December 10, 2008

CIS Vancouver Works Visual Effects Magic in Twilight

Vancouver, B.C. - Artists and professionals at CIS Vancouver practiced their visual effects magic on Twilight, Summit Entertainment's action-packed, modern-day love story between a teenage girl and a vampire,
Twilight is based on Stephenie Meyer's New York Times best-selling series with more than 25 million books in print. CIS Vancouver took on the visual effects work in bringing this popular series to the screen. Richard Kidd was the visual effects supervisor for the film and Geoffrey Hancock served as CIS's visual effects supervisor.
Twilight is directed by Catherine Hardwicke from a script by Melissa Rosenberg. The film is produced by Greg Mooradian, Mark Morgan, and Wyck Godfrey. Twilight is a Summit Entertainment presentation and a Temple Hill production in association with Maverick Films/Imprint Entertainment.
"I started working on Twilight last November when the director, Catherine Hardwicke, approached CIS Vancouver and me about the film," states Richard Kidd. "By December we were location scouting in Portland, where the film was eventually shot. Catherine likes to shoot in a documentary style so we discussed that much of the work could be handled 'in camera.' However, the amount of visual effects work grew organically throughout the shoot."
Kidd also worked with the second unit which shot many of the stunts and used high-speed photography to capture the impossibly fast running of the vampires. These stunts required a large amount of wire work, as well as innovative rigs devised to pull the actors on long sheets of plexiglass which added additional speed to their own running speeds. Geoffrey Hancock explains, "Although the original goal had been to get the vampire running shots 'in camera,' the complexity of shooting these scenes, meant that many shots had to be recreated or enhanced in post. In some cases we sped up actors, in other cases we slowed them to a super slow motion while adding exaggerated motion blur.  Additionally, wires and rigs assisting the actors where removed."
"Another challenging sequence was the climactic fight scene that takes place in the ballet studio -- a room with multiple walls and columns covered by mirrors," recalls Hancock. "Light was pouring into the set from outside lights which reflected off the mirrors. It required detailed rig and wire removals within the atmospheric lighting and the recreation of a ceiling structure, while maintaining the desired light beams. In some cases we had to digitally remove multiple reflections of the crew and wires used to choreograph the fight because of the parallel mirrors within the set."
Early in the story there is the "tree-top" sequence where the vampire shows off his super-human abilities to his human girlfriend that required complex wire removal as they moved within the multiplaning trees and shadows. Throughout the scene in which the vampires play the fast-paced game of baseball, CIS Vancouver replaced and enhanced the overcast Portland skies with dramatic thunder clouds and lightning as dusk approaches, as well as adding CG baseballs. In addition to the 145 shots completed by CIS Vancouver, additional visual effects work was handled by Industrial Light & Magic, Catalyst Media, Rez-Illusion, and PIC Agency.