Seit über 18 Jahren ist Jeff Campbell im Bereich der VFX unterwegs. In diesem Interview berichtet er über seine Arbeite an „Legion“. Ausserdem gibt er einen kurzen Überblick von stereoskopischem 3D in der Production-Pipeline… Before/After Shots von Legion inside….
You’ve been in the business for over 18 Years. Where did it all start? And what was the first “Big Picture” you worked on? What was your first Job as VFX Supervisor?
I started as an animator in 1992 at Stargate Studios in Toronto. Working in Strata Studio Pro, I was intrigued by the creativity and control of bringing emotion to a character but frustrated by the slow productivity of the hardware at that time. Especially, the time it took to do a Radiosity lighting render. I soon discovered high-speed compositing when introduced to the Quantel Harry. A strictly 2d finishing system that could play standard definition in real-time. It’s not much compared to today’s standards but being able to finish shots fast impressed me. I really missed the 3rd dimension. Soon enough, the answer came. Discreet Logic came out with the Flame. A 2d/3d multi-resolution high speed finishing system. I had to get on one.
I applied for a job as a Flame operator at Command Post in Toronto. They told me that Quantel is where it’s at and that Discreet systems probably wouldn’t last long. But they gave me a shot. After a few years, I was the Senior Inferno Artist at Command Post. In 1999, Command Post changed its name to Toybox and dove into film.
My first big film experience would be leading a crew on David Finchers “Fight Club”. In one sequence, I had been asked to create the impact and destruction of a forty-ton ball crashing through a commercial plaza and into a coffee shop. This was accomplished using 3d camera projection techniques, displacements and textured geometry all entirely built and finished in a Discreet Inferno. I was also Lead Inferno Artist and Sequence Supervisor on New Line Cinema’s “The Cell”; bringing to life the rich unique imagery of director Tarsem Singh’s vibrant vision.
In 2003, I joined Spin in Toronto as a Senior Inferno Artist and Partner. I liked Spin’s “art meets technology” philosophy Because of the boutique size of Spin, my duties can involve being not only VFX Supervisor, but also Animation Director and Lead Compositor.
My first notable VFX Supervisor position was on George Romero’s Land of the Dead for Universal. I was on the production and the facilty side so I got my own card in the credits. I was also the lead compositor and animation supervisor which made my job extremely stressful.
Your latest Project as VFX Supervisor is “Legion”. How did you get involved in this Project?
The guys from the Orphanage had seen our work on Max Payne, which featured a winged demon character, and they liked what they saw. The Director Scott Stewart and VFX Supervisor Jonathan Rothbart, were partners at the Orphanage. We began work in January 2009 and in February, the Orphanage closed their doors. It was a little tense at the time because we had put a lot of work into the film and did not have a contract. Eventually Sony Screen Gems honored the same contract that we had with the Orphanage and business as usual.
How many Shots did You finish on Legion and how many Artist did You have in your Team? (How long did it take.)
I finished around 22 shots. It’s hard to find the time when your Supervising a whole team. In total, we finished 260 shots with a crew of around 50. Mainly over the coarse of a year. The end sequence was shot in October 2009 so we had an additional 100 shots to finish in 8 weeks providing the usual last minute rush.
What Kind of Shots did You do on Legion? What reference Material did You use?
Our primary task on Legion was adding CG wings to Kevin Durand’s character Gabriel and later to Michael played by Paul Bethany The client was so happy and confident in our work that we were awarded other difficult shots including a big fluid simulation that needed to be done on the “Howard explodes” shot and the full CG shot of Gladys the crazy Granny (Jeanette Miller) who climbs the wall like a cockroach. We were also called upon for several matte paintings and set extensions.
The director referenced eagles wings. The look of the feathers was a difficult task. At first we were given the reference of a harder leathery look to match the angels armor. The theory was that these wings have to look tough in order to repel bullets and have knife-edge primaries. When we added the feathers to the upper Marginal covert area this gave a more realistic quality we all see in wings, As a result our task was to go with a more feathery feel which involved a lot of re-texturing. I think it’s hard to expect people to deviate from their perceptions of reality. If people don’t see feathery wings as they know them to be, they are not going to buy it.
What was the most difficult shot/ look to accomplish /task during the production of legion?
There were many complex shots in this film. But one that stands out is a moment when an army of angels descends from the heavens. The shot begins in a medium close-up of Michael silhouetted against a sunny sky. The camera then tilts up to reveal thousands of angels in formation. The angels break formation and dive in a steep swirling vortex before flying by very close to camera. The shot combines greenscreen footage with matte painting, crowd simulation, effects animation, and hero keyframe animation by Lead Animator Marc Schreiber. It was a challenge to render and pull together so many elements but in the end it turned out very nice.