Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt star in Warner Bros. Pictures and Village Roadshow Pictures’ summer sci-fi thriller Edge of Tomorrow from director Doug Liman. Based on the Japanese novel ‘All You Need is Kill’ by Hiroshi Sakurazaka, Edge of Tomorrow was the first motion picture to be shot at Warner Bros. Studios Leavesden in the UK.
Prime Focus World was the exclusive stereo conversion partner on Edge of Tomorrow, which reunited the award-winning team that delivered the stereo conversion work for Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity. PFW’s Senior Stereo Supervisor Richard Baker and SVP Production Matthew Bristowe worked closely with Edge of Tomorrow Stereo Supervisor Chris Parks to deliver all 113 riveting minutes of the action-packed film, which saw PFW employing its geometry mapping techniques for stars Tom Cruise and Emily Blunt, and for certain key environments, to ensure consistency and accuracy of depth amidst all the action.
“This was Tom Cruise’s first 3D film, so we needed to show that he was going to look fantastic in stereo,” recalls Prime Focus World Senior Stereo Supervisor Richard Baker. “This tied in well with our use of head geometry. We use head geo to a level of accuracy that I don’t think any other company can match, and Chris Parks, being a native stereographer, really values that. We were able to show Chris, Doug [Liman] and the studio some early shots of Tom in 3D which looked great – and consequently everybody was on board with the 3D from the start.”
Richard creatively led the global PFW stereo teams on Edge Of Tomorrow to deliver all 2,095 shots for the film, assisted by Stereo Supervisor Barry O’Brien in London and Senior Stereographer Jimmy Phillip in Mumbai. Prime Focus Vancouver also contributed to the project, processing the VFX elements delivered by MPC in Vancouver for use in the conversion. As with all of Prime Focus World’s stereo conversion work, ensuring the highest levels of detail in every shot was paramount.
“Chris [Parks] always strives to get as much detail as possible into characters and environments,” explained Stereo Supervisor Barry O’Brien. “He enjoys highly sculpted and accurate faces, which led our decision to use the facial cyber scans and rig those to drive the depth for our key actors.”
Accuracy and realism was also a priority for director Doug Liman. To meet the challenge, Prime Focus employed the full range of its latest creative and technical conversion techniques, including auto stereo camera generation for VFX integration.
“There is a sequence in the bunker in which the characters are interacting with a hologram,” said Barry. “Semi-transparent holograms can be difficult to convert; it’s always preferable to get a stereo render if you can, so it was a perfect opportunity to use the stereo camera generation technology we developed for Gravity.”
The stereo camera generation tool is part of PFW’s proprietary Hybrid Stereo Pipeline. A stereo camera pair is generated from hand-sculpted disparity maps to produce a virtual rig that will work in any CG or compositing environment, allowing the VFX vendor to render CG assets with exactly the right amount of depth for a given slice of the scene.
“On Gravity we’d create stereo cameras, pass them back to Framestore and they’d render stereo VFX to comp into our converted scenes,” Richard elaborated. “On Edge of Tomorrow it was slightly different – rather than set up VFX vendor nvizible for stereo delivery, we passed them the camera pair, they rendered a right eye and we’d finish the shot at PFW, compositing the stereo VFX into our converted shots.”
Prime Focus also further developed its use of particle FX for 3D moments, adding CG exploding debris and dust to scenes, as well as using cyber scans of set environments to maintain detailed accuracy across a wide range of shots.
Richard Baker summarized the evolution of PFW’s conversion techniques and technology: “On World War Z we concentrated on head geo to ensure that Brad Pitt looked perfect in stereo. We finessed these techniques on Gravity, developing the use of head geo further and exploring the use of LIDAR to accurately build the capsule sets in depth. What we are seeing on Edge of Tomorrow is the culmination of years of R&D and practical stereo experience, advancing the use of LIDAR, cyber scans and VFX elements further than ever before. Using geometry we create a consistent starting point that we can then creatively manipulate, giving the filmmaker unlimited creative control over the stereo.”
Edge of Tomorrow opened in the UK on May 30, 2014, and in U.S. theaters on June 6, 2014.
RELEASE: May 30, 2014
Director: Doug Liman
Producers: Jason Hoffs, Gregory Jacobs, Tom Lassally, Jeffrey Silver, Erwin Stoff
Studio / Distributor: Warner Bros.
PFW Scope of Work: 3D conversion
PFW Lead Facility: London
PFW Associate Team(s): Mumbai
Creative Director & Senior Stereographer: Richard Baker
Senior VP, Production, View-D™: Matthew Bristowe
Stereo Supervisor: Barry O’Brien
View-D™ Producer: Valeria Andino
Production Manager: Richard Edwards
Assistant Production Manager: Ben Harrison
Production Co-ordinators: Vikki Chapman, Chris Preston-Barnes
3D Editorial Team: James Cundill, Gus Melton, Janak Griffin-Rai, Stephanie Ross
Global Technical Supervisor: Rajat Roy
Technical Directors: Vili Ivanov, Luke Gray, Laszlo Rikker
Creative Director: Merzin Tavaria
Senior Stereographer: Jimmy Philip
SVP, View-D™: Stephen Mascarenhas
Head of Production: Franklin Mascarenhas
Producer: Bakshad Amrolia
Production Manager: Gufran Khan
Technical Supervisor: Parminder Chadda
Pipeline Technical Director: Piyush Jain
Stereographers: Dhiraj Sukheja, Manu Jain