An Appetite for Effects
“We came up with a solution that was very practical,” Schrecker explains, “and we were able to minimize our footprint and get through it as quickly as we could. Basically, if you were going to do that shot the quote unquote ‘proper way’, you would have a motion control rig that could do a repeatable move, because what you’re doing is one move in the dead world, and one move in the living world.” By virtue of the fact that the set would have to be redressed over the course of a week, however, time forced the team to find a better solution.
“What we did was a Poor Man’s motion control with a steady cam, and we had our cameraman Francois (Archambault) repeat the move on different days with R walking at the same speed and trying to get it as close to a motion control situation as we could.” With twenty takes to choose from, it fell to the LOOK Effects team to find a way to merge the various elements into a seamless sequence. “We picked the best takes that satisfied performance, for Jonathan, and the ones with the best camera moves, for us, and blended them and adjusted. It’s a matter of retiming the plates and cutting and pasting and painting and rotoscoping and tons of stuff like that,” resulting in “a 2D paint solution” for a 3D transition.
The story also called for R to gradually begin to access dreams – something typical zombies never do. “That was one of the earliest things that we talked about with Jonathan,” Schrecker shares. “The question was not only how do we go in and out of the dreams but how are they going to be shot, and ultimately Jonathan and Javier (Aguirresarobe, Cinematographer) came up with some great ideas.” Alternating between POV and third-person shots, they created transitions in which R reconnects with the sunny, colorful world of the living. “It had to be this intense sensory experience so it was playing around with some different designs and particles and things like that. We had some referenced that we looked at that helped us lean towards the tone that Jonathan was going for.”