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Photon VFX Sets Sail With Ghost Ship

Australian visual effects company Photon VFX, best known for its work on SCOOBY DOO and FINAL FANTASY, was the effects company behind the main character in the Warner Bros. horror flick GHOST SHIP -- the ship itself. The effects laden film is the largest feature film project to be shot and had all visual effects produced entirely in Australia. Photon was selected as the principal contractor for all visual effects, which allowed the company to utilize its full spectrum of services including CGI, animation, miniatures, live-action, prosthetics, pyrotechnics and aerial, underwater and motion control cinematography. Filmed in Queensland, Australia, GHOST SHIP tells the story of a boat salvage crew that discovers the eerie remains of a grand passenger liner, thought lost for more than 40 years, in a remote region of the Bering Sea. This ship, the Antonia Graza, was modeled on the real life luxury liner the Andrea Doria. Photon created a detailed 35 foot 1/20th scale model of the ship enabling the exterior shots to be a combination of CG, miniatures and live-action footage. "There are plenty of shots dealing with the ship combining many different layers," said Richard Mirisch, co-producer, GHOST SHIP. "We use visual effects to enhance physical effects shots. The picture is more dependant on combining practical, miniature and CG elements rather than an exclusive reliance on just CGI. I think our audience will be blown away by what they see." One of the unique effects featured in the film was the transition of the decrepit ballroom of the modern day Antonia Graza back to its pristine original state. Photon developed and manufactured a circular track for its Milo motion control rig in order to create this crucial transitional scene. The ballroom slowly returns back to its original 1962 appearance -- complete with ghost patrons -- while the camera steadily orbits around the room. The ballroom sequence involved Photons crew filming 80 separate shots that were layered together to build the final seamless effect. Dark Castle Entertainments GHOST SHIP stars Julianna Margulies, Ron Eldard, Desmond Harrington, Isaiah Washington and Gabriel Byrne and is a Warner Bros. Pictures presentation in association with Village Roadshow Pictures and NPV Entertainment. The film is produced by Joel Silver, Robert Zemeckis and Gil Adler and directed by Steve Beck. GHOST SHIP premiered in the U.S. and Canada on October 25, 2002. It is currently in theaters in Australia and parts of Europe.