The Oscars: ILM Talks Star Trek
RG: We used a tool that they developed called Scripted Millions because we were dealing with bigger and bigger sets of data, which we needed to manage. We knew we were going to be in the same kind of zone as The Maelstrom, so wanted to have a better way of handling that information and also look at using different rendering techniques to develop streaks of light. But another big aspect was the shot design and previs.
Paul Kavanagh: J.J. asked if we could have a go at doing some of the shot design as well as the previs, which is really cool when that kind of thing happens at the studio and we can get in there and put our stamp on it. So Roger, Paul and I would get together and talk about the shots and what we could do to make them interesting and tell the story more clearly. And toward the end, we got a group of 17 animators together when we were doing the third act and we would start prevising this stuff in Maya.
RG: We were also using some camera tools to give an interactive feel to the way the cameras would operate.
You know, we could previs stuff pretty fast because we were using our own assets that we developed for the movie, then once the shot was bought off on, there was just a little cleanup on it and then it was right through our pipeline into rendering, so it wasn't a normal process where you do previs and it's just a visual thing, where another company takes that previs and just copies it again. We would actually do the previs as if we were doing the shot and so the shots came together pretty quickly.
RG: It's just a more efficient way of working.
PK: And we built a team that just weren't animators but we took layout people who had a lot of experience with camera work; we brought them into this one group and one person would be responsible for one shot or a sequence of shots and they would do everything. And there was a lot of cross-over there and they really got a kick out of that. They really felt like they were contributing to the creative aspect of the moviemaking process.
RE: Paul and his guys also spent a lot of time setting up the lighting for the shots because the dramatic lighting played such a large component.
PK: Roger came in after talking to J.J. about doing a strong single source look.