Dynamic VFX house Luma Pictures lent their digital artistry to New Regency Pictures' futuristic thriller, In Time, with the house's work running the gamut of what are commonly referred to as "invisible effects." Luma's contributions include multiple matte paintings, set extensions, collision/debris effects, and digital augmentation of structural and environmental features.
In Time marks the fifth project that the film's cinematographer, Roger Deakins, has worked with Luma Pictures, following highly successful collaborations on the Coen Brothers' True Grit, A Serious Man, Burn After Reading, and No Country For Old Men. As with those films, the main thrust of Luma's creativity was channeled into invisible effects work, designed to blend in, unnoticed, into the reality surrounding them.
This is the first time that Luma has worked with writer/director Andrew
Niccol. Luma's VFX supervisor, Justin Johnson spent 22 days on set
with Niccol to assure that Luma's imagery was in sync with the director's
"Andrew had a specific vision for how the future would look and feel
on In Time, and we spent a lot of time working with him to ensure that our
work would fit into the world that the main characters inhabit and rebel
against," said Justin Johnson.
Luma Pictures provided 65 shots for the film in total, including
set extensions of several prominent building interiors and exteriors,
removal and replacement of structural features, and robust matte-painting
work, including several cityscapes. The ending sequence of In Time
showcases a wasteland of decrepit buildings, broken roads, and plant growth--a series of shots that took the majority of Luma's attention on the project.
"In Time was all filmed in Los Angeles, but special consideration was
made to take out the distinctive look of the city," said Justin Johnson.
"The final wasteland sequence required a vast amount of digital
augmentation, taking out LA's signature palm trees, billboards, and road
signs, and masking the LA feel that is so prevalent in films shot here. We
also extended the landscape through infinity, replacing an entire ocean in
the background with the shattered, burnt-out reality of this desolate
Another scene required Luma to create a tollbooth gateway, used to
segregate social classes in the film. Initially the effect was to be an
extension added on to physically constructed bases before the call was made
to have Luma do a complete digital build of the gateway, which included the
concrete structure plus animated signs and cement barricades. The creation
doesn't last long, however, as Luma also was tapped to add digital
demolition, animating the destruction of the booth as a limo crashes through
it, and creating larger chunks of debris, smoke and dust in Autodesk’s Maya.
"Invisible effects bring a special kind of satisfaction to the role we
play," said executive VFX supervisor Payam Shohadai. "Our contributions to
In Time will help audiences to immerse themselves into the film and keep
them rooted in the reality of the world Andrew Niccol has invented."