Hell in The Pacific
Meanwhile, Iwo Jima in episode eight was an interesting one for Sullivan because they chose to shoot it in a gravel pit in Melbourne and it was all rotoscoped by Digital Dream. "They put the fleet into the background and used a lot of smoke," Sullivan continues. "It lent to the emotion of the whole thing and masked what we didn't want to see. We were using it both as a storytelling tool and a way to set parameters. And so I made the choice -- and everybody agreed that it worked -- to tell the story of the combat on the beach. Interestingly enough, when I looked at the DI, they were able to crush it down and bring a little bit more of the fleet back in. It has a very different feel than Peleliu and has you grinding your teeth a bit."
One of Sullivan's "play things" is a train sequence in episode 10: the coming home episode. "We shot bluescreen of the train with all the action and we were going to shoot background plates in Australia as well, but everything we looked at was too much like Australia, so we decided to shoot plates back here, and we shot all the exterior plates with the new Canon 5D Mark II in video mode and it worked out well when compositing. Iloura created the digital train and the bluescreen composite train exteriors in windows.
"It's one of the few technologically shifted things we did on the project. From a technical point of view, it was interesting because it was a skewed negative in terms of color (Australia has an inherently blue light and they wanted a different look), so it was difficult to match what was in the telecine when they did the HD transfer. And it was hard for us to know if we were in the right spot as we were doing standard film compositing techniques until we took it to the DI bay."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.