cineSync reviews in the Cloud
Friday, 22 February 2013
The amazing VFX on Cloud Atlas were created by multiple facilities in multiple countries, under the watchful eye of Senior VFX Supervisor Dan Glass. Glass's own Method Studios (London, Vancouver and LA) worked on the film along with Trixter (Germany), RISE Visual Effects Studios (Germany), Scanline VFX (Germany and LA), BlueBolt (London), Lola VFX (LA) Industrial Light & Magic (San Francisco), and Exozet Effects (Germany).
The film's 3 directors, Lana and Andy Wachowski (Matrix, Speedracer) and Tom Twyker (Run Lola Run, Perfume) were also separated, with the Wachowskis in Chicago and Twyker in Berlin.
From the article:
"It was a combination of strengths and individuals I have worked with before who I have trust in,” states Dan Glass as to how he chose the visual effects companies. “It was the sort of situation where time was going to be tight in terms of how quickly they wanted to put a temp version of the movie together. We had to spread ourselves across a number of places for that reason. But it was also the nature of what we were trying to do again which was so different and we wanted or were looking for a lot of places that would be part of and collaborate with the design itself. For that reason I reached out to a lot of companies famous for doing that or had the direct experience with that case."
There were shared shots between the VFX vendors. “It certainly was a challenge because in post-production there was one main edit. The Wachowskis went back to Chicago and Tom stayed in Berlin. We had to deal with different continents showing material and getting creative comments back on things."
“We had early talks with Dan Glass to discuss what sequences would best suit our previous experiences virtual locations and digital extensions,” states Method Studios Visual Effects Supervisor Geoffrey Hancock who operates from the company facility situated in Vancouver. “Dan was excited to find a synergistic way in which the various Method Studios locations could cooperate to take best advantage of each of our specialties. Occasionally during production we would have a visit from Dan and spend as much time as we could in our theatre reviewing material and turning around revisions as fast as possible within the day. For the majority of the time we had regular cineSync sessions and would receive annotated still frames with notes."
“Cloud Atlas is a project we strongly wanted to be a part of, since we heard the first rumors about its production,” states Trixter Visual Effects Supervisor Alessandro Cioffi. “We sensed that it could become a sort of milestone in recent cinema history. I've personally read the book and loved it. A few months later I went to Berlin to meet Dan Glass and Marc Kolbe on-set and offered them our collaboration, and finally, we got the great opportunity to contribute to its completion.” The German based VFX facility dealt with Visual Effects Supervisor Stéphane Ceretti. “Right after the first preliminary talks and briefings with Dan, we mainly had contacts with Stef, with whom we had almost daily meetings via cineSync, Skype or telephone. We have worked with them in the past. By now, we have quite a good understanding of their visual wishes and method of work, which helped us to promptly interpret the directions they wanted to go.”
“Exozet Effects has offices in Berlin and at Studio Babelsberg directly opposite from the sound stage where the Wachowskis where shooting,” states Exozet Effects VFX Supervisor and Lead Compositor Falk Gärtner. “I don´t really know how our producer got them over exactly; there might have been some coffee bribes involved! One day they came up into the studio, we showed them around and they talked to some of our team. Then we received a test shot to work on that was a makeup touch up from a sequence. We were also asked to help with some of the post-visualization work after they were done shooting. The post-viz happened inside the production office and we were able to build up a very friendly relationship with them, helping out in every way we could. After completing the test shot and post-viz work, the visual effects production team was happy with the results of our work and started awarding us shot packages.” Gärtner remarks, “We mostly worked with Stéphane and then Dan would come in to sign off on the Final Approval of a shot with the directors. Stéphane was friendly the whole time and explained patiently in a lot of detail what they were looking for. Most communication was happening through cineSync sessions which was helpful... Stéphane and Dan were really specific about the level of quality they wanted to achieve as I’m sure they were under a lot of pressure to deliver the best quality possible to the directors. Overall, it was really good to be pushed that far – it really benefited the film and our team.”
“We had heard about this show and it was great news that a German production company was planning to realize such a challenging project,” states Scanline VFX Executive Visual Effects Producer Ismat Zaidi. “Of course we were very curious to find out more about the script, and be a part of this show. We got in touch with Dan Glasss and met him in Berlin to discuss which parts of the VFX work might be the best match for Scanline.” A multi-media approach was adopted by Dan Glass when articulating what was needed for the movie. “First of all we received breakdowns and concept art, and had a few cineSync sessions with Dan to clarify what the directors wanted and the look they wanted to achieve. Dan sent a lot of references regarding to the look and feel of certain elements, which was helpful. For example he shot references of smoke layers for the transway. Throughout the entire production time we were in close touch with Dan, had regular cineSync sessions to discuss the shots we did in Munich.”
The rest of the very informative and exhaustively researched article (seriously - make a coffee and settle in for half an hour, it's worth it) can be found at Flickering Myth.
The official site for the film is here.