Director Ridley Scott, whose epic about the Crusades with Orlando Bloom, KINGDOM OF HEAVEN, opens today (May 6, 2005 through Twentieth Century Fox), told VFXWORLD that the hybrid of live action and CGI that predominates the industry today is very dangerous.
He recounted how Doug Trumbull advised him 25 years ago on BLADE RUNNER to shoot live whenever possible, and he only selectively goes digital to enhance reality out of necessity. It isnt easy getting 70,000 troops out there in one shot, Scott admits.
Scott also scoffs at the notion of relying on previs. Everythings up here [in my head] and I can draw. The only kind of previs he dabbles with is when prepping the night before a shot on his wireless tablet.
However, Scott had nothing but praise for the digital effects turned in by Moving Picture Co. (MPC), Double Negative, Framestore CFC, Clear and others, which provided around 800 vfx shots, including the CGI expansion of the Jerusalem set in Morocco. He particularly singled out MPCs motion capture/crowd simulation work during the siege of Jerusalem. The digital work on these crowd scenes is spookily real. You cant tell.
What does Scott recommend in considering CGI? Be brave and dont go twilight. Its very easy to get weird with eternal twilight. You just crush the shit out of it The dangerous thing is when you have that high sun, full bore fog light, thats tricky.