Victoria Alonso Talks VFX Production, Marvel and The Avengers
If you look at Iron Man, it’s very much grounded in today’s Los Angeles. Iron Man 2, partly in New York, Thor in New Mexico only for the time that he comes to Midgard, which is Earth. The first time we ventured out in creating a world of one of the realms, when we created Asgard, that was a huge undertaking and also a big risk for us. We took a lot of time and care in making sure that’s exactly as we hoped the fans wanted to see it. Because it’s one thing to see it in the written page and another thing is to see it in moving form.
Captain America, a period piece, if you would, a retro sci-fi film. And again, a completely different palate than Thor, or Iron Man or Hulk. And yet the same amount of care and same amount of detail. The mother of all mothers, which is The Avengers, is just the collection of all of them in our world.
DS: Has your creative process changed considerably over the course of these different productions?
VA: You know, our creative process really hasn’t changed, it has solidified. Before, we were finding our groove on how each and every one of us work in our team. Then from there you bring 9 to 13 companies to come and help you. So, you've got to find your groove with each and every guest that comes to the table. I think that I can say internally, we really know how we operate. Then it’s just trying to get the other facilities to play our way of playing. The amount of time [to make a film] has lessened so that makes it a little more difficult to still get the same quality of work that we’ve always wanted to have, and deliver it on the release date that everyone said it should be delivered.
On top of that, not only do we take time off for the post period but we add stereo [stereoscopic 3-D], which is like that big lump of weight you carry up the hill. You have the same amount of time and you have to cover the same amount of distance but now you’re just heavier. It’s remarkable how much it can add. But if stereo is needed in order to make sure that the fans get what they want, then we will start early. So, on both Thor and Captain America, as on The Avengers, we didn’t shoot in stereo 3-D, we used a conversion house and we did very, very early delivery.
We started delivering minutes in October prior to the May or the July release. So they get a chance to figure out their pipelines and figure out where our lighting is taking them. You know light plays a huge part into how you dimensionalize and find the depth of the scene.
Sometimes there is a little bit of waste because scenes change, but by and large I think it’s allowed us to release the film and protect the quality of the imagery.
DS: Better, faster, less expensive, you get to pick two. There is tremendous pressure involved in making films of this scale. How does this affect multiple projects, multiple vendors on each film, potentially the same vendors working on pieces on different films? Everything is really in flux all the time. How is this changing the way you guys are making films?