Resident Evil Has 3-D Afterlife
For the fourth entry in the Resident Evil franchise, they've gone stereoscopic with Afterlife, using the Vince Pace 3-D rig from Avatar in conjunction with the Sony F35, which is also the tandem being used on Tron: Legacy. In fact, Toronto-based Mr. X (under the supervision of Dennis Berardi, the company president) has been working on both stereoscopic features.
In Afterlife, Alice (Milla Jovovich) rescues the survivors of the T-virus outbreak in LA, and they combat the head of the Umbrella Corp. (Shawn Roberts). Mr. X did around 300 shots, but, because of the volume of work and tight schedule, called on Montreal's Rodeo Effects, Toronto's Rocket Science and India's Anibrain for the remaining 200. Lots of zombies, of course, though with much more detailed in textures, and the overall experience director Paul W.S. Anderson was after was like the first-person shooter game.
Not surprisingly, Berardi says the biggest challenge was working in 3-D. "It is basically three times the work," he suggests, "where your data management and rendering requirements alone can pose difficult technical challenges. We had to invest in new rendering processors, more disk space, 3-D stereoscopic critical evaluation workstations and artist level viewing tools just so we could work in 3-D. Also, the creative design side was challenging. We had to learn to design effects where we take into account the dimensional aspect of the experience."
Afterlife certainly heightens the experience for us, too. "It puts the audience in the middle of the action," Berardi concedes. "This can be tricky because the experience should be fun and dimensional but never uncomfortable. If the 3-D is too aggressive, it can become annoyingly uncomfortable to the eyes. Our goal was to present big action and a fully dimensional and new experience. At times, we had to tone things down and ease off on the dimension just to give the audience a break and so that the bigger moments played with impact when they did come. We were a little concerned about the audience becoming immune to the dimensionality if we did not vary it and go deeper in some scenes and flatter in others."