fxpodcast #313: ZERO VFX & The Magnificent Seven

The Magnificent Seven topped the US box office this weekend. The film, which stars Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt, took $35m on its opening weekend. The Magnificent Seven is a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name, which in turn is based on the Akira Kurosawa 1954 classic The Seven Samurai, one of cinema’s truly all time great films.



The visual effects are nearly all invisible but there are some 900 vfx shots in the film. The Director decided to base the film on 35mm Anamorphic original photography. The effects were lead by Supervisor Sean Devereaux and done at the team at ZERO VFX. This was the most number of shots Zero VFX had done in a single film, and the work ranged from bullet hits to digital environments.

The film was directed by Antoine Fuqua and photographed by Mauro Fiore with Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2 and the Arri 235 using the G Series, C Series, E Series and Anamorphic lenses: (2.35 : 1). The G series lenses are optically comparable to Panavision E series anamorphics, but in a lightweight, compact format similar to the C Series. The C series prime lenses date back to the mid 1960s. The C Series range from 20mm, to 180mm focal lengths with widest apertures ranging from T2.3 to T3.5 . With their compact size and lightweight, the C Series lenses are ideally suited to both handheld and Steadicam applications.

As Sean discusses in the podcast, DOP Fiore used a lot of traditional sweeping crane shots with a very classic western wide screen look. As you can hear in the podcast there was extensive environment work as nearly all of the classic mountains in the film’s sweeping vistas were added by ZERO VFX, since there are very few snow capped mountains in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, in the USA where the film was primarily shot. While much of the film is exteriors, even the interiors were shot on location. There was no studio or green screen work done.

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