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Friday, 25 December 2015

VFX World Magazine


Overall VFX supervisor talks about key visual effects sequences in Sam Mendes’ latest hit in the James Bond film franchise.

Early on in his career, Spectre VFX supervisor Steve Begg was part of the model units for movies such as Aliens and Landslide.  According to Begg, “I am biased towards miniatures [when appropriate] but I felt that some stuff I would have done as miniatures in the past, thanks to technological developments, I wouldn't do now.  With collapsing buildings, in particular, I wasn't confident in doing them as miniatures anyway as in my experience I haven't seen one done realistically without it looking like a load of Lego collapsing.  Even the one we did in Casino Royale, which I thought worked, was really subsiding not collapsing.  However, if the building was blowing up that would be a different story.  The big problem is it has to be structurally strong enough to support itself yet weak enough to break up in realistic chunks and debris. That's just not easy to construct and engineer in the real world, particularly in a smaller scale.”

Spectre reteams Begg with filmmaker Sam Mendes and the James Bond franchise.  “The post visual effects approach was embraced more on this one, I guess, because Sam was more comfortable with VFX thanks to Skyfall,” says the VFX supervisor.  Mendes would describe in great detail what was needed while allowing room for creative collaboration on the production of over 1500 visual effects shots.  Begg notes, “There was extensive previs supervised by Brad Blackbourn of IO Entertainment, for the opening sequence mainly, as it featured not only the highest numbers of VFX shots but also the most complicated. I wanted to nail the continuous ‘opening shot’ early on by getting Sam and Hoyte Van Hoytema [the film’s cinematographer] to understand the problems and requirements in blending six shots together.  The Helicopter Sequence was also heavily prevised as I had always intended to shoot the more dangerous stunts over an airfield a hundred miles south of the Zócalo square in Mexico City, and replace the airfield with our CG Zócalo square, which we did.  The previs helped Sam understand this technique in a much clearer way.  Postvis supervised by Matt Tinsley was used extensively during the shoot to fill in greenscreen holes and to clarify our VFX intentions for later on.

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