3D World

Anatomy of a Pitch­pole

Milk VFX’S sara Ben­nett Breaks down the ‘pitch­pole’ Vis­ual ef­fects shot in adrift

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1. Hit­ting the wave

One of our key chal­lenges was an­i­mat­ing a be­spoke 100-foot wave by hand. The wave had to be placed specif­i­cally to tie in per­fectly with the tim­ing of the live-ac­tion plate, to em­pha­sise the huge scale and mass of the body of water, and add to the cli­mac­tic apex of the pitch­pole shot.

2. Tran­si­tions

We also had to seam­lessly tran­si­tion from one live-ac­tion plate to an­other with­out any cuts. We used a CG cam­era that had to ro­tate 180 de­grees, start­ing from a shot of the live-ac­tion plate look­ing up at the wave from be­hind the boat, to an­other plate that was on­board the boat look­ing back at the wheel of the ship and the ac­tors.

3. In­side the boat

We then tran­si­tion into the in­te­rior cabin of the Hazana. For this part of the shot, we were given a plate of a ro­tat­ing green box that im­i­tated the lay­out of the real Hazana’s cabin, which had Tami’s (Shai­lene Wood­ley) stunt dou­ble in­side. This seam­lessly fol­lows on from the big wave that hits the boat.

4. CG in­te­rior

We made a fully CG in­te­rior of the Hazana based on a LIDAR and pho­to­scans. We used this to re­place the green­screen and an­i­mated a digi-dou­ble of Tami that we used to stitch be­tween real Tami and stunt Tami. To add to the im­pact of Tami be­ing flung around we gen­er­ated water sims and added CG props as well as strong in­ter­ac­tive light­ing.

5. Un­der­wa­ter

The last part of this com­plex shot is a tran­si­tion to our un­der­wa­ter en­vi­ron­ment. This was a full CG shot, with the ex­cep­tion of a takeover into a live-ac­tion plate of Richard dis­ap­pear­ing into the depths of the ocean, af­ter he is knocked un­con­scious by the mast of the boat.

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