British filmmaker Guy Ritchie (Sherlock Holmes, Snatch) is back with an idiosyncratically dynamic take on the Arthurian legend – ‘King Arthur: Legend of the Sword’. Starring Charlie Hunnam (Pacific Rim, Sons of Anarchy) as a young Arthur and Jude Law (Sherlock Holmes, Hugo) as the evil Vortigern, this epic fantasy adventure traces Arthur’s journey from the back alleys of the city to taking his rightful place on the throne.
Prime Focus World was brought in by Warner Bros. to deliver stereo conversion services for the movie, and PFW Senior Stereographer Barry O’Brien and Stereo Producer Richard Edwards worked closely with show stereographer Chris Parks to deliver PFW’s contribution to the film.
“I enjoyed collaborating with Chris again on King Arthur,” said Barry O’Brien. “I’ve previously worked with him on Gravity, Edge of Tomorrow, In The Heart of the Sea and most recently Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, and I feel that we now know how to get shots very close to how Chris likes them on first submission, allowing him to focus more on the details rather than the broad strokes.”
PFW’s work on King Arthur came hot on the heels of its stereo conversion work for Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them, also for Warner Bros.
“Everyone was very happy with the stereo look we achieved on Fantastic Beasts, but King Arthur is a very different show in terms of its style and the way it has been shot,” continued Barry. “Guy Ritchie’s shooting style is very distinctive and dynamic, with lots of crash zooms and fast pans, and there is a lot of long lens work in Arthur – all things that are challenging for stereo – so we tailored the look of the conversion to work in service of the shooting style.”
One of the techniques that Barry and the PFW team used to support the crash zooms in the film was to animate the interaxial to match the changes in focal length during the zooms.
“As the shot crash-zooms out we animated the interaxial to ensure that the characters don’t miniaturize – everything compresses away,” explained Barry. “And as you crash-zoom in we expanded the characters forward and increased their volume equally.
“Another consideration was that the film has a very fast paced cut, which can be a challenge for 3D. We didn’t flatten the depth for the fast cuts though, as sometimes happens. Chris has done a fantastic job of the depth grade, making sure that all the cuts flow together without compromising the depth.”
Shooting with long lenses also creates challenges in stereo, as a long lens tends to make everything in the shot look the same size.
“A character in the foreground will tend to look the same size as a row of characters in the background in a 2D shot captured with a long lens,” continued Barry. “During the conversion we needed to introduce space between the foreground and background elements to make the scale look correct. We’re also always careful to keep good volume in the characters without making them feel too big in the scene. It’s a tricky balancing act, but the end results look great.”
The PFW team worked hard to deliver a natural looking, realistic but deep 3D experience.
“We focused a lot on character volume in particular,” said Barry, “making sure that the characters felt realistically shaped throughout, right down to the very sliver of fall-off that you see on the edges of characters’ bodies and faces. We also paid close attention to the fine sculpting of features and details in faces – eyelashes, nostrils and lips – so that they are all correctly contoured and animated in 3D. This attention to detail makes for a very satisfying 3D experience.”
There were a number of challenging sequences throughout the film for the conversion team, including a 30 second shot in which Arthur uses Excalibur to single-handedly defeat a horde of Blackleg soldiers.
“Method Studios had created this intensely VFX-heavy 30 second shot,” said Richard Edwards, PFW Stereo Producer. “It features lots of ramped speed effects, slow motion and objects flying towards camera, which make it perfect for 3D. One of the main challenges was the sheer length and complexity of the shot, but further to that we also delivered VFX augmentation work, creating arrowheads to enhance a particular moment when they fly towards the camera but are shattered with a swing of Excalibur. It’s a really entertaining shot and we were all pleased with the way it turned out.”
The final battle scene of the movie, in which Arthur faces off against ‘The Nemesis’, was similarly challenging, but also fun for the conversion team, as Barry explained:
“The final battle takes place on a platform surrounded by splashing waves, and throughout the scene there are sparks and embers emitting from the Nemesis’ cloak and weapons. We spent a lot of time placing and animating these embers, really filling up the volume on screen to create an especially immersive experience. There are lots of 3D moments in this scene, with floating embers and weapons flying towards camera – it’s a great sequence and a fittingly dramatic climax for the film.”
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword hits cinemas in the US on May 12, 2017, and in the UK on May 19.
RELEASE: May 12, 2017 (US), May 19, 2017 (UK)
Director: Guy Ritchie
Studios / Distributors: Warner Bros.
Studio Stereographer: Chris Parks
Stereo Supervisor: Barry O'Brien
Stereo Producer: Richard Edwards
Production Coordinators: Carolina Karlson, Nicole Karlson, Dan Hogg, Vineet Malhotra
Editorial: Janak Griffin-Rai, Andrew Fineberg, James Noorani
Lead Artists: Vishal Patel, Naresh Rawat
Systems / Data Support: Esriq Hidil, Dhruv Uppal
Pipeline: Eoin Greenham, Laszlo Rikker
Stereographers: Tim Chou, Marc Brzezicki, Jason Bowers
Production Manager: Jon Warne
Production Coordinators: Stephanie Chan, Tylor Maurer
Head of Editorial: Richard Pring
Editorial: Wes Walcott, Shenyan Liu, Lewis 'Sonny' Menga
Stereo Artists: Brendan Llave, Brian Mccann, Brittany Wetzel, Erik Classen, Geoffrey Harlos, Kat Kelly, Michael Jimenez, Murat Ayasli, Pablo Wang, Ricky Lu, Robert Reategui, Tasha Brotherton, Venkat Rathnam, Wessley Summers, Alvaroz Endejas, Damian Karwowski, Ian White, Jushua Provido, Michael Mansueto
Pipeline: Charlie Luce, Isaac Guernard, Luke Grey
Data Support: Vince Stewart, Gregory Koutrakos, Danny Lu, Jahan Zeb, Lucas Baker
Head of View-D: Rohan Desai
Executive Producer, View-D: Gaurav Jain
Show Stereographer: Jimmy Philip
View-D Producers: Parminder Goyal, Gufran Khan
View-D Assistant Production Manager: Pranjal Saxena
View-D Project Coordinator: Seerat Bawa
View-D Pipeline TD: Piyush Jain
Show Supervisors: Manu Jain, Dhiraj Sukhija
View-D Creative Supervisors: Dhiraj S Sukheja, Himanshu Ajmera, Rohan Tirkey, Varion Pereira, Gourav Gupta, Omkar Rahate, Salil Dattaram Devji, Rakhee Ghosh, Deepali Shivaji Katekar, Dixa Hemant Desai, Salil Devji
View-D Creative Leads & SMEs: Sanket Kulkarni, Krushna Udavant, Vinod Vaishya, Keshav Parab, Mayank Mishra, Bhavesh Rank, Ambikesh Patel, Rathod Milind Gopal, Avinash Sugat Prasannadarshi, Rahul Kumar Singh, Niraj Kumar Sinha, Gopinath Kotalwar, Kiran Parmar, Prateek Sharma, Vinay Pratap Singh, Sandhya Anandrao Chavan