MELBOURNE - Attention to historical detail was paramount. Using computer graphics and other techniques, Australian VFX studio Iloura has created a range of visual effects to help to re-create a war-torn Japan for the recently released feature film Emperor, a love story set amidst the tensions and uncertainties of the days immediately following the surrender of the Japanese at the end of World War II.
Produced by Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment in association with United Performers Studios and directed by Peter Webber (Girl with a Pearl Earring; Hannibal Rising) the film was shot in both New Zealand and Japan.
Iloura provided on-set VFX supervision for the shoot in both New Zealand and Japan, and primarily delivered shots of a war-ravaged Tokyo. The VFX studio dedicated 40 artists from its 100-person team to deliver over 140 VFX shots, including 3D matte paintings, background enhancements, greenscreen compositing and CG airplanes.
Iloura's Head of VFX, Simon Rosenthal, said that it was a fantastic project for the studio to be involved in. "Emperor is one of the best scripts that I have read, and we are absolutely delighted to be involved in this film. Re-creating war-torn Japan was challenging for our artists, as we wanted to keep everything true to historical reference. It has been such a rewarding project and the beautiful imagery and story is something that we are extremely proud to be a part of."
Providing on-set VFX supervision was instrumental to Iloura delivering such detailed sequences and assisted the artists to accentuate the intricate details of each shot. Work began on the project at the beginning of 2012. One of Iloura's VFX supervisors, Julian Dimsey, was on location from January to March, and postproduction was completed during April to July.
Dimsey reflects on the experience of being on-set: "Being on-set for Emperor allowed close collaboration between myself, the director, the DOP, the production designer and the producers. This meant that we could tailor shots throughout the planning and shooting stages, enabling us to provide the best possible 'on screen' result coupled with the greatest level of production efficiency."
Iloura's involvement on Emperor required the team to apply quite different creative and technical disciplines than that of its recent 3D character animation work on Seth MacFarlane's
Ted, for which they were widely celebrated. Re-creating a post-war city with minimal historical images as a reference was challenging, but the team loves the diversity of projects that the US Studios are offering up to them with the crew currently hard at work on Sony Columbia's
Emperor's producer, Gary Foster, said: "The team at Iloura in Australia were invaluable to
Emperor in helping us re-create post-war Japan. Their creative and technical expertise was a big asset to our production."
Emperor met the requirements for the Australian Government's PDV Offset (Post, Digital and Visual Effects Offset) and the Victorian State Government's PIAF Grant, administered through Screen Agency Film Victoria; and follows on from Iloura's recent credits including international box office success
Ted (directed by Seth MacFarlane) and Sony Columbia's
Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance.