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Epic Fantasy ‘Gods of Egypt’ Taps SolidAnim for Previs

SolidAnim's on-set virtual tracking and visualization system SolidTrack helps previsualize visual effects for director Alex Proyas’ fantasy film featuring ancient Egyptian deities.

PARIS -- SolidAnim, a leader in the development of on-set virtual tracking equipment and visualization software, announced that Alex Proyas' film, Gods of Egypt, utilized SolidAnim's SolidTrack system for its VFX pre-viz. The film opened February 26, 2016 and has grossed $74.6million worldwide as of March 11, 2016.

Gods of Egypt is a fantasy film featuring ancient Egyptian deities. The United States-Australia production was directed by Alex Proyas and stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Chadwick Boseman, Elodie Yung, Courtney Eaton, Rufus Sewell, Gerard Butler, and Geoffrey Rush. Butler plays the god of darkness Set who takes over the Egyptian empire, and Thwaites plays the mortal hero Bek who partners with the god Horus, played by Coster-Waldau, to save the world and rescue his love. Filming took place in Australia under the American Studio Summit Entertainment and distributed by Lionsgate.

The setting of Anubis' temple was filmed at Centennial Park in Sydney, and visual effects were laid over the scene. In the film, the gods in humanoid form are 9 feet (2.7 m) tall and in "battle beast" form are over 12 feet (3.7 m) tall. Proyas used forced perspective and motion control photography to portray the difference in height between the actors portraying the gods and the humans. For the Sphinx, actor Kenneth Ransom portrayed the giant creature via motion capture. For the god Thoth, who can appear as many copies, actor Chadwick Boseman was filmed hundreds of times from different angles. For a scene with many copies of Thoth, other actors took a day to film the scene, where Boseman filmed the scene for three days.

The SolidTrack system was utilized for previz of these scenes while shooting them real-time. Visualizing in live VFX gives the director the exact final result, which is recorded real-time and sent to post-production, resulting in a significant amount of time and financial savings.

Youenn Denis, SolidTrack Operator, was on-set with SolidTrack Operator Neil Jouanjean, supervised by Supervisor of SolidTrack Operations, Isaac Patrouche, during 5 months of filming. 

Youenn Denis noted, "I worked directly with Phil Sullivan, Proof/MoBu Operator, Executive Producer Topher Dow, Video Split Operator Michael Taylor, VFX Producer Jack Geist and VFX Supervisor Eric Durst. They used SolidTrack on-set as it allowed them to accomplish things they were unable to do previously." 

"We utilized SolidTrack to pre-visualize the actors' performance in set with context of designed-but-not-yet-realized CG sets or environments,” commented Topher Dow, Executive Producer. “SolidTrack helped us all onset to get our bearings in an otherwise disorienting expanse of green screen."

SolidTrack is a real time camera tracking solution for recording camera moves and data logging of camera moves on the virtual set.  This simple yet versatile markerless camera tracking system for the film and broadcast industries addresses virtual production needs. SolidTrack's flexibility allows filmmakers to shoot both indoors and outdoors with the same high quality results.

SolidTrack brings a revolutionary approach of shooting providing a more ergonomic and intuitive solution. SolidTrack combines real-time camera tracking and augmented reality previsualizing VFX while shooting. Producers achieve greater control of VFX budgets and timescales, minimizing wastage and ensuring efficient delivery, from previz to the final movie or television show. Comparing to traditional shooting methods, producers save approximately 30% time on a film or television show utilizing SolidTrack.

SolidTrack’s new version includes a box that gathers all tracking and other data in a single wire, which makes the organization of data and global information significantly easier. In addition, a new Genlock feature to genlock SolidTrack tracking data and the film camera has been implemented. This two-way synchronization ensures there are no frame delays.

SolidAnim's SolidTrack system was also utilized on Robert Zemekis' critically acclaimed film, The Walk, Emmy-nominated and Visual Effects Society winner, Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the upcoming Alice in Wonderland 2: Through The Looking Glass, Warcraft, and Ghostbusters 3 films, and has been selected by Lightstorm and Weta Digital for the next two Avatar sequels.

Source: SolidAnim