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Tron: Legacy Hosted at Digital Domain

Disney hosted a TRON: LEGACY preview at Digital Domain over the weekend, which included the screening of rough footage of the first 20 minutes (not to be discussed at this time), along with panel discussions with key filmmakers and talent.

Disney hosted a TRON: LEGACY preview at Digital Domain over the weekend, which included the screening of rough footage of the first 20 minutes (not to be discussed at this time), along with panel discussions with key filmmakers and talent.

"We really swung for the fences technology wise between the suits and the digital characters and the 3-D cameras," admitted first-time director Joe Kosinski, who is in the home stretch for the Dec. 17 release. "We took three leading-edge technologies and combined them for one film to serve this story we wanted to tell, and when everything works together, you can make a stunning image and take people to another [place]. But, with that many different technologies on set, where one system goes down, it brought everything to a halt. So it was a very challenging shoot, but it was worth it: I think we made the right choice to push it."

Eric Barba, the visual effects supervisor from Digital Domain, said he doesn't view the work as traditional vfx. "To me, I feel like I've been a creative partner from the very beginning with Joe. And DD has been a partner to help bring the production to life. A large part, of course, is happening virtually here and through our five outsourced partners and our other company in Vancouver. As far as the stereo aspect, both Joe and I had never done a stereo movie before and we did our homework and just had to plan out as best we could and we looked at it in bite size chunks, and we wanted to make sure that all the previs was in 3-D, so we could literally cut the movie together and watch it. So the kinds of things you worry about in 3-D, for example, if you cut it too quick, you don't really get to enjoy the 3-D aspect, you don't get to see into the world and take it in for a second. We could adjust those little things. If we pushed our convergence or our interocular too far and it cuts, that hurts. And we would pull it back and we made a conscious effort to keep the audience comfortable while watching this movie."

Designing the helmets and the costumes "in a real product design sense," was the biggest challenge for Neville Page (AVATAR, STAR TREK), who is known more for his creature work. "They were very, very specific; every little detail had to be resolved. But we had to make them work practically, they had to be safe, they had to perform by themselves and had to allow the actors to perform in them… Sketching in 3D [using ZBrush] is not innovative by itself, but how we used it in the production pipeline was very innovative where, as you sketching around, you're forced to be more honest with your design and it's a faster process."

For Jeff Bridges, the biggest challenge, not surprisingly, was doing the performance capture sessions for his younger-looking avatar, Clu 2. "I never thought I'd make a movie where no cameras were being used. It's very bizarre and it's a challenge. As an actor, I really enjoy costumes and makeup and sets and that kind of informs your performance. So, when you don't have them, it pushes you back to when you were a little kid and you have to imagine what that stuff is like. So that was pretty fascinating."

Steve Lisberger, director of the ground-breaking TRON, said the difference between the two films is that while the first was about the overthrow of mainframes, the sequel explores the world of simulation and perfection "to shed light on the real world: Let technology do what it does best, but does [it] bring us closer together or divide us?"

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