The Practical Side of 'Elysium' – Creating Effects for the Film
August 22, 2013

The Practical Side of 'Elysium' – Creating Effects for the Film

San Rafael, CA — 32TEN Studios, a San Rafael (Marin, CA)-based company that provides production facilities and practical and visual effects services to entertainment, advertising, and corporate clientele, has provided a number of practical effects for “Elysium.”

The film, from TriStar Pictures in association with Media Rights Capital, opened at number one the second weekend of August at the box office. 

The practical effects team from 32TEN Studios (working at that time within Kerner Optical) began their work on "Elysium" in 2011 by building and executing several shots for the film on the backlot on Kerner Boulevard, base of 32TEN Studios. The team built a 50x50-foot outdoor model of part of the space station at 1/12 scale, featuring buildings and landscaping on Elysium. The film's Raven Shuttle was mounted on a traveling rig, and the team at 32TEN crash-landed the shuttle into the set. A seven-camera shoot captured the action of the shuttle crash - the sequence involved flying Red Epic cameras and other cameras that were hidden within vegetation.

"Elysium" writer-director Neill Blomkamp came to site of the shoot at 32TEN and was impressed with the realism of the chaos that had been created by a practical miniature shot. In an unusual procedure, this miniature shot was done well before principal photography even began, because the ensuing wreck had to be created on location. The miniature shot of the shuttle had to later be matched precisely on the full-size set on location.

During postproduction for "Elysium," a team from Image Engine worked in tandem with the same practical team, now operating as the FX Group within 32TEN Studios. In this capacity, 32TEN supplied explosion elements for a sequence in space - the explosions had to appear as they would actually appear in zero gravity. This imagery was a specialty achieved by the 32TEN team, as they gained extensive similar experience during their years with ILM creating the "Star Wars" movies and numerous other space-based epics.

Shawn Walsh, Visual Effects Producer for "Elysium," said, "The team at 32TEN Studios is easy to work with, they understand the pressures, budgets and time constraints involved with complex productions, and are willing to be flexible in delivering exactly what is needed."

Adds Peter Muyzers, Visual Effects Supervisor for "Elysium," "The practical effects team assembled at 32TEN Studios is unmatched in terms of experience. The shots they gave us were just what we needed, adding that extra layer of realism Neill Blomkamp was looking for."

 The 32TEN FX Team for "Elysium" included: FX Supervisor - Geoff Heron. FX DP - Carl Miller and  Marty Rosenberg, Model Supervisor  - Fon Davis