MPC (www.moving-picture.com) completed roughly 300 VFX shots for the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios/Sony Pictures Entertainment feature-film Spectre, the 24th James Bond film.
Led by MPC VFX Supervisor Mark Curtis and Producer Laura Schultz, MPC’s global team worked closely with Director Sam Mendes and Production VFX Supervisor Steve Begg, covering three key sequences in the snowy Austrian Alps and the deserts of Morocco.
MPC Vancouver’s team completed visual effects for the Alpine sequence, which featured two key digital assets: the villain’s mountaintop lair and Bond’s snow plane. The mountain eyrie took its inspiration from an existing building in Solden called the Ice-Q; this cubist-styled glass building was expanded and reconfigured to form a larger cross-shaped structure that would sit atop a CG restructured mountain peak. Being made primarily from glass, the building reflects the panorama of surrounding mountains, and as such, required MPC to build not only a digital model of the structure itself, but all of the surrounding geography.
The team’s second challenge was to create a digital version of the snow plane Bond uses to pursue villains through the Alps. MPC’s modeling team created the CG plane based on the Britten-Norman Islander. The biggest challenge for the sequence was the way the plane interacts with its environment during the chase.
On set, a practical plane was built and pulled along on wires, wheels and skis through the forest. By mixing sections of the practical plane with the full-CG digital version, MPC was able to create a plane that has its wings torn off and then careens on its belly while still under power from its two propellers.
VFX (left), plate (right)
MPC’s FX team created billowing snow clouds blown up from the engines, a powerful bow-wake of snow, and streams of smoke and fire from its struggling engines. Add to this the climactic moment when the plane bursts through a barn, scattering smoke, wood and fire, and you have yet another iconic Bond chase sequence.
MPC London’s team created a robotic surgical device used to inflict pain on 007 in the torture chair in Oberhauser’s lair. The sequence was shot by DP Hoyte van Hoytema using extreme close-ups and a narrow depth of field. Using existing surgical drills and production design models as inspiration, MPC built the surgical armatures in minute detail, down to dents on the screws and the texturing from the milling process.