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February 28, 2005

Oscar Night - Winner: Visual Effects


John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier

Congratulations to the Spiderman 2 Visual Effects Team. The work they did on Doc Oc's Tenticles and the vfx during the Train Sequence was exceptional, but it's not something we haven't seen before... think of the Matrix Sentienels. They also did a lot of the digital backgrounds that were created and developed in the first Spiderman. The digital backgrounds still look amazing and much more perfected in 2, but of the 3 nominees, my vote went to I-Robot, and my true vote went to The Day After Tomorrow, its a crime that this film was not nominated...

visit Oscar.com for more details, press room interview, acceptance speech...

Spider-Man 2 Visual Effects @ oscar.com


Won a couple Oscars last night, for best Animated Feature Film and Sound Editing.

Congratulations to Brad Bird (The Iron Giant) and Pixar, I loved the Incredibles!


And lastly to note, winner of the best animated Short Film went to Chris Landreth for "Ryan"

-View a clip from the film

for more information on:
The Film "Ryan" Official
Ryan @ oscar.com
Ryan on AWN.com

Back to Best Visual Effects:

ACCEPTANCE SPEECH John Dykstra: I love my job. What an honor to be singled out in a year with so much terrific work. Boy, am I glad there wasn't a forth episode of THE LORD OF THE RINGS! What a joy to work and share this award with so many talented people ... Our director, Sam Raimi, Scott, Anthony, John. All of the artists, technicians and producers that collaborated on the effects for this picture. We'd like to thank our families. Hi, Cass, Chloe, Mom. We'd like to thank Sony Pictures for all your support. Thank you Academy. Thank you, everyone.

The Spider-Man 2 Visual Effects Team would like to thank:

Their families for their constant support, and the artists and managers at Sony Pictures Imageworks, Sony Pictures Entertainment and the countless number of people who helped to create Spider-Man 2, with special thanks to:

Executives: Amy Pascal, Matt Tolmach, Gary Martin, Lori Furie, Yair Landau, Tim Sarnoff, Jenny Fulle, Debbie Denise, and Don Levy for their continued support of the project.

Actors: Tobey Maguire, Alfred Molina, Kirsten Dunst, Rosemary Harris and James Franco for putting up with cruel and unusual visual effects procedures.

And for their creative vision and untiring commitment:

Director Sam Raimi, Producers Laura Ziskin and Avi Arad, Exec Producer Joe Caracciolo, Co-Producer Grant Curtis, Editor Bob Murawski, Director of Photography Bill Pope

Visual Effects Producer Lydia Bottegoni, Visual Effects supervisor Eric Durst, Visual Effects Art Director Tom Valentine, Digital Production Manager Carey Smith, CG Supervisors Daniel Eaton, Peter Nofz, Ken Hahn and Seth Maury, Visual Effects Coordinators Carlye Archibeque & Chris McLeod, Visual Effects Editor Kevin Jolly

Production Designer Neil Spisak, Stunt coordinator Dan Bradley, Costume Designer James Acheson, Production Manager Denis Stewart, 1st AD Eric Heffron and 2nd unit 1st AD Lisa Satriano, 2nd unit Director of Photography Jonathan Taylor, NY Production Manager Richard Baratta and NY Location Manager John Fedynich, Miniatures Director of Photography Timothy Angulo, Edge Effects, the makers of the Spider Cam, E-Film, Grant McCune Design, Barbed Wire, Entity FX, Pacific Title, Pixel Magic, Radium, Ring of Fire, Title House Digital, and Zoic Studios

John Dykstra would like to thank his agent David Gersh

Anthony LaMolinara would like to say a special thanks to the entire Animation Crew at Sony Pictures Imageworks and Scott Stokdyk would like to thank everyone associated with the project for their hard work and dedication.

SPIDER-MAN 2 (Winner)

Posted by dschnee at 10:41 AM

February 22, 2005

VFXTalk interviews Constantine Lead Compositors

VFXTalk.com is interviewing Matt Jacobs and Dan Cayer, Tippett Studio Lead Compositors on "Constantine" and you have a chance to ask the Questions?!?

So get over there and ask them!!!

Posted by dschnee at 8:07 AM

February 20, 2005

Going to Hell and Back

is a Nuclear Blast in Constantine

A brief calm moment as the Vermin Man readies to lunge at Constantine, above is one of the Vermin Man shots I composited.

Go over to VFXWorld, this featured article covers some of our (Tippett Studios) major sequences, including the Vermin Man, Exorcisms, and Hell Freeway.

VFXWorld / Feature Article Going to Hell and Back is a Nuclear Blast in Constantine...

Alain Bielik uncovers the demonic inspirations and digital challenges of bringing Hellblazer to the big screen as Constantine.
By Alain Bielik
[ Posted on February 18, 2005 ]

the entire article from VFXWorld.com,

From What Dreams May Come to Spawn to Bedazzled, Hollywood keeps sending film characters to hell and vfx artists keep struggling to visualize it in an imaginative and convincing way. Since heaven and hell are ultimately very personal beliefs, it is almost impossible to create imagery that will satisfy everyone. This turned out to be a major challenge for everyone involved in Francis Lawrence’s Constantine, the big screen version of the Hellblazer graphic novel (the title was changed to avoid confusion with the Hellraiser franchise). Supernatural detective Constantine (Keanu Reeves) has literally been to hell and back. This traumatic journey left him with special powers that he uses to hunt evil on Earth. He is approached by police officer Angela (Rachel Weisz), who wants to solve the mysterious suicide of her twin sister. Their investigation takes them to a world of demons and angels that exists just beneath our reality…

The task of putting Lawrence’s vision on screen was awarded to overall visual effects supervisor Mike Fink: “I had just finished X-Men 2 for producer Lauren Schuler-Donner when she asked me to supervise Constantine. Originally, the script called for 250 shots, but we ended up creating more than 500 shots. I had six or seven vendors on that project. The main facilities were Tippett Studio, ESC (in what would eventually be their last project), CIS Hollywood, Hydraulx and Hatch FX.”

Overall visual effects supervisor Mike Fink and Tippett Studio co-founder and visual effects supervisor Craig Hayes.

Designing A New Hell
From the beginning, Lawrence wanted to stay away from the traditional imagery of bonfires, horns and pointy tails. He had very specific ideas about what hell should look like. “Francis had been impressed by footage of nuclear blasts that he had seen,” explains Fink. “Right before the shockwave, there is a heat wave that melts everything away. You can actually see surfaces being superheated before the whole thing is blown away. Francis wanted this moment to form the basis for the look of hell in the movie. His idea was that hell is a parallel universe. It exists in another dimension as a complete replica of our world. You have the same buildings, the same streets, and the same rooms. The difference is that everything seems to be perpetually hit by a nuclear heat wave. This universe keeps decaying forever. It just never stops. We started to look at nuclear blasts footage and our main source of information was the material that Peter Kuran of Visual Concept Engineering had been able to declassify for the TV movie The Day After (1984). Another major source of inspiration was the disturbing work of Polish artist Zdzislaw Beksinski. His paintings of decaying corpses and corroded universes really echoed Francis’ vision.”

In one major sequence, Constantine goes back to hell and arrives on a freeway littered with hundreds of car wrecks, while a hellish downtown Los Angeles looms in the background. The sequence was executed by Tippett Studio, as were all the movie’s hell shots. “The freeway sequence was photographed on a 80-foot large set surrounded by a green screen,” notes Craig Hayes, co-founder and visual effects supervisor. “Our task was to extend this environment and create a hellish rendition of the real Los Angeles. The question was: what would the city look like if it were eternally hit by a nuclear heat wave? From a conceptual point of view, it was pretty challenging.”

A World Of Particles
Tippett Studio did a Lidar scan of the set and sent a crew to downtown Los Angeles to run a similar task on the main buildings. Reference photographs of the façades were also taken. Although the action is supposed to take place in Los Angeles, the freeway set matched no real location. “We took a very stylistic approach to L.A.,” confirms Hayes. “Some buildings are not where they should be. It is sort of a mythical view of the city. Using Maya, we modeled all the structures and street elements -- power lines, streetlights, trees -- in the computer. These models were then laid out in low resolution to create a CG version of the city. Once the position of each element was approved, we figured out which one had to be in high resolution. We then created a matte-painting of the city that was projected onto the CG geometry.” The skies were also matte-paintings that were designed to match the look and texture of a thermonuclear cloud. Rendering was handled in RenderMan while Shake was the compositing tool.

The next step was to create the billions of particles that flow through the scenery. “In the footage of an atomic blast, you can see the surfaces melting down and thousands of tiny elements being scattered by the nuclear wind,” adds Hayes. “We tried to match that by rigging our models to generate an endless flow of particles. Each shot contains up to 60 layers of particle elements. We wanted people to almost smell it! The action was photographed without any dust on the set, although there were huge wind machines generating the appropriate turbulences on the actors. It gave us clean plates onto which we could build particle layers in a very controlled way.”
As if this end-of-the-world environment was not enough, hell happens to be the home of some terrifying creatures: the scavengers who walk the streets and the seplavites who fly. Both hunt down the hopeless humans and devour them. Worst of all, the victims never truly die. After each horrifying death at the creatures’ hands, they “come back” and the hunt starts all over again. “This is like Groundhog Day in hell,” observes Fink. “Everything keeps happening again and again. And each death makes the next one more painful as the victims remember what it was like and they also know that there is no end to it. They will be devoured again…”

The general look of the creatures was conceived by production designer Naomi Shohan with input from Lawrence and Fink. While doing research for Constantine, she came across photographs of corpses in an autopsy room. The bodies were all shrunken and the top of the head had been cut off at eye level to allow access to the brain area. The director deemed these images to be really compelling and approved the concept. Aaron Simms of Stan Winston Studios was then brought in to design the creatures. After a maquette had been approved, Tippett Studio scanned it and used the data as the basis for the CG model. “We ran animation tests and found that the character was too skinny,” reveals Hayes. “It looked fine as a static model, but when it moved, it tended to look like a stop motion armature. So, we added about 15 pounds of flesh to beef him up. In terms of animation, we found it difficult to convey emotion or personality without eyes. They really are the soul of a character. In order to compensate, we worked a lot with body language, overdoing at times the animation to make a point. We made some really graphic moves in the shoulder and hand areas. We also cheated a little bit by adding glitter in the eye area to suggest that there were, after all, eyes in there…”

Confronting Hell Minions
Simultaneous to the creation of hell itself, Tippett Studio was responsible for many manifestations of hell on Earth. One of them involved the fight of Constantine against the Vermin Man, a creature made of millions of bugs and maggots. As the character is able to appear and disappear at will, plate photography required Reeves and three stuntmen to perform a complex choreography. The stuntmen played the Vermin Man at different positions around Constantine and helped the actor to focus his eye line and adjust body language. They were later painted out by Tippett Studio and replaced by a computer-generated Vermin Man.

Originally, the sequence was awarded to ESC and the facility produced such spectacular results that 14 extra shots were commissioned. However, in the meantime, ESC had folded and could no longer contribute to the project. Fink then awarded the extra shots to Tippett Studio. “Interestingly enough, the concept was similar to the sequence that we had created for Matrix Revolutions in which Neo speaks to a ‘face’ made of thousands of flying machines,” observes Hayes. “We started by modeling different maggots and created about a dozen animation cycles. We then used a particle animation system to apply these cycles to the thousands of maggots that formed the shape of the character’s body. Officially, the Vermin Man is comprised of millions of bugs, but when we got to 50,000 individual models, render time became unmanageable. We ended up cheating a lot not to exceed 50,000 models while still creating the illusion of having millions of them on screen.”

Tippett Studio also tackled two exorcism sequences. In the first one, Constantine extracts a demon out of the body of a little girl and traps it into a large mirror. “This sequence was filled with challenges,” comments visual effects producer Jay Heapy. “How would the demon interact with the mirror? What would the mirror world look like when the demon entered it? What happens when the demon reaches back through into our world? The director knew what he wanted, but he also allowed us to run with his ideas and try new things. We did a lot of studies in how the demon would get from the possessed girl to the mirror’s surface, the smudges it left on the mirror, how the cracks and holes in the mirror formed and looked. The shots were photographed in an actual apartment with a practical mirror. A greenscreen set up behind the window made lighting a challenge since we had to establish what kind of highlights or lighting the director wanted based on an unknown source.”

In this exorcism scene, visual effects producer Jay Heapy said the crew had to come up with a practical approach to bring the scene to life. Images courtesy of Tippett Studio.
The second exorcism sequence involves Angela and Mammon, a powerful demon hiding inside her. Through out the shots, Mammon fights with Angela and, at times, stretches her stomach with his face. “Early on, it became obvious that any sort of physically based simulation would fall apart quickly,” explains Heapy. “The team started the simplest way possible: our CG Mammon pushes up through a simple cloth-like sheet modeled to match Angela’s stomach. We looked at the results and came up with ways to make it look better: we put some dampening geometry between Mammon and the sheet; we also had Mammon’s hands control how the sheet folded, stretched, and relaxed; finally, we made it so the veins and other internal layers could move differently from adjacent layers to help show that Mammon was pushing through lots of stuff.”

From Hell To Heaven
During the climax of the movie, one character is taken to heaven. The sequence was awarded to Hatch FX and executed by founder and lead matte-painter Deak Ferrand. Interestingly, the artist had already created (for Pacific Ocean Post) the famed sequence of the heavenly city in What Dreams May Come and also contributed to Hellboy. “I don’t know if heaven and hell are becoming Deak’s trademark, but I do know that, although the sequence comprised five shots only, it was extremely important to the movie,” observes Fink. “We had very little screen time for these shots, and yet, they had to carry a lot of weight. I think we did our job right, because the audience loves these shots.”

Alain Bielik is the founder and special effects editor of renowned effects magazine S.F.X., published in France since 1991. He also contributes to various French publications and occasionally to Cinefex. He just finished organizing a major special effects exhibition that will open Feb. 20 at the Musée International de la Miniature in Lyon, France. Displays include original models and creatures from 2010 Odyssey Two, Independence Day, Ghostbusters, Cliffhanger, Alien Vs. Predator, Alien 3, Pitch Black and many more. The exhibition will run through Aug. 31.

VFXWorld / Feature Article Going to Hell and Back is a Nuclear Blast in Constantine...

Posted by dschnee at 7:38 AM

February 18, 2005

Constantine is Released!

in the USA 18 February 2005

visit Constantine @ imdb.com

Box Office Results Feb. 18-20, 2005

Number: 2 (Hitch is 1)
Weekend Gross: $30,525,000
Theatres: 3006
Theatre Average: $10,154
Weeks in Release: 1
Total Gross: $30,525,000

Box Office Results April. 22-24, 2005

Number: 38 (The Interpreter)
Weekend Gross: $79,531
Theatres: 107
Theatre Average: $743
Weeks in Release: 10
Total Gross: $74,480,921

Domestic: $74,480,921 36.5%
+ Overseas: $129,300,000 63.5%
= Worldwide: $203,780,921

*Constantine* opened to a solid $34.6 million, according to estimates, for the four-day President's Day holiday weekend. It was the biggest opening ever for an R-rated film during any four-day holiday frame, and it was a company best for WB for the President's Day weekend.

The opening for the Francis Lawrence-directed "Constantine" set several records of its own this weekend: It was the biggest opening ever for an R-rated film during any four-day holiday session, and it was a company best for Warners for the Presidents Day weekend, topping "Message in a Bottle" ($18.8 million). The debut of "Constantine" also topped the first weekend of another untested, R-rated sci-fi actioner starring Reeves -- 1999's "The Matrix" ($27.8 million).

Warner Bros. approves a Constantine sequel based on the weekend's take !

US Box Office as of April 22-24, 2005 - Constantine has a Gross of $74,480,921 and has been in release for 10 weeks.

BoxOfficeMojo.com's "Constantine" Statistics

Posted by dschnee at 1:44 AM

Son of the Mask is Released!

in the USA 18 February 2005

visit Son of the Mask @ imdb.com

BoxOfficeMojo.com's "Son of the Mask" Statistics

Posted by dschnee at 1:37 AM

February 17, 2005

Son of The Mask: Channeling Chuck Jones in CGI

VFXWorld's featured article on Son of the Mask

Alain Bielik speaks with ILM and Tippett Studio about raising the digital bar when it comes to cartoony CG antics in Son of the Mask.

Taming Of A ‘Terror’ Dog
While the baby was growing up nicely at ILM, another CG creature was born across the bay at Tippett Studio...

visit VFXWorld for the blow by blow accounts,

"Son of The Mask: Channeling Chuck Jones in CGI"

Posted by dschnee at 10:58 PM

Hell-LA virtual tour in Quicktime VR

One of my fellow compers at work showed this to me today, from constantine's official site you can take a quicktime virtual reality tour on the 405 hell freeway...


courtesy of (ripped off) constantinemovie.warnerbros.com =) - (and click on 'downloads')

Posted by dschnee at 12:01 AM

February 16, 2005

VES Announces 2004 Winners

Hollywood, February 16, 2005The Visual Effects Society (VES), the entertainment industry’s only society of visual effects professionals, celebrated the best visual effects artistry in film, television, commercial, music videos and games at tonight’s 3rd Annual VES Awards recognizing outstanding visual effects in nineteen (19) categories.

Robert Zemeckis was honored with the VES Lifetime Achievement Award for his enormous contributions to the visual effects industry and to filmmaking as a whole. The honor was presented to him by Academy Award® winning visual effects artist Ken Ralston and long-time friend and collaborator Tom Hanks. Robert Abel was honored posthumously with the Georges Melies Award for his contributions to the visual effects industry and Don Shay received the Board of Directors Award for illuminating the field of visual effects through his role as publisher of Cinefex. The ceremony was presided over by VES Executive Director Eric Roth.


Here is an older link for the 2004 VES nominations for Outstanding Compositing in a Motion Picture and Broadcast Program

- visualeffectssociety.com

Posted by dschnee at 8:20 AM

February 14, 2005

The Shaggy Dog

Starting today, how sweet, Valentine's Day. I've officially started compositing on "The Shaggy Dog" starring Tim Allen as Dave Douglas (The Shaggy Dog), Kristin Davis from Sex and the City, Danny Glover, Robert Downey Jr., and awe yeah! Craig Kilborn...

Plot Outline: A man tries to live a normal life despite the fact that he sometimes turns into a sheepdog.

Where have all the original stories gone I ask!?! ahh well, it's a remake of Disney's The Shaggy Dog from 1959.

We are doing some fun stuff, cute furry cg animals and some, well... interesting combinations of creatures... this along with some other interesting vfx work. So rollover, sit, but don't beg, this doggy treat comes barkin' at you toward the end of the year.

Posted by dschnee at 11:34 PM

February 10, 2005

Son of the Mask Screening & Clips

Enough with Constantine already!

Tonight we are getting a special screening of Son of the Mask here in Berkeley! Tippett Studio completed around 200+ shots for the film (can't recall the final shot count), and I think I composited around 8 of them...

I'm excited, it's going to be goofy, zaney, tom & jerry style antics, that could end up real fun, or real dumb... We'll find out soon enough!

Son of the Mask opens February 18th.

Until then, check out some Clips from Son of the Mask over at Yahoo! Movies that contain some of Tippett's visual effects work. One of the clips has a couple shots I completed... check out "Baby and Dog" and look for the shots after Otis is Charred from the exploding bone, there is one when baby Alvey crawls into frame and roars, and the next shot when Otis jumps up to the chandelier, exciting stuff!

"Otis And The Mask" -- Otis the dog turns into a different creature when he unintentionally wears the mask of Loki.
(This was one of Tippett's 'Otis' sequences as Otis 'the dog' puts on the mask and transforms into 'smookin otis')
"Baby And Dog" -- Alvey Avery (Liam Falconer) has fun playing a dangerous game with Otis the dog.
(Another of Tippett's 'Otis' sequences)

see also: ILM's baby Alvey in,
"Dancing Alvey" -- Tim Avery (Jamie Kennedy) realizes there is something wrong with his son Alvey (Liam Falconer).
(ILM was responsible for 'baby Alvey' the Computer Generated version of baby Alvey, creepy stuff!)

see these and more on Yahoo! Movies - Son of the Mask Trailers & Clips

P.S. I'm not directly linking these movies, just click on them via Yahoo! Movies, and be cautions, they are crashing my Firefox, :(

Posted by dschnee at 4:18 AM

February 8, 2005

Constantine Production Information

Below is an interesting read on:

Designing, Creating and Photographing Hell on Earth

"Heaven and hell are riht here, behind every wall, every window, the world behind the world. And we're smack in the middle." -John Constantine

It was an ongoing collaboration between production design, cinematography, visual and computer effects and Stan Winston's creature artists to achieve the filmmakers' vision for Constantine's rich landscape, all of it coordinated and inspired by Francis Lawrence who watched as many of is original sketches expanded to fill whole soundstages.

     John Constantine's world is a dark and moody place. Visually, it's the very definition of classioc noir, with its urban night scenes, deep shadows, slivers of street lamps on wet asphalt, and gently swirling smoke - all interpreted by skewed camera angles and expressionistic lighting. "The overall look," comments Shuler Donner, "is saturated and beautiful, but gritty. It evokes a sense of period, in a way, but its totally contemporary."

     Lawrence met with renowned production designer Naomi Shohan, whose recent work on American Beauty earned her a BAFTA Award nomination. Seeking to realistically depict specific regions of Los Angeles, "not Beverly Hills, not Malibu, but downtown," the director explains, he was particularly impressed with Shohan's natural-looking work on the urban drama Training Day, remaking that, "she really understood Los Angeles, the ethnicity and textures I liked, and we bonded instantly over the approach." Together with location manage Molly Allen, Lawrence and Shohan prowled the city for the architecture and vistas of their story.

     Among the sites selected were the Hacienda Real Nightclub, housed in the basement of the historic 1930s Eastern Columbia Building in downtown's commercial and theatre district, which provided an appropriate eclectic and underground flavor as Midnite's bar with its red-hued decor and ornately carved wood and brass detailing; the 5th Street Market, whose interiors and exteriors became the liquor store in which Father Hennessey and Balthazar have their final confrontatio; St. Mary's hospital, Long Beach, which doubled as Ravenscar; and the Angeles Abbey Memorial Park in Compton, as Midnite's office and cavernous reliquary. Built in 1923, the Abbey interior features elaborate ironwork and carved limestone, which Shohan's team augmented with statures, tapestries, artwork, religious relics, and an assortment of antique weapons and armor to represent Midnite's imposing collection.

     Constantine's apartment, unusually long and narrow, was designed in a place Lawrence was already familiar with, the Giant Penny Building on Broadway, downtown, whose upstairs interior office walls had been broken out to form an extended space lined with windows. Thinking it had great potential as Constantine's home base, he showed the space to Shohan, who then added metal shutters to the windoes and bottles of holy water that Constantine has lining the walls for protection.

     Additionally, the production used six Warner Bros. Studios soundstages for such comprehensively constructed sets as the hospital's hydrotherapy room, in which several climatic battles rage between the forces of good and evil, and a representative section of the 101 Freeway, which occupied nearly 22,000 feet and took eight weeks to complete.

     Based upon the director's premise that heaven and hell exist as a parallel dimensions occupying the same space and that there is a heavenly and hellish version of every spot on earth, Shohan explains, "I imagined that hellish transformation to any landscape would be a state of constant cataclysmic shifting - exploding, imploding, blowing, burning, decaying. Hapily, Francis and I agreed that if you were in Los Angeles the quintessential hell version of the city would be a section of its infamous freeway."

     As Constantine attempts to confirm the afterlife fate of Angela's sister, Isabel, he must visit hell to look for her, a treacherous journey on which he embarks from Angela's apartment. The instant he crosses over he appears in a scorched and gutted version of Angela's room, and from there climbs out onto the street and up to the highway, buffeted by fierce winds swirling with ash, with fire, and chaos all around. "You can't beat the image of Constantine walking down the center of a decomposed 101 Freeway in hell," says Lawrence, and, going for the irresistible joke, "most people who live in Los Angeles think the 101 Freeway is hell already."

     Meticulously designed to look like the real thing, the section of road was built to nearly standard specs, with the exception of narrowing the lane width from 10 to eight feet and layering three lanes instead of four. "Rails, dividers, lamp posts and signage were all built to highway department standards," Shohan confirms. "The surface is concrete poured over wooden scaffold and dividers are concrete over carved foam."

     Among the set's most striking details are the approximatley 40 vehicles, racked up in various states of disitegration. As Shohan explains, "The cars are wrecks purchased from collectors. We wanted certain models for their paticular shapes. These were then cut-up, re-configured and embellished with foam carving to make them appear mutated. We added wire and foam-formed stalactites to look like melted metal and evereything was covered in latex-and-hemp pieces we made to have the appearnce of skin with roots or veins growing in it. Finally, the whole set was age-painted in rust and brown to complete the look of waste, decay and constant diabolical transformation."

     Coordinating with Shohan to use this detailed practical set as a foundation and starting point, Visual Effects Supervisor Michael Fink replicated and extended it digitally. Wrecked cars were remodeled in the computer so that each one could be further eroeded or blown away by acrid winds and so that digitally created demons and lost souls in hell could be moved around and through them. Fink describes the look he was striving for, as "an incredibly harsh environment like the aftermath of a nuclear blast except that instead of lasting nanoseconds it lasts forever." A visual effects supervisor since the early 1980s on a range of high-profile feature films, Fink counts among his credits an Oscar nomination for his work on 1992's Batman Returns and more recently oversaw effects on the blockbuster hits X-Men and X 2, where he collaborated with Constantine producer Lauren Shuler Donner.

Craig Hayes, visual effects supervisor at Northern California-based Tippett Studio (The Matrix Revolutions, Hollow Man), led a team of artists who replaced the set's green screens, incorporation photographic elements with digital design for what he calls "a fluidly dynamic effect," grafting objects onto existing images and generally "adding debris, airborne particles and detritus, burning palm trees and the entire hell-L.A. environment." In addition to extending and enhancing the focal point of the ruined roadway, the film required realistically scaled hell-scape vistats of Los Angeles extending out in all directions, "starting in Hollywood and going past the Capitol Records building to the right, all the way to downtown, "Fink outlines, "all of it pretty much seen as it really is, with some allowances for the scale to enhance the drama."

     Working closely with both Fink and Shohan as well as with Francis Lawrence, was Oscar-winning director of photography Phillippe Rousselot (A River Runs Through It), a master at capturing mood. With more than 30 years in the film industry in both his native France and the U.S. and credits including 1994's atmospheric Interview with the Vampire and more recently looking for something different, and when something like this comes along, that I had never seen or even thought of before, it's very motivating," he says.

     Basing much of his compositions and stylistic choices for Constantine on the graphic novel orgins of the story, Rousselot explains that he incorporated "a lot of wide angles, both hight and low, and the kinds of extreme points of view that you often see in comic books, which I thought was very important to maintain. In terms of light, we played a lot with contrast and colors, going with some very deep greens and oranges." At the same time, the cinematographer was careful not to copy the comic book style, preferring a more subliminal effect and drawing inspiration from many sources, including a folio of photographs from Cuba, that Lawrence shared with him. "You can't transfer pages into moving images; it's more the general idea of graphic novels that we were touching upon." Equally subtle were his nuanced depictions of heaven and hell, avoiding "the cliches of light and dark."

     Overall, Rousselot opted for natural lighting, guided by Lawrence's desire "to keep the light organic and simple." But simple doesn't necessarily mean small, as evidenced by the sheer number of lights used, in on instance, for Constantine's sequence in hell. A total of 60 space lights hung from the ceiling of Stage 21, designed to move freely with the winde created by seven immense industrial fans positioned along one side of the freeway set. Their irregular movement provided an intensely dramatic quality. Additionally, Roousselot ran alongside his camera crew during many close-ups holding an exttended pole with a paper-covered China light on Keanu Reeves - a personal touch that allowed the cinematographer to capture precisely the right effect.

     Rousselot's most precarious task by far was the bathtub scene, in which Rachel Weisz, as Angela, is fully submerged and held down by Constantine to facilitate her brief passage into the next world. "We wanted to have Rachel's point of view while she's underwater, when she opens her eyes and looks up. But of course there's no room in the tub so we shot it through a mirror," he says. Adding a mirror to the mix increased the potential of the unintended reflections, already complicated by the water, which, Rousselot explains, "reflects not only images but all the practical light."


When I was a kid, I could see things. Things humans aren't meant to see."
-John Constantine

To continue reading this and much more, please download the complete PDF of the:
Constantine Production Information Here - courtesy of movieweb.com

Posted by dschnee at 2:06 AM

February 6, 2005

Constantine Superbowl TV Spot!

Constantine Superbowl XXXIX TV Spot
(4.7mb QT)

Posted by dschnee at 9:44 PM

February 5, 2005

Constantine TV Spots

Here are a couple of Constatine Television Spots floating around on your local boob tube...

Television Spot 1 (7.63mb QT)
Television Spot 1 BIG (50mb QT)
Television Spot 2 (4.5mb QT)
Television Spot 2 BIG (35mb QT)


Posted by dschnee at 11:33 AM

February 4, 2005

A Perfect Circle video "Passive" takes the Hell Freeway

((( Quicktime Version of "Passive" )))

In A Perfect Circle's latest video, "Passive" were taken on teaser ride through Constantine's Hell Freeway sequence! They intercut hellish treated footage of the band and actors mimicing shots from the film, with real final hell freeway shots from the film, its pretty damn great to see some work I did in A Perfect Circle video, heck 3 of my shots are in it... not too shabby!

I saw them in Bakersfield a little over a year ago, they're pretty mindblowing to hear live... ok so check out the "Passive" video now! (widows media)

see also: aperfectcircle.com
video link courtesy of: fanscape.com

Download the "Passive" MP3 Track >>> HERE
- courtesy of Straight to Hell: A Hellblazer Site

See Also: my posting Some of my work from Constantine that includes 3 of my shots found in APC's "Passive" video!

Posted by dschnee at 8:04 PM

February 3, 2005

Magazine Watch - Constantine

I've stumbled upon a few other magazines covering Constantine thus far, including Sci Fi Magazine, Relevant, Wizard, CFQ, and Fangoria! - If anyone comes across any more eMail me!


See Also: the latest issues of Cinescape, Starlog, and dreamwatch.

Posted by dschnee at 2:27 AM

February 2, 2005

Concept.org San Francisco Workshop 2005

ConceptArt.org recently (Jan 7-10) had its 2005 workshop where you had a chance to meet up with talented artists from all over the world while having professionals performing lessons, round-tables, demos and discussions.

Looking through some pictures from the event, there were a lot of cool demonstrations and sessions that created a lot of great art... Take a look at some of it below:

>>> ConceptArt.org Workshop SF Images - from artbyphil.com
>>> The ULTRA-OFFICIAL workshop pics thread! - from ConceptArt.org Forums

See Also: some pictures from a sculpting session with Petey Konig former Tippett uber-artist,

Posted by dschnee at 2:40 AM

February 1, 2005

Cinefantastique! Constantine

"Constantine takes us to Hell and back,"

as covered in an article in the latest issue of CFQ/Cinefantastique Magazine

Kudos once again to Aruna over @ digitalgypsy.com for his publicity shot!

CFQ / Cinefantastique -- February/March 2005 issue, Volume 37, #1, (pp. 48-53) -- info at http://www.cfq.com/

see also: exactly one year ago...
Starship Troopers 2 article in CFQ - February/March 2004 issue, Volume 36, #1, (pp. 28-33)

Posted by dschnee at 2:12 PM