A Spiritual Update
Sony and Iloura dig up hints of the past while putting a new twist on the effects behind the rebooted By Karen Idelson.
Ghostbusters Ghostbusters on set and also using the lines of writers written on the set while shooting in his work, which is great for capturing comedy that feels alive and genuine. Visual effects are often planned months in advance, down to the minutest details. But there was a middle ground.
In order to give the actors a deeper experience and the visual-effects crew better on-set references, Travers and his crew created a live “Gertrude,” the first ghost seen in the new Ghostbusters, on set. An actress was cast in the role and LED lighting was sewn into her costume. The presence of a “live” ghost on set changed things for everyone working on the movie. When the lights were turned down just before shooting, it made the ghost on set seem more real, explained Travers.
“We had a lot of additional information when we went back to it in post,” says Travers. “Lighting, movement — and the actors behave differently when there’s someone really there on set with them.”
Travers also used a drone covered with LEDs to simulate a ghost hovering above the actors in the film. It was a new way to get a reference for a ghostly presence.
In addition to new versions of Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, new characters like Mayhem, the ghost from the rock-concert scene, also demanded their own approach. And lloura, one of the visual-effects houses on the new film, took care to make his look fit the film and Feig’s vision for the story.
“Mayhem was demonic but in a really goofy way,” says Glenn Melenhorst, VFX supervisor at Iloura. “He was painted like a puppy dog but never really threatening and the performance for this characters was all directed that way by Paul.”
Iloura, along with other visual-effects houses, worked on the removal of LED lighting from actors, digital replacements and cleaning plates throughout the film.
While visual-effects tools have come a long way since the first film, Feig stayed focused on the comedy and cast performances and wanted the effects to support this take on the film. Ivan Reitman, who directed the first film, was also focused on comedy but thrilled to see some of the new approaches to his classic characters.
“When he saw some of the things we were doing he was very excited,” says Travers. “He’d say he wished he could have done some of those same things in the first film or would say he loved what we were doing, and that felt good.” [
Visual effects on
Star Trek Beyond boldly go to new places while paying homage to the franchise’s storied past on the 50th anniversary of the original classic TV series. By Bill Desowitz.
DNeg’s art direction team took production designer Tom Sanders’ master plan with 40 Dubai building structures and modeled them with their City Engine software. This generated a new assortment of buildings with multiple styles based on those building blocks. Throughout, they were able to use the Dubai plates and render arms into that environment.
“When you looked out, there would be other arms suggesting other worlds,” Chiang said. However, when they thought of designing Vulcan and Klingon arms, it became too difficult to implement their unique cultural references. “So we kept the arms more neutral,” Chiang says.
Yet Yorktown retained the iconic Federation look with whites and blues. Shooting the live action in Dubai, the thinking was if you were on an arm during the day there was atmospheric haze in the distance to prevent claustrophobia. And when looking out onto a beautiful star field at night, they rendered the atmospherics very low.
For the final G-force battle between Kirk (Chris Pine) and Krall (Idris Elba), they used greenscreen and lots of wirework. The combatants flipped 180 degrees and jumped through rooms. However, the set was like an open shell with all glass removed so there wouldn’t be any distracting reflections, and the CG environment was placed inside. Bill Desowitz is crafts editor of Indiewire (www.indiewire.com) and the author of James Bond Unmasked (www.jamesbondunmasked.com).