Double Negative Decodes Da Vinci Code
In a central scene set in Westminster Abbeys Chapter House, Langdon and Neveu are forced at gunpoint to decode one of the key puzzles of the story. The scene, actually filmed at Lincoln Cathedral in Lincolnshire, U.K., gave Double Negative the creative license to explore Langdons famous puzzle-solving mind on film. Desperately searching for a solution to the cryptex, Langdon uses his eidetic memory to recall the exact details of Newtons tomb in an adjacent room in order to solve the riddle. To visually represent this thought process Double Negative used a combination of multiple motion control passes of the full size Newtons tomb model and a digital replica of specific parts of the tomb, which appears before Langdon. This enabled impossible camera moves through the tomb. As Langdon stands alone in the Louvre, working toward a solution, Double Negative created an otherworldly animation of stars and planets to symbolize the information unfolding in Langdons imagination.
The sequence was enhanced by chromatic aberration to give the final highly polished yet dramatic look that signifies to the audience that this is all occurring in Langdons minds eye. The key here was flexibility, said Riddle. Its a sequence where its difficult to know exactly what is needed - so we were on hand to constantly refine the scene until the filmmakers were happy.
Toward the films climax, Langdon is excitedly following a series of brass plaques in the streets of Paris that lead him to the Louvre. On his realization that the essence of his quest lies in a hidden chamber beneath the famous glass pyramid the camera swoops from Langdon through the glass and down into the chamber below. The immediacy with which this moment of epiphany strikes Langdon requires this swooping shot, yet without actually dismantling the glass pyramid, it would have been impossible. Double Negatives team stepped in to create a full-CG realization of the inverted glass pyramid that was matched into the shot. In fact, the only filmed element was Langdon himself; the rest is entirely digital. After the camera has plunged through the glass pyramid and entered the smaller marble pyramid at the base, the shot combines into an interior environment that was a combination of motion control camera passes.
Langdon and Neveu find themselves traveling just South of Scotlands capital to continue on the path of discovery to Roslyn Chapel. Quite at odds to the picturesque Scottish highland, Roslyn Chapel has actually been enclosed by industrial scaffolding since 2000. As an important location in the film, Double Negatives task was to restore the chapel to its former glory by digitally removing the scaffolding and restoring the building to its state prior to the beginning of the restoration work. Double Negatives team created a full CG model of the chapel and digital matte paintings for exterior shots, which were used in conjunction with a 1/5-scale miniature (which was provided by Mattes & Miniatures).
Since its formation in 1998, Double Negative (www.dneg.com) has firmly established itself as a leading player in visual effects production worldwide. Located in the heart of Londons Soho, the company is a pre-eminent visual effects studio with more than 40 feature films to its credit.