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Level 256 Provides Visual Effects for 'Bourne Legacy'

Level 256 Visual Effects produced 126 VFX shots for Universal Pictures’ “The Bourne Legacy.”

Los Angeles, CA -- Level 256 Visual Effects announced that it has produced 126 VFX shots for Universal Pictures’ The Bourne Legacy. The new film was released on August 10.

For The Bourne Legacy, Level 256 produced a diverse array of visual effects, consisting of general 2D and 2.5D work. The bulk of this work included a complex and extensive series of rig and wire removals, especially for a scene involving a rooftop chase sequence in the Philippines in which actors ended up on the trussing of a massive billboard. For this sequence, the actors performed their own stunts, as they jumped over—and down the sides of—buildings, as well as battled atop this giant billboard. Level 256 had to remove dozens of rigs and trusses (a "city of rigs") that were used for safety reasons by the actors. Level 256 also removed multiple follow cams for this sequence.  

Level 256’s primary task was to remove all of the wires, complex support structures, and additional camera personnel and equipment that were strewn all across this Philippines set and skyline. True to the “Bourne” cinematic style, some of these shots were very difficult, as the camera movement made paint impossible for many of the shots on which Level 256 worked. Some shots that were “simple wire removals” ended up needing matte painted sky domes, 3D projection and multi-plane plate rebuilding.

Other VFX shots produced by Level 256 included TV monitor comps, computer screen replacements, video look treatments, a 2.5D passport replacement series, two blood removal shots that ended up becoming partial face replacements, various general production clean up, and other miscellaneous 2D work.

 Hal Couzens, one of The Bourne Legacy Visual Effects Supervisors, said, “What a pleasure it was to work with the talented artists of Level 256 under the quality leadership of Scott and Seth. They turned around a high quantity of shots in a very short time, all to a consistently excellent quality. As our delivery schedule tightened, I found myself turning to Level 256 with ever more tricky shots, as after the first 100 shots they’d won my confidence. They delivered creatively and very cost effectively every time, often on the first version--which can be a huge help to short schedule shows. Their work on the character Larx’s blood reduction was a very welcome surprise beyond what we expected was possible at the 11th hour!”

Level 256 owner Scott Davids, who has been involved in the contribution of VFX to many of the biggest hit films of the past decade, said “Overall, working on The Bourne Legacy was a fantastic experience for us. We had worked with some of the crew on previous shows, so from the start I felt like we were all on the same page, both from a technical and creative standpoint. Hal Couzens and his team were extremely organized and detail oriented, and Hal was very accessible and straightforward. His notes were spot on, and when there was additional feedback, he was able to communicate exactly what the filmmakers wanted out of the shot to get to final. It was a fun experience, and I think everyone here at Level 256 did great work.”

Added Seth Kleinberg, Head of Production for Level 256, “Working with Hal Couzens, Senior VFX Coordinator Harrison Marks, and the rest of the team on The Bourne Legacy was a joy from the beginning to the finish. The collaboration could not have gone smoother. It just goes to show that given the right infrastructure even smaller shops like ours can compete with the big boys in this volatile visual effects climate. Hard work, good communication, and a streamlined pipeline go a long way. For this show, we enhanced our pipeline with a variety of in-house tools that allowed procedural solutions for similar shots. This ensured a smooth delivery with quick turnarounds for the compressed schedule we were up against.”

Source: Level 256 Visual Effects

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Jennifer Wolfe is Director of News & Content at Animation World Network.