Well Planned
May 11, 2011

Well Planned

The Third Floor provides previs might for Thor
The Third Floor, Inc., a preeminent provider of previsualization for Hollywood films and global entertainment, has recently flexed its muscle on the Marvel Studios and Paramount Pictures feature film Thor, creating all the previs for the film.

Gerardo Ramirez supervised The Third Floor's specialized team to create animated previs blueprints for all the major sequences in the film over a period of 18 months. Director Kenneth Branagh and his key collaborators, including the production designer, costume designer, cinematographer, stunt choreographer, editor, and visual effects supervisor, shaped the previs scenes in a collaborative process that allowed the entire team to hone in on the most effective way to depict the mythic characters and storyline. 

In addition to using previsualization as a creative tool, the production also tapped The Third Floor for “technical previs” for set dimensions and camera data, and “postvis” for reference use prior to commissioning and delivering of final visual effects.

Some of the more challenging sequences were staged on the ice planet of Jotunheim, the production's most intricate set. The Third Floor team worked closely with visual effects supervisor Wesley Sewell and visual effects producer Diana Giorgiutti to hone in on the director’s vision, and plan the complex visual effects shots required to tell a story of this magnitude.

“We created a digital set that matched the final design of the physical set very closely,” said Ramirez.   “Once the scenes were filmed, we composited our previs environments into the greenscreen plates.  On a project with this level of imagination, it was critical for editorial and the rest of the production to have a clear sense of the scale throughout the filming and post production of all of the heavily CG scenes.”

The Third Floor additionally created previs to help investigate unique and film-able options for portraying the teleportation effect between worlds, and, working from an existing storyboard animatic also created previs blocking for destruction scenes shot in New Mexico.

While director Branagh had used previs selectively on prior projects, Thor was the first of his films where previs played a central and integral role to help him achieve his vision. This effort included the use of previs to prototype and explore options for numerous mythic characters and creatures, including the design and movement of eight-legged horse Sleipnir, and the look and feel of key props and costume elements like Thor's cape and hammer.

Thor marks The Third Floor's second project with Marvel Studios, following the company's previous collaboration to provide the previs for Iron Man 2. The facility also worked on Avatar as well as the upcoming X-Men: First Class and Captain America: The First Avenger.

“Our goal was to be a nexus for the production, to help bring all of the creative and technical pieces of the puzzle together, and to depict the director’s vision as accurately as possible,” said Chris Edwards, CEO and Creative Director at The Third Floor, Inc. “As this was the début of Thor in a major motion picture, our team had both the opportunity and the responsibility to help Marvel and the filmmakers stay faithful to the original IP, while pushing the limits of what’s possible with this powerful and intriguing cast of characters.”