Won­drous Re­sults

Animation Magazine - - Opportunities -

AMPC pulls out all the stops to cre­ate iconic bat­tles in places real and fic­tional for the break­out comic-book movie hit By Trevor Hogg.

n iconic fe­male su­per­hero gets ac­quainted with the greed and vi­o­lence of mankind when Ger­man sol­diers in­vade her is­land home­land and she jour­neys to Europe in an ef­fort to bring World War I to an end. Un­der the di­rec­tion of film­maker Patty Jenk­ins ( Mon­ster) and su­per­vi­sion of Bill Westen­hofer ( Life of Pi), MPC Vis­ual Ef­fects Su­per­vi­sor Jes­sica Nor­man over­saw the beach bat­tle, no man’s land and Bel­gian vil­lage se­quences fea­tured in Warner Bros.’ DC Comics adap­ta­tion, Won­der Woman.

While try­ing to cap­ture Amer­i­can spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), Ger­man sol­diers en­counter mil­i­tary re­sis­tance on The­myscira from the Ama­zons, who had res­cued Trevor from a plane crash.

“They had found on the east coast of Italy an im­pres­sive cliff at the back­end of the beach,” says Nor­man. “It was not prac­ti­cal to shoot that be­cause it was nar­row and hard to get to, so they ended up shoot­ing on the west coast of Italy on two beaches and dropped in the cliffs. The beaches we were shoot­ing at weren’t big enough. We had to do a longer beach then re­place and ex­tend the wa­ter.”

The bat­tle oc­curs in the day­time. “We were shoot­ing there in April and through­out the day the light­ing was chang­ing a lot. It meant that we couldn’t have one light­ing setup and ren­der the whole scene.”

A lot of time was spent in roto an­i­ma­tion. “The two stunt dou­bles for Diana (Gal Gadot) had dif­fer­ent pro­por­tions with each other and Gal Gadot,” says Nor­man. “It gets tricky when you do work on face re­place­ments. Of­ten you can’t just re­place the face be­cause the neck, chin and even how it fits on the shoul­ders is chang­ing.”

The weapon of choice for the Ama­zons is the ar­row. “Quite a few of them are not just shoot­ing one, but three at a time,” says Nor­man. “It’s more an­i­ma­tion work be­cause you get to ac­tu­ally see the ar­row. It ends up be­ing a char­ac­ter.

Com­pli­cat­ing mat­ters were edi­to­rial changes. “At that stage, they had not al­ways de­cided on the take or what ver­sion would be used, so there were times where we didn’t know ex­actly what the light­ing would be. You do your best try­ing to match the light­ing with the green­screen stage. Some­times what we ended up do­ing was re­plac­ing some of the live ac­tion to get the right kind of light­ing and for things to match.”

Nor­man adds: “If the beach bat­tle had been shot en­tirely on a green­screen stage, it would have looked dif­fer­ent. Per­son­ally, I much pre­fer when you do it like this, be­cause there’s a real out­door feel­ing.”

Smoke and Mir­rors Diana crosses through no man’s land to at­tack the Ger­man sol­diers. “That scene was par­tic­u­larly tough to shoot,” says Nor­man. “It was Novem­ber-De­cem­ber time in Lon­don and we were so cold in a muddy field. It’s par­tic­u­larly re­ward­ing that the scene turned out nice.”

The Al­lied and Ger­man trenches were built along with no man’s land at Leaves­den Stu­dios. “When you fly across, it is fully CG,” says Nor­man. “There was green­screen at ei­ther end of the Ger­man and Al­lied trenches that we ex­tended. They shot Gal Gadot on a tread­mill on a green­screen stage where we ended up hav­ing to re­place her shoes be­cause she was wear­ing train­ers. Then we did a CG en­vi­ron­ment to put be­hind her.”

“On set, they shot with a lot of prac­ti­cal ef­fects, like ex­plo­sions, but we added a lot more,” says Nor­man. “Her shield had in­ter­ac­tive sparks go­ing off of it and vi­brated to mak­ing it feel more real. On top of that, we added a lot of tracer fire, ground im­pacts and in­ter­ac­tive light­ing. Be­cause there were so many trac­ers, we ended up an­i­mat­ing and light­ing them in order to get in­ter­ac­tive light­ing onto the char­ac­ters and en­vi­ron­ment.”

The prin­ci­pal pho­tog­ra­phy for the se­quence fol­lowed closely the ex­ten­sive pre­viz. “We had a good

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