Loosely based on ‘The Spook’s Apprentice’, the first book in Joseph Delaney’s young adults' fantasy series ‘The Wardstone Chronicles’, Seventh Son is a new fantasy film from Russian director Sergei Bodrov for Legendary Pictures, starring Jeff Bridges, Julianne Moore and Ben Barnes. Prime Focus World has delivered the full 3D conversion of the movie, as well as VFX work.
Seventh Son is set in a time long past, in a world where an evil is about to be unleashed that will reignite the war between the forces of the supernatural and humankind. Centuries ago, Master Gregory (Jeff Bridges) captured and imprisoned the malevolently powerful witch Mother Malkin (Julianne Moore) - but she has now escaped and is seeking vengeance. Summoning her followers of every incarnation, Mother Malkin prepares to unleash her terrible wrath on an unsuspecting world. Only Master Gregory and his new apprentice Tom Ward (Ben Barnes) – the seventh son of a seventh son – stand in her way.
Prime Focus World’s full 3D conversion of Seventh Son was led out of its Vancouver studio, with support from the Mumbai and London facilities. PFW Senior Stereographer Ben Murray collaborated closely with studio stereo supervisor Marcus Alexander (with whom PFW had previously worked on Wrath of the Titans) to deliver the 1,665 converted shots for the movie.
“Working with Marcus on Seventh Son was a great collaborative experience,” said PFW Senior Stereographer Ben Murray. “As the movie was being shot with conversion in mind, Marcus was on-set during production and involved in the design of the shots. He provided a detailed depth script at the start of the project, which was a good starting point to take the stereo to the level we did at final."
PFW’s work on Seventh Son was notable for the extent of the pre-production creative planning carried out before the conversion began. The entire show was ‘depth framed’ – depth was applied to key still frames throughout the movie – to create a depth storyboard, which became an invaluable creative tool for both the filmmakers and the PFW conversion team.
“We also took a new approach to the creative management of this show,” added Rohan Desai, SVP View-D™, Vancouver. “We appointed a group of seven sequence leads, reporting to Ben. Each lead was allocated a number of sequences to cover the entire movie, allowing Ben to cover far more ground each day. The leads were responsible for communicating notes from the reviews, breaking out elements, fixing comps and supervising the artists working on their sequences across all three Prime Focus World sites. This approach was especially important on Seventh Son to help handle the integration of a multitude of VFX shots supplied by a number of different VFX vendors, allowing the senior creative team the time to drive the show more effectively and creatively.”
As always, the PFW team was keen to use the depth it was creating to help enhance the storytelling. There is a good example of this in the scene in which Master Gregory comes to collect Tom from his home, to begin his apprenticeship.
“We intentionally played the early scenes of Tom’s life at home quite shallow and compressed,” explained Ben Murray. “The resulting feel is of tight, confined, restrictive spaces – a small home in a small village, which is all that Tom has ever known. Then, as Tom leaves the village with his new master, we open up the depth as Tom’s perspective on the world expands, putting much more depth into the huge vistas he sees, and allowing everything to feel bigger and more expansive.”
“Another example of this can be seen in the shots from the dragon’s point of view – ‘dragon vision’, as we called it,” added Ben. “In these shots we really push the stereo to extremes, creating a feeling that the dragon’s vision is completely different and heightened, with a huge range of stereo depth and detail, before snapping back to normal stereo for other characters POV’s and the wide shots.”
The stereo conversion team were also on hand to consult with PFW’s own VFX department, who contributed 50 VFX shots to the movie, including smoke and atmospheric effects for the final battle scene, and the development of the style for the ‘Tom’s Vision’ sequences.
“We had a number of important discussions with our stereo conversion department whilst we were developing the ‘Tom’s Vision’ sequences,” said PFW VFX Supervisor Randy Goux. “Lots of look development went into these creative transitions as Tom flashes forward, experiencing premonitions, and it was important that the ideas we were generating worked well in stereo.”
Over 1,400 Prime Focus World staff worked on the conversion of Seventh Son across its Vancouver, London and Mumbai studios, and 50 VFX shots were provided by PFW’s Vancouver VFX team.
RELEASE: February 6, 2015
Director: Sergei Bodrov
Producers: Basil Iwanyk, Thomas Tull, Lionel Wigram
Studio / Distributor: Legendary Pictures / Universal Pictures
PFW View-D Team
Senior Stereographer: Ben Murray
Head of Production: Rohan Desai
View-D Producer: Chad Cortvriendt
Stereographer: Brian Lee
Production Manager: Cassius Vaz
Senior TD: Isaac Guenard
TD: Tom Castellani
Elements Lead: Adam Potvin
Senior Vice President, Production: Stephen Mascarenhas
Head of Production: Franklin Mascarenhas
Technical Supervisor: Parminder Chadda
Production Manager: Bakshad Amrolia
Stereographer: Ankur Sachdev
TDs: Amit Desai, Piyush Jain
Stereographer: Barry O’Brien
View-D Producer: Valeria Andino
Assistant Production Manager: Ben Harrison
Production Co-ordinators: Vikki Chapman and Nick Thompson
PFW VFX Team
VFX Supervisor: Randy Goux
VFX Producer: Justin Gladden
Production Co-ordinator: Cat Counsell
Comp Lead: David Rose
Comp Artists: Sam Johnston. Joseph Li, Karl Rosner
Lead Roto Artist: Heather MacPhee Ryan
Roto/Paint Artist: Claire Duthie