Creating A-Team Mayhem
As for the Long Beach sequence in which the A-Team rides into the harbor (shot in Vancouver) on a cargo ship and tries to scam the baddies, the tracking was difficult so they replaced the ocean with CG water. Rhythm & Hues also supplied a CG ship with 600 containers. The ship gets attacked by a shoulder rocket and starts spilling the containers onto the deck and lists off to the side. Meanwhile, the A-Team tries to ride the avalanche without getting crushed.
According to Guy Williams, visual effects supervisor for Weta, they initially extended the backgrounds in the gun fight after the containers spill onto the dock. "To do this, we created 3D cranes and containers and dressed out the shots while adding in element layers for smoke, fire and debris," Williams explains. "As the scope of the scene grew, Weta was asked to help out with some of the ship shots. By the end, Weta had done most of the shots of the digital ship that involved large explosions or destruction. To do this, we started with an excellent model from R&H of the ship and the crane. This allowed our shots to cut seamlessly with the fine work coming from Bill Westenhofer and his guys at R&H. We fleshed out the environment with further builds of containers and dock dressing and light towers."
The Weta animation team under the leadership of Phillip Cramer animated all of the ship motion and reaction to the explosions as well as the flying containers that were blown into the air. "The FX team used Bullet to simulate smaller debris coming out of the flying containers," Williams continues. "Weta also added in fluid sim water to sit the ship in (and later to create large waves as the ship reacts to the explosions). The fluid sim software Weta used is Naiad. We also added in explosions using our solver and Maya's solver to sim the fireballs and then using our rendering system to render the proper temperatures into the fireballs Since everything (including the smoke plumes) was created in 3D, the lighting could be continuous. This means that a fireball would light up the ship, the smoke around the ship and the water all properly. This allowed us to create fully digital shots that felt more photographic and integrated. "
Digital Domain was responsible for a sequence in which the A-Team hijacks a cargo container on board a truck being guarded by a convoy of Hummers and a limo with a large mini-gun. At the end of the sequence, the truck and container fly through the air and crash into the Tigress River. Then they get rescued by Murdock (Sharlto Copeley) flying a V 22 Osprey, developed for multi-service combat operations.