InCinematographer - Issue 3 - 30
www.incinematographer.com | Issue 3
Hammering Out Epic Scenes
Thor: Ragnarok Visual Effects cont'd...
have the entire background replaced with a 3D
environment created by RSP. "We produced a palace
that was much bigger and with a higher ceiling than
was possible on any stage," explains Wood. "It was
more spread out and more opulent."
In the finished scene, Thor is the only non-digital
element. "Replacing the background in its entirety
created its own challenges," observes 2D Lead Jess
Burnheim. "It meant that we had to extract Chris
Hemsworth from the plate with no blue screen. We
literally rotoscoped everything, including his hair. It
was painstaking work."
The Bifröst Bridge appears in another scene
involving a pitched battle, this one pitting Hela
against Thor and Loki. "The Bifröst has been seen in
previous Marvel productions, but in Thor: Ragnarok
it has a unique look because we're inside it,"
Burnheim explains. "We had old reference to work
from, but we had to develop the effect further and
create something that would work with the plate
"One thing that happens in the scene is that Thor is
pushed into the side of the bridge and it shatters," he
adds. "That raised the question, what is it made of? Is
it light? Is it physical? It took many iterations to get it
to feel right."
RSP also contributed to a scene featuring Hela's
troop of skeleton soldiers, which again involved the
use of digital characters. Additionally, artists created
a 3D version of Thor's famous hammer for a scene
where it is crushed by Hela.
Despite the project's complexity, lengthy schedule,
and growing shot list, the work proceeded smoothly.
Mackintosh attributes that to the unique structure
of RSP's production pipeline. Its integration of
animation, character development and compositing
facilitates collaboration between departments and
allows the studio to turn out iterations and finished
"Animation and creatures are separate entities
at many studios, but we've unified the departments
in a single smooth
pipeline," Mackintosh Hela battles Thor
says. "When working
to deliver shots, there
is always a lot of back
and forth between the
teams, and we feel
it's vital to keep them
Howe notes that the
cohesiveness of the
RSP team (most senior
artists have been with the studio for years) also
promotes efficiency and delivers cost savings.
"As this was our first Marvel Studios show, we
wanted to give it our best effort and ensure that
everything we delivered was spectacular and
exceeded expectations," says Howe. "The results are
a testament to the dedication and creativity of our
artists, and the strength of our pipeline in managing
photo-real creature animation; complex, interactive
lighting and look development. It's a big step forward
Rising Sun Pictures department heads included
Senior VFX Supervisor Tom Wood, Executive
Producer Gill Howe, DFX Supervisor Noah Vice,
2D Lead Noah Burnheim, VFX Supervisor Dennis
Jones, Head of Creatures Tim Mackintosh, Head of
Layout Damian Doenning, On-Set VFX/Concept/
Pre-vis Adam Paschke and Head of Lighting/Look
Development Shane Aherne.
BR Remote Extends
BR Remote Ltd, the manufacturer of BRADLEY remote
controlled camera equipment, recently showed a new set
of mini cameras in the Camball3 family...
hese new Camball3 models feature greater
precision in the remote control, completely
smooth movement, and links to a computer.
The new cameras have 20x optical zoom and
use a new Sony Exmor 2.4 Megapixel sensor which
matches well with the output from larger cameras.
They all provide full HD images at 50Hz and 60Hz
BR Remote has added an LCD display to the side of
the cameras, which gives the operator many pages
of status information to aid setting up and fault
diagnosis. There is a fault log page which flags up any
errors. Many of these are automatically dealt with by
the unit on a 'best fit' basis, always aware that 'the
show must go on'.
There are now three new cameras in the family -
Camball3-S, Camball3-X and Camball3-XM, which
all have different positioning and control features.
Camball3-S is the standard camera with the latest
Camball3-X is for stage shows and concert tours.
It is a 16-bit DMX controlled camera with infra-
red mode for low-light, and eight
DMX channels for Pan, Tilt, Zoom
and Focus and Iris. Paint can be
done as usual via the Bradley
standard system. The camera can
be integrated with the master
show computer which is a common
requirement of top show facilities
Camball3-XM is built for
automation in TV production.
This camera offers extremely
accurate motion control using
BR M* or 'Free D' 24-bit control
for Pan, Tilt, Zoom and Focus, Iris and Paint. This
system can be controlled by computer and enables
more exact matching to a computer generated
background or CGI. This camera will interest smaller
studios that want the same control and automation
as the large broadcasters. The Camball3-XM also
provides a continuous 'Free D' metadata output for
VR and AR.
Both the Camball3-X
and the Camball3-XM
can be used for autotracking to follow a particular
artist and an inbuilt Predictive
Move Smoothing (PMS) feature
ensures a natural movement from A to B.
With both models, the operator can also take over
and control the camera by a joystick to correct a
positon, and then allow the camera to revert to DMX
BR Remote also showed its Proteân, a large
L-shaped pan and tilt camera head which offers
similar software and motion control features.