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Behind Jeepers Creepers

Go behind the scenes of Jeepers Creepers with the effects team at E=mc2. Includes step by step explanations and QuickTime movie clips!

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Making creatures just a little more creepy: E=mc2. All images and clips courtesy of and © E=mc2.

With offices in Los Angeles, Toronto and Rio de Janeiro, E=mc2 provides visual effects and video effects for the commercial, television and motion picture industry throughout North and South America. Their commercial clients include such heavy hitters at AT&T, Dell and Xerox and for television their work has been featured in shows like CSI, Malcolm in the Middle, Freaks and Geeks, The Agency and The Fugitive. Their recent film credits include Traffic, American Beauty, the upcoming remake Ocean's Eleven, and the current Jeepers Creepers. E=mc2's visual effects team is specialized in 3D modeling, compositing, digital matte painting and wire removal.

Here the E=mc2 visual effects team outlines their process in creating a few of the effects for Jeepers Creepers, a film that has won praise for being more than the average teen horror flick. Holding the number one box office spot over the Labor Day weekend in America (August 31, 2001 to September 3, 2001), Jeepers Creepers was a surprise for critics and fans alike that found this Florida-based romp frightening and fun -- a campy throw back to the horror films of the '80s. The film's box office now stands at over US$30 million, despite the major box office slow down due to the terrorist attacks suffered by the United States on September 11th.

The Storyline

A brother (Darry) and sister (Trish) are driving back from spring break in Florida. Unknown to them every twenty-third spring, for twenty-three days in this remote corner of Florida a creature comes out of hibernation and must consume what he needs to live. For example, if the creature has a damaged foot, he'll eat a human foot and regenerate a new foot. In Jeepers Creepers the creature needs to regenerate his soul and he has found it in Darry. Scary and gruesome moments occur through the movie as the creature chases the brother/sister team through the Florida outback.

Int. Police Station Creature Reveals Wings

In the ending of Jeepers Creepers, Darry and Trish have been saved by the police. However, the creature has tracked Darry and Trish to the police station and moves in for the kill. As the creature secretly enters the police station, the police men slowly become aware of his presence. Moving in with guns drawn the police try to capture the creature. But the creature strikes first, ripping the heart out of a police officer before he can open fire.

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If you have the view a QuickTime clip!

The Heart

This shot called for the creature to enter from the top of frame and pull out the police officer's heart. As the creature exits the same way he enters, the police officer has a gapping hole in his chest. For this shot to work several different plates needed to be shot.

1 -- A foreground plate with the action of the police officer and the creature dropping in from the top of frame.

2 A background plate of a group of police officers shining flashlights.

3 The hole in the chest element was created by shooting a mannequin with a hole in its chest as grips shined flashlights through the hole.

Comping the Shot

Using Adobe After Effects, compositor Buddy Gheen created a hole in the police officer's chest.

For Buddy to create the illusion of the police officer having a large hole in his chest he first had to cut out the hole in the mannequin element. He then selected a section of the film where the flashlights are shining through and illuminating the hole. Once that element was chosen Buddy comped that element on the back of the police officer. The trick to this shot was tracking the hole on the back of the police officer as he moved from side to side and eventually fell forward.

jeepers03.gifView a QuickTime clip!

Taking to Wing

Later in the film, the creature is trapped! Heavily armed police officers are closing in and its only hope of escape is to use its wings! These shots were the most challenging visual effects shots in the film. Listed below is the order of events in which the shots came together:

1 The art director provides E=mc2 with illustrations of the creature with its wings extended.

2 A 3D modeler creates a wire frame model of the wings. (Software: 3D Studio Max)

3 The Background plates are shot on stage.

4 The wing design is signed off on by the director.

5 The wire frame model is then animated to give the wings life and the director an idea of the movement of the wings in each scene. (Software: 3D Studio Max)

6 At the same time, texture and lighting is added to the wings. (Software: Adobe After Effects)

7 - The wings are now ready to be tracked on the back off the creature. (Software: Scene Genie)

8 Once the director has signed off on the movement, texture, lighting and tracking of the wings it is now ready to composite in to the scene.

9 Comping is the final stage of the VFX shot. At this stage the wings are added to the creature and made to blend into the shot seamlessly. Shadows and final fixes are also added to the shot. (Software: Adobe After Effects)

jeepers04.gifView a QuickTime clip!

Take Off Through The Window

The only escape for the creature is to blast through the window behind him and out in to the night sky. Once again for this shot to work plates needed to be shot.

1 A background plate of the police station with the window being blown out was shot. To create the look of the window exploding a green bag was fired by an air cannon through the window. The bag needed to be green so it could be keyed out during the comping stage.

2 A foreground plate of the creature holding Darry was shot in front of a green screen.

Once the two plates were shot Buddy animated the wings flapping. Once the animation was signed off on by the director, Buddy then tracked the wings on to the back of the creature, and after adding shadows and removing the green from the shot, it was finished!

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