« How Animators Tackled Werewolf Transformations in New Moon | Main | Why cloudy days are no good for the werewolves of 'New Moon' »

November 23, 2009

A New Moon for Twilight

(from a larger awn.com article) Meanwhile, Tippett Studio did 60 wolf shots, with five different characters, broken up into four sequences (under the supervision of Phil Tippett with Matt Jacobs serving as co-supervisor).

"The werewolves are kind of the sentinel protectors of the area," Tippett explains. "And there's nothing from the werewolf mythology of the past: it's a curse of responsibility as the indigenous people of this country. But this gave us a chance to continue doing the dance with the talking, furry animals. So getting these wolves to behave and be lit and act in a convincing manner was our task here. These things are not the classic beasty werewolves, either. They're Timberwolves that are scaled up to be the size of the horse. One of the biggest tricks was to logistically turn a 6-foot tall guy into an 8-foot-long, 1,200-pound wolf. And there are three of these transitions in the movie. Surprisingly, we figured it out early enough.

"We engineered the performances of the actors and their pantomime leading up to the explosive moment because it's anger that motivates these people to actually shape shift into werewolves -- and it has to happen quick and everyone was on the same page with that. The only design adjustment was Chris wanted to have the eyes of the actors in the wolves' heads instead of the very distinctive, golden, wolf eyes."

Tippett additionally worked on what MacLeod calls the "vampire speed" effect, which involves the vamps running at superhuman speeds. "What we decided to do, based on some tests that we did," McLeod explains, "was to shoot any vampire in motion, as light would allow, up to 90 frames-per-second. And then we would take that into the Avid and manipulate that, come up with a speed ramp and then potentially enhance that with some post processing.

"That's where Tippett's effects came in for about a dozen shots we decided to do as a post effect. We did a little bakeoff and had a couple of companies do a test and Tippett had a good-looking test and we went with them. It was based on a happy accident that happened when they did a varied speed for the trailer shot, actually. They ran a Shake script that had a bug in it and the render came back and had an interesting liquid, transparent effect that happened to Taylor's body that resonated with Phil and Matt and they sent it to me. It was the visual equivalent of the sonic boom, in mind, where the person is moving faster than the camera can pick up.

"Then we had a recipe of stuff that did with vampire speed: we shot them stacked because we found that foreground trees were helpful, so with the wolves, we added some foreground CG trees passing by; and, for the actress running through the woods, we shot her long lens with real trees in the foreground; and a few whip pan effects. The challenge was the wolves, so we tried not having wolves and vampires running in the same shot because that would necessitate either seeing the wolves running in slow-motion or speed up the vampires so that they're running at least as fast or faster than the wolves, but that looks silly, so when we ended up having wolves and vamps in the same shot, we used that Tippett post effect."



Posted by dschnee at November 23, 2009 9:45 PM