London -- Cinesite announced that it has completed visual effects for RoboCop, released in the U.K. February 7, and in the U.S. February 12.
A remake of the 1987 original, this is the fourth RoboCop film to be made. Directed by José Padiha for MGM/Columbia Pictures, the film stars Joel Kinnaman in the title role alongside Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton and Samuel Jackson.
In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy (Kinnaman) -- a loving husband, father and good cop -- is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.
Cinesite’s award of work involved RoboCop’s suit, a key aspect of RoboCop’s character. Production VFX Producer and Supervisor Dean Wright and James E. Price tasked Cinesite’s team, led by Cinesite VFX Supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp, with adjusting Robocop’s silhouette and adding internal mechanics to specific areas. The main areas of the suit which required the addition of mechanics were the shoulders, neck, elbows and knees.
Rather than replacing localized areas of the suit, it was more time and cost-effective to replace it entirely in most instances, creating a CG version closely matched to the original. The first stage in this process involved creating a clean plate by removing the whole suit from the head down. A CG suit was rigged and animated to enhance RoboCop’s mechanical gait and robotic movements from the actor’s original performance. Having a real suit in the original plate as reference was helpful for texturing and lighting the CG. For a few shots the team also created a damaged version of the suit, complete with dirt and tiny scratches.
“It was a pleasure to work with Dean on RoboCop,” says Simon Stanley-Clamp. “We completed a large body of photoreal suit work in a very short amount of time, which in many instances is seen very close up. I think the work stands up well and is a testament to the talents of our team.”