Going for a Limitless Look
Meanwhile, a fractal zoom technique was utilized when the NZT trip starts turning bad and Eddie's sense of time and space fractures. "At one point he's in one place in Manhattan and all of a sudden he starts traveling through the streets and ends up somewhere else in an unexpected way," Schrecker explains. "Again, they shot some push-ins and zoom-outs, but it didn't work. Neil gave us references like Escher and the Seven Nation Army video by The White Stripes.
"So we redesigned it on three Red cameras with different focal lengths so that you're shooting something on the street wide, medium and tight and the resolution stays crisp. And we're controlling the speed of these zooms by scaling this image up so you can go from Fifth Ave. to 42nd Street to 72nd Street simply by layering these things and keeping the speed consistent, which is really what Neil was going for. We took this rig and worked with Richard Rutkowski, who was the second unit DP, and went around New York shooting these plates and stitching together the ones we wanted."
Look, which primarily used Maya, Nuke, After Effects, also did a face replacement. "There's a reshoot action sequence, a chase through a park, and the lead actress couldn't sprint, and they had a double, so we put Abbie Cornish's face on her. Coming off of Black Swan, this is one of our key toolsets now," Schrecker concludes.
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.