From Australian screenwriter and film director Stuart Beattie comes I, Frankenstein, a fantasy action adventure starring Aaron Eckhart as Adam Frankenstein. Produced by Lakeshore Entertainment for Lionsgate, I, Frankenstein was co-written by Underworld actor and writer Kevin Grevioux, based on his Darkstorm Studios graphic novel of the same name. The film also stars Bill Nighy, Miranda Otto, Aden Young, Jai Courtney and Grevioux himself.
Set 200 years after his traumatic awakening, Dr Frankenstein’s creation Adam still walks the earth. In a dystopian version of the present day, Adam finds himself trapped in the middle of a war between two immortal clans – the gargoyles and the demons – which could destroy humankind.
Prime Focus World was the exclusive 3D conversion partner for I, Frankenstein. Working closely with Executive Producer James McQuaide and Producer Richard S Wright, PFW Senior Stereographer Justin Jones and Associate Stereographer Ritesh ‘Ricky’ Aggarwal creatively led the conversion from PFW’s Vancouver studio, with the majority of the 1855 shots delivered by the company’s Mumbai facility via the global View-D™ pipeline.
“I, Frankenstein represents another epic achievement for our global View-D team,” commented Chief Creative Director Merzin Tavaria. “This is a big VFX film, but it is also a very character-driven story, and we made full use of stereo techniques to help tell that story.”
Adam goes through a number of character transformations during the movie, and Justin, Ricky and the team used the flexibility of the conversion process to support these emotional changes on-screen. At the beginning of the film, Adam is clearly a monster; but as the plot progresses, the audience sees a more human side to his character, as well as a later resurgence of his monstrous nature. Although his appearance does not physically change during these transformations, the PFW team deformed Adam’s bone structure in depth for scenes in which he is more monstrous, and employed more natural and ‘correct’ sculpting in other scenes to make him appear more human.
“The client came up with another great idea,” said Justin. “The human characters in the film have catch lights in their eyes, denoting that they have souls. We pushed these lights back in depth by a pixel or two, to add the spark of life to their appearances. The demons have no souls, so there are no catch lights in the eyes of these characters. It is a very subtle effect, but if you look closely you’ll see that sometimes Adam has the catch lights in his eyes, and sometimes he does not – another cue for the audience as to the state of his character in the scene.”
The project began for PFW in November 2012, with test work on the teaser trailer, and the production ran from May to November 2013 following a two-month pre-production period. The edit was mostly locked when the reels were turned over to PFW, allowing the team to create a depth flow to support the narrative arc of the movie, and to develop stereo looks for the main characters to ensure consistency to the sculpting throughout.
The decision was made at the start of the process to flatten many of the backgrounds, while simultaneously adding more volume and sculpting than normal to the characters, allowing the characters to stand-out and be the main focus throughout the entire film. Another important early consideration was how to treat the huge battle scenes between the gargoyles and the demons.
“There are a number of big VFX battle sequences in the movie,” said Justin. “When the demons are defeated, they crumble into debris and create a firetrail – their spirit – which flies around the scene before entering the ground. We had great fun playing with these twisting trails of fire in depth, and created some really dramatic 3D sequences.”
Undoubtedly the most dramatic sequence in the film was the climactic battle between Adam and the demon prince Naberius [Nighy], as PFW Associate Stereographer Ricky Aggarwal recounts.
“This was a big sequence, with multiple shots of different styles – close-ups, wides, VFX shots – all cut together,” said Ricky. “Through conversion, we were able to balance all these different lenses to create a dramatic sequence that did not jar the viewer. It was the most challenging and the most visually appealing sequence in the movie, and Justin and I spent a lot of time developing the look before presenting to the clients – who loved what they saw immediately.”
“James [McQuaide] and Richard [Wright] both worked on the Underworld series, and they know a lot about shooting 3D - but I think they were really pleased with the level of control they had over the stereo during the conversion,” concluded Justin. “The ability to try out different techniques, and to experiment with different looks, was a distinct advantage for the filmmakers on I, Frankenstein, and they definitely appreciated the creative control that conversion afforded them.”
I, Frankenstein is released by Lionsgate in North America on 24 January 2014, and in the UK on 29 January. It will also receive a 31 January release in India.
RELEASE: January 24, 2014
Director: Stuart Beattie
Producers: Gary Lucchesi, Andrew Mason, Tom Rosenberg, Richard S. Wright
Studio / Distributor: Lionsgate
PFW Scope of Work: 3D conversion, 1855 shots
Exclusive Conversion Partner
PFW Lead Facility: Vancouver
Head of Production: Rohan Desai
Senior Stereo Supervisor: Justin Jones
Associate Stereo Supervisor: Ritesh 'Ricky" Aggarwal
Producer: Michael Anders, Chad Cortvriendt
Production Manager: Cassius Vaz
Technical Director: Isaac Guenard
PFW Associate Team: Mumbai
Chief Creative Director: Merzin Tavaria
Head of Production: Stephen Mascarenhas
3D Technical Supervisor: Parminder Chadda
Head of View-D™ Production: Franklin Mascarenhas
Senior Stereo Supervisor: Jimmy Philip
Producer: Nixon Fernando
Production Manager: Nitin Kumar Bahl
PFW I, Frankenstein Brochure
“We made Underworld 4 in 3D, which we shot with 3D cameras. It was a very complicated and long shoot, and the camera rigs were huge and unwieldy. We found it much easier – and actually the end result was much better – to shoot the movie in 2D and then convert to 3D. The 3D conversion that Prime Focus did was spectacular – I think the conversion of I, Frankenstein is one of the finest 3D conversions that I’ve ever seen.”
- Gary Lucchesi – President, Lakeshore Entertainment