MPC creates more than 200 VFX shots for an action-packed Moon landing sequence that opens the sequel to director Roland Emmerich’s classic 1996 movie.
MPC’s team, led by VFX Supervisor Sue Rowe, CG Supervisor Chris Downs and 2D Supervisor Sean Konrad, worked closely with Production VFX Supervisor Volker Engel to create more than 200 shots for Independence Day: Resurgence. MPC opens the film with an action packed sequence based on the Moon. The scene begins with the arrival of a new weapon to the “Earth Space Defense Station” and finishes with the Alien Mother ship destroying most of the planet on its way to Earth.
MPC built the moon, which includes 2 main lunar environments, the “Sea of Tranquility” and the “Van de Graff Crater.” For this, the team researched Nasa photography, used production concept art and Hubble references for views from the Moon to Earth. The team studied the properties of the moon’s surface to ensure the simulations were geologically representative. This also helped make the destruction of the organic surfaces look photo-real. The IDR production team supplied concepts of the Cannon on the Moon Base, MPC built the 300m tower in high detail plus hundreds of other assets to the surface including smaller buildings, CG lunar vehicles including the Moon tug, moon buggies, fighter Jets, digital doubles of David (Jeff Goldblum) and Jake (Liam Hemsworth) and the moon cannon. Smaller details such as lunar dust particles, flashing landing lights, tire tracks and footprints were added to the powdery surface.
As our heroes investigate an Alien crash site the gigantic Mother Ship appears, ploughing into the moon’s surface creating a meteor storm of debris and lunar soil heading straight for them. Live action plates were shot in a studio against blue screen, with partial set builds for the lunar surface. The actors were on wires to simulate the differences in gravity. As the destruction starts we switch to full CG digi-doubles of the characters in their space suits, created using detailed scans and photographs of the actors.
Ultimately the Moon Cannon proves no defense against the huge Alien cannon and the Mothership’s Beam demolishes the Moon base with its green laser, synonymous with the first movie. MPC’s FX team used Real flow and Houdini to recreate the Iconic green beam. MPC’s final shot is a full CG shot of the Mother ship detonating 8 “Orbital Defense Satellites” in one enormous blast.