VFX Fall Preview 2010: 10 Movies to Watch
The first of the two-part finale, directed once again by David Yates, in which Harry and his friends finally confront Voldemort. Vfx is divided between Double Negative, Framestore, MPC, Cinesite, Rising Sun and others. "Part I is a very different Harry Potter film," explains Tim Burke, the overall visual effects supervisor. "It's a drama-led road story about three kids -- I don't think you see Hogwarts once in the whole film; it's set around the whole of Great Britain -- and all the effects once again are hopefully designed to enhance the story but not take over, apart from the big chase at the beginning, which is a bit of eye candy. The rest of it is seamless.
"We've punctuated the film with major sequences: some character animation. We see Kreacher and Dobby; and Framestore has taken over the work of Dobby from ILM and we've updated the look; and I think we've done some pretty nice character animation; Kreacher is a fantastic little character. Using actors to the play the characters, shooting reference in HD and then hand-animation (there's no motion capture).
"And then there's the chase where we see six of the characters turn themselves into Harry Potters, so we end up with seven, and leave Privet Drive and end up in a big aerial battle with Death Eaters, which culminates with a motorbike chase through a tunnel and subsequent battle with Voldemort. There's lots of CG environments, CG digi-doubles and a mixture of stunt work and face replacements. It's pretty much everything."
Oh, yes, Burke believes there's a good chance we'll see The Deathly Hallows in IMAX 3-D, too.
In the 3-D sequel to the ground-breaking Disney film, Kevin Flynn (Jeff Bridges) returns to help his son take on an even more dangerous version of the digital world he created, with far more advanced vehicles, weapons, landscapes and a ruthless avatar. Joe Kosinski makes his directorial debut, and Digital Domain has raised the bar beyond its Oscar-winning Benjamin Button work. "The Clu character, right off the bat, because it's a younger version of the Jeff Bridges character, is going to be the most challenging thing we've ever done and certainly having to finish it in 3-D makes it even more challenging," admits Eric Barba, DD's visual effects supervisor. "It means we have to push everything we knew from our Button experience further to try and work as seamlessly."
Indeed, Bridges is the driving emotional force for Clu. But youthening entails fundamental procedural changes at Digital Domain (and no, Bridges did not wear his beard during the capture sessions). "Jeff wanted to act on set with the other actors so we had to come up with a different way to capture his footage," adds Steve Preeg, animation supervisor. "We went with the four cameras on the helmet and had to write internal software on how to convert that information of points moving in space to our rig. The rig is very similar to Button's, with a few modifications, updates and changes."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.