SpeedTree Brings Photoreal Vegetation to The Wolf of Wall Street
January 23, 2014

SpeedTree Brings Photoreal Vegetation to The Wolf of Wall Street

COLUMBIA, SC — From a prison yard to a beachside wedding with windblown palms, a wide range of critical location shots in the 2014 Oscar-nominated film The Wolf of Wall Street were created with the help of SpeedTree.

The Martin Scorsese film is one of five featuring SpeedTree that were nominated  for 2014 Oscars, including three for visual special effects. 

New York-based visual effects studio Brainstorm Digital selected SpeedTree to enhance several key scenes in The Wolf of Wall Street.  Brainstorm was asked by the movie's VFX Supervisor, Rob Legato, to "relocate" shots into completely new environments that were set in the Hamptons, a beach-side wedding and an aerial shot of a prison tennis court that was almost entirely CG-created.

"Trees and plants were a big challenge," noted Eran Dinur, Senior VFX Supervisor at Brainstorm Digital. "It wasn't only about creating realistic trees.  In some cases, we had to use SpeedTree to seamlessly extend existing trees, or match their wind movement when adding CG vegetation."

"SpeedTree's excellent level of customization enabled us to start off with basic trees and plants and fine-tune them to perfectly match the vegetation in the footage," added Dinur.  "With the easy randomization control, our matte painters were able to quickly create variations, while keeping an integral look. SpeedTree saved us many precious hours on those tricky environment shots."

Brainstorm has posted a reel below that demonstrates how SpeedTree and other CG visuals were integrated with Scorsese's masterful work.

The Wolf of Wall Street VFX Highlights from Brainstorm Digital on Vimeo.

Of the five films using SpeedTree nominated for 2014 Oscars, three received Best Visual Effects nominations: Iron Man 3, The Lone Ranger, and Star Trek Into Darkness. Other nominated movies were The Great Gatsby, and The Wolf of Wall Street, the latter of which is up for Best Picture.

"SpeedTree has added considerably to fantasy and science fiction films through the years, but we're always pleased to see it enhancing photoreal locations," said Michael Sechrest, President and co-founder of SpeedTree developer, Interactive Data Visualization (IDV).  "Although the average movie-goer often doesn't see it, matching reality is often the hardest thing to do in post-production."