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House Comes To Life In 13 Ghosts

The newly released feature film 13 GHOSTS is a state-of-the-art remake of the classic William Castle horror film about a family that inherits a spectacular old house from an eccentric uncle, only to find the house is inhabited by a presence that has the new occupants trapped in their dream home. They eventually realize the house is a riddle, which may contain the key to their salvation. 175 special effects shots were created by visual effects lab Cinesite for the film. "The house is a very contemporary space," says Mike Fink, Cinesite's senior visual effects supervisor on the film. "There's glass and steel everywhere in a rectilinear design that echoes the international style. The walls are almost entirely glass etched with runes and diagrams to protect the living from the ghosts." The exterior of the house never existed in reality, with the exception of a small area by the front door. Virtually all exteriors were computer generated. Interiors were photographed on sets with CG elements added later. All of the elements and animation design of the house and the "clockworks" were created at Manex Visual Effects in northern California prior to Cinesite working on the film. The clockworks, which is entirely computer generated, lies underneath the house and is crucial to the film's climax. Manex modeled and set up the clockworks in Maya and then it was animated and rendered in Renderman at Cinesite. Every shot required match moving and compositing a live-action plate with the machinery. For the clockworks scenes alone, Cinesite put together close to 40 shots. Cineon software was used for the composites.