is revealed early on to be missing part of her left arm. She wears a metal prosthetic and also fights Max and Nux at one point using just her stump. To achieve the effect, Theron wore a prosthetic and a green sleeve during the shoot that the visual effects team then painted out, adding in a central mechanical piece where necessary.

“It actually worked out pretty minimally in terms of visual effects work, even though one of your stars has a CG prosthetic,” notes Wood. “The trickier bit was when she didn’t have it on. When she fights with Max and just has a bare stump, that was more involved. Charlize wore a green glove and was asked not to use her left hand. We had to design the stump - that was tricky in itself. We looked at reference of a person who has an amputated arm and their muscles wither away, but hers was chopped off. The amount of scaring on it was tricky to control. We had to make it not look too unpleasant, but then track on from pretty much her own elbow.”

Back to the top.


Shifting the skies

Many scenes in Fury Road made use of seamless sky replacements.

The frenetic pace and complexity of the shoot in Namibia meant that, as expected, backgrounds and skies were not always consistent from shot to shot. Add to that was the graphic feel Miller wanted to infuse into the film. Sometimes sky replacements were part of the visual effects deliverables, but often they were handled during color grading by Whipp based on a vast library of skies collected by him and Jackson from around the world.

“The sky replacements, and DI, was a fantastic thing that Eric brought to the film,” declares Jackson. “We didn’t really expect to do as much. It was very much George just wanting to, not necessarily tie the shots together from a continuity point of view, but just make them more interesting shots, where he thought the shot would benefit from having a more interesting sky.”

Whipp notes that Miller had been adamant the film not have the typical post-apocalyptic bleached look. “We had two words in the back of our heads the whole time - graphic novel,” he says. “We just kept saying that to ourselves. Whenever we could we changed the sky - we just tried to make it as graphic as we could, just to avoid that bleached feel.”

Although consistency was not crucial, shooting in the African nation was always going to be challenging. “I heard one of the problems they have in Namibia is this weird foggy atmosphere rolls in in the morning off the ocean,” says Whipp, “so you get these almost white foggy days and then by the afternoon it all clears up and you’ve got rich blue skies. It’s very hard to make those two match. That’s where sky replacements came in really handy just to try and get some color back in there instead of a white sky.”

Whipp, working in Baselight, incorporated Jackson's sky photography taken on set and elsewhere, plus his own collection from around the world built up over time. “It’s like a little briefcase of skies I carry with me,” says Whipp. “One of the trickiest parts on this film, for example, was for one of the day for night sections. We did a lot of sky replacements but we really wanted quite stormy skies with little breaks in the cloud, but it’s actually not that easy to find. Even here in Toronto I’d go out to the lake shore and take some more photos because I was hoping that one of these skies would work.”

In Baselight Whipp was able to use a ‘mishmash’ of tools to make the sky replacements work. Initially he took some on-set footage and experimented with looks, but the hardest part was tracking the sometimes shaky plates. So instead he “tried a sky replacement on an easy shot, and of course it made the world of difference, and suddenly everything came to life. But I knew I couldn’t do all of these! There were a few cases where we asked visual effects to help out - they can probably do better tracking than what we can do in the Baselight and spend more time on it. But for the most part we were able to do it.”

Whipp says that for some shots he had to track the camera by hand. For fast action this did not present any problems, but for other shots he had to rely on more accurate tracks. “I would look for something in the background that I could latch onto,” explains Whipp. “Sometimes it might be a slight bit of definition between two clouds that I could catch and track to the real sky in the shot. Sometimes it would be literally one slightly larger pebble in the background or a piece of sand I could lock onto. Even if it was in the foreground, I could then offset the parallax so it matched what was going on in the background.”

Traditional roto and luminance keys were used by Whipp and his team where foreground action would take place in front of skies. “A lot of the times I was just really lucky because for the most part we’re replacing skies where the sky is just white,” he notes. “So in actual fact it’s like your perfect element to key a sky. I can do a luminance key on the sky, key it in there and it’s generally not affecting anybody, unless they have a highlight shine on their head and I’d have to just garbage matte that.”

Back to the top.


The postvis process

Realizing early on that the film would require significant visual effects work, Jackson engaged an in-house team to perform postvis. “I’ve been a big advocate for many years for having a small team of people work out what the main visual effects requirements are,” says Jackson. “The brief to them was they were to do whatever it takes to help editorial, for every shot, to have all the components to present in some way - so you can sit down and watch the film and it makes sense.”

“That was incredibly successful,” adds Jackson. “At the end of that process you’ve got a much tighter edit because it really has got those things in it. You’ve got a document that you can send out the vendors to bid, and they can bid it accurately - instead of allowing for whatever might happen. The other thing that came out of the postvis process was, when your shots are half a second to a second long, the postvis was virtually good enough. There are massive differences with shots that are short - you can get away with rudimentary elements - we just had to swap out elements for DPX. So that meant the postvis team could switch over to finaling simple shots.”

Back to the top.

 

All images and clips copyright 2015 Warner Bros. Pictures.


Thanks so much for reading our article.

We've been a free service since 1999 and now rely on the generous contributions of readers like you. If you'd like to help support our work, please join the hundreds of others and become an fxinsider member.

  • Kevin Koesterer

    Very impressive. More movies should use this minimalist approach to cgi. The dust storm was a bit much, and the day for night looked a bit off (just not used to that technique, maybe?), but everything else was absolutely brilliant.

  • Marie-Helene ZANOTTI

    Impressive work.
    The day for night effect reminded me of the early movies code : blue means night (like Nosferatu’s nights… so graphic !), and even if it’s not the intention, I think it gives another dimension to these scenes.