‘Pixels’ is the latest action-comedy from director Chris Columbus, who has previously brought us classics such as ‘Home Alone’, ‘Mrs. Doubtfire’ and the first two Harry Potter films. Starring Adam Sandler, Kevin James, Peter Dinklage and Josh Gad, ‘Pixels’ from Sony Pictures opens in U.S. theaters on July 24, 2015.
Sandler plays Sam Brenner, a home entertainment installer whose life hasn’t quite panned out as he hoped it might, until he receives a call from old friend Will Cooper (James) who is now the President of the United States. It seems that aliens have intercepted video feeds from Earth of classic arcade games, and misinterpreting them as a declaration of war have decided to launch a pre-emptive strike on the planet using the games as models. Will recruits Sam to lead a team of old-school arcade experts who are tasked with fighting off the alien threat and ultimately saving the planet.
Prime Focus World became involved with this movie early in the post-production process, called in by ‘Pixels’ stereographer Marcus Alexander. Marcus worked closely with PFW Senior Stereographer Ben Murray and the associate stereo supervision team of Ritesh ‘Ricky’ Aggarwal, James Rees and Brian Lee.
“We’ve worked with Marcus before on shows such as ‘Seventh Son’ and ‘Wrath of the Titans’,” said Ricky Aggarwal. “It’s always fun working with him, and on this show it was even more so due to the style of the 3D that Marcus wanted.”
“’Pixels’ was an opportunity to really play with the depth,” agreed James Rees. “Marcus wanted lots of 3D moments in the movie, with elements flying 100 or sometimes 200 pixels into negative. He really used the full potential of the 3D on this show.”
One of the key scenes in the movie was the Pac-Man chase scene, which sees an oversized Pac-Man chasing our heroes around a city in minis (which represent the ghosts in the original game).
“This is a crazy, action-packed 10 minute chase scene,” continued Ricky. “You have pixels flying out into the theater - Pac-Man is chomping through the city and sending particles and pixels flying everywhere. Marcus wanted these elements to fly out further than we’ve ever taken things before, which presented quite a challenge in terms of the conversion process. The final results look amazing though and were well worth the extra effort.”
“Another fun element of this movie was Q*bert,” said James. “As you might remember, Q*bert has a very long nose, and Marcus decided he wanted to totally re-rack some of the Q*bert shots and create a false mask at the bottom of the screen, so that it feels as though his nose is hanging out into the theater. In another sequence he’s jumping on trampolines, and flies up out of the screen in a top-down shot that brings him way negative of the screen plane. Again, we animated the top and bottom of screen so that he breaks frame.”
“Apart from cuddly arcade characters with long noses breaking frame, and space invaders flying out of the screen, and giant Tetris blocks falling and crushing cities, this was a pretty normal show,” joked Ricky. “We created head geometry for the main characters from cyberscans of the actors and tracked it in to ensure consistency and accuracy of the facial sculpting, and we received and broke out element packages from the VFX vendors to ensure that the amazing VFX work looked as good as possible in stereo.”
The stereography team ran the show creatively and handled client reviews in Vancouver, with shot production taken care of by PFW’s stereo teams in Mumbai under the supervision of stereographer Jimmy Philip.
“Even though we started work early on ‘Pixels’, it was such a VFX heavy show that we were still receiving VFX deliveries days before delivery,” concluded James. “This was probably our biggest challenge on ‘Pixels’, but one that we are very used to and that we can handle due to the scale and flexibility of our stereo team.”
‘Pixels’ is out on July 24 in the U.S., August 7 in India and on August 12 in the U.K.
RELEASE: July 24, 2015 (US), Aug 7, 2015 (India), Aug 12, 2015 (UK)
Director: Chris Columbus
Studios / Distributors: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing
Senior Stereographer - Ben Murray
Senior Stereo Producer - Rohan Desai
Stereo Producer - Chad Cortvriendt
Stereo Production Manager - Cassius Vaz
Editorial Supervisor - Richard Pring
TDs - Isaac Guenard, Charlie Luce
Associate Stereo Supervisor Team
Ritesh Aggarwal, Brian Lee, James Rees
Stereo Digital Production Team
Bakshad Amrolia, Jessica Carrington, Tim Sharp, Naline Amaral
Stereo Conversion Leads
Grant Robertson, Rio Harrington, Matthew Lutes, Jason Dougarian
Stereo Editorial Team
Lewis Menga, Ryan Loates, Bec Cranswick, Baljot Bhatti
Senior Stereo Supervisor - Merzin Tavaria
Senior Stereo Producer - Gaurav Jain
Stereo Producer - Franklin Mascarenhas
Stereographer - Jimmy Philip
Stereo Producer - Subbu Pillai
Stereo Production Managers - Ravi Shetty & Ashish Dadhich
Stereo Production Coordinator - Shohil Vohra
Stereo Pipeline Supervisor - Parminder Chadda
TD - Piyush Jain
Associate Stereo Supervisor Team
Abhishek Warang, Ankit Jobanputra, Athmi Rai, Bhavya Dixit, Dhiraj Sukheja, Gourav Gupta, Himanshu Ajmera, Manu Jain, Puneet Samra, Rahul Wagh, Rakhee Ghosh, Rohan Tirkey, Sameer Samant, Swapnil Shelar, Varion Pereira
Stereo Conversion Leads
Ambikesh Patel, Biswaranjan Mohanty, Darshan Deepak Rane, Dixa Hemant Desai, Gopinath Kotalwar, Harshad Masurkar, Manish G Chavan, Jignesh Vinodbhai Solanki, Kalpita Tendulkar, Keshav Parab, Krushna Raja Ram Udavant, Nitesh Chandra, Nitin Ravindra Chavan