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SolidAnim Goes Sky-High with ‘The Walk’

On-set virtual tracking equipment and visualization software from Paris-based developer employed for Robert Zemeckis’ critically-acclaimed film, ‘The Walk.’

PARIS -- SolidAnim, a developer of on-set virtual tracking equipment and visualization software, announced that Robert Zemeckis' critically-acclaimed film, The Walk, utilized SolidAnim's SolidTrack system for its VFX previs.

The Walk is a 3D biographical drama film directed by Zemeckis, who also served as screenwriter alongside Christopher Browne. The movie is based on the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on August 7, 1974. The film stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon, James Badge Dale, Ben Schwartz and Steve Valentine. The Walk was released by TriStar Pictures TriStar on September 30, 2015 and has grossed $14 million to date.

Gordon-Levitt shot the climactic wire-walking scenes on a soundstage with re-creations of the top two stories of the tower and a wire approximately 12 feet off the ground that was connected out into a green abyss and was anchored on a pole. The SolidTrack system was utilized for previs of these scenes while shooting them real time. Zemeckis utilized SolidTrack for perspective views of the Twin Towers, which allowed him to get the right frame of the scene.  Visualizing in live VFX gives the director the exact final result, which is recorded in real time and sent to post-production, resulting in a significant amount of time and financial savings.

"I worked directly with the VFX Supervisor Kevin Baillie, the Director of Photography Dariusz Wolski, and Director Robert Zemeckis," noted SolidTrack operator Mickael Partouche, who was on set during filming. "They used SolidTrack on-set as it allowed them to accomplish things they were unable to do previously. As Mr. Zemeckis mentioned recently, the technology has evolved to a place where he could do the movie seamlessly and not have it cost a fortune. The scenes of the actual feat itself are wonderful examples of the art of visual effects combined with great cinematography and a graceful and physically realistic turn by the actor."

SolidTrack is a real-time camera tracking solution for recording camera moves and data logging of camera moves on the virtual set. This simple 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 approach to shooting provids 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. Compared to traditional shooting methods, producers save approximately 30 percent of their 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.

In addition to The Walk, SolidAnim's SolidTrack system was utilized on Emmy-nominated and Visual Effects Society winner Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, the upcoming Alice in Wonderland 2: Through The Looking Glass, Warcraft, Gods of Egypt and has been selected by Lightstorm Entertainment and Weta Digital for the next two Avatar sequels.

Source: SolidAnim

Jennifer Wolfe's picture

Formerly Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network, Jennifer Wolfe has worked in the Media & Entertainment industry as a writer and PR professional since 2003.