ILM has released another in their line of Making of Clips as part of Award Season.
We spoke to overall vfx supervisor Stephane Ceretti on fxpodcast #314: Doctor Strange
and our written story is here:
Some fun facts
- ILM has long been known for slipping in Easter eggs, and the ILM team couldn’t resist adding one into Doctor Strange – in the film there are a few moments that you can see a cat seemingly react to an unseen force and a flock of pigeons reacting based on Mirror Dimension events, one of which has them flying off of a twisting cathedral pillar twirling through the air. This is a concept that ILM developed internally when defining the universe of Doctor Strange. They hypothesized that aside from the humans the only other living things that can detect alternate dimensions are pigeons and cats. This explains why cats occasionally freak out in real-life with no obvious cause – It’s because they are aware of things happening in the mirror dimension that we, the uninitiated, are not privy to.
- In an effort to create the most compelling shots, ILM artists always tried to utilize 3 axis of motion for the actors whenever possible during the post visualization process. For example, Doctor Strange would be chasing someone that is upside down or sideways, etc. This also applied to the horizon lines in the background as well as what we as viewers were used to seeing as “up” or “down”.
To communicate the far-out concepts in Doctor Strange, ILM Visual Effects supervisor Richard Bluff and Marvel Visual Effects Supervisor Stephane Ceretti and the team developed a coding system for planning and discussing the postviz of the more complex shots and sequences based on ice cream flavors of all things. Vanilla would be “crazy,” chocolate would be “brace yourself we are going to get really bizarre” and a “banana split hot fudge sundae” would be where we were twisting the camera and deforming rigid items that were kaleidoscope. The filmmakers almost always chose the later, which is what you see in the film.
- As a part of ILM’s Virtual Cinematography work-flow, the team developed a specially engineered camera in-house know as the “Strange Cam”. This device was designed, modeled and 3D printed to capture 360-degree footage of the various environments on set that the artists in turn viewed inside of virtual reality headsets back when composing and designing the extremely challenging camera moves for specific shots.