From director David Yates and Warner Bros. comes ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, an action-adventure epic starring Alexander Skarsgård as Tarzan, Margot Robbie as Jane, Samuel L Jackson as George Washington Williams and Oscar winner Christoph Waltz as Captain Leon Rom.
After directing the final four instalments of the Harry Potter franchise David Yates was not short of a script or two to read for his next project, but it was ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ that really caught his eye, because it was so far removed from his expectations. Talking at the film’s press day, Yates acknowledged that while there are exciting action sequences and epic locations in the movie, there is also a deep emotional connection between Tarzan and the natural world, and a moving love story to explore, and that these elements really attracted him to the project.
The story begins years after the man once known as Tarzan has left the jungles of Africa behind for a gentrified life as John Clayton III, Lord Greystoke, with his beloved wife, Jane at his side. Invited back to the Congo to serve as a trade emissary of Parliament, he is unaware that he has become a pawn in a deadly convergence of greed and revenge, masterminded by Belgian Captain Leon Rom. But those behind the murderous plot have no idea what they are about to unleash.
Prime Focus World (PFW) was brought in as the exclusive stereo conversion partner on the film early in the production process, following a call from David Yates to PFW senior stereographer Richard Baker.
“I first met David [Yates] when we were working on the stereo conversion of ‘Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows’” said Richard Baker. “He brought us in early on ‘The Legend of Tarzan’, and I discussed the conversion with David and director of photography Henry Braham prior to the shoot. As I was invited on-set, I was able to give feedback on how we could tackle various sequences as they shot them, helping design the shots for 3D during principle photography.”
Prime Focus World delivered 1,713 shots for the 100 minute movie, over 1,200 of which were VFX shots. PFW worked closely with the various VFX vendors – including Framestore, MPC, Lola, Method, Rising Sun and One Of Us – to harvest elements packages for the more complicated VFX shots, allowing for more detail and accuracy in the stereo conversion.
“There were a number of conversion challenges on this show,” continued Baker. “CG characters were used extensively throughout the film and as part of the main cast, and we opted to use native stereo renders for some of the trickier elements, such as close-ups of CG fur. The jungle added another level of complexity to the conversion – it’s a very complicated environment, and our intention was to convey a feeling of total immersion, so that audiences felt surrounded by the foliage and the mist and the rain.”
Another technical challenge that the team overcame on this show arose because the 2D and 3D versions of the movie were being finished at the same time. David Yates was working on the grade of the 2D version at Technicolor, then travelling across London to Prime Focus to review the stereo 3D shots… but the stereo conform didn’t incorporate the latest grading decisions.
“We needed to find a quick and easy way to export Technicolor’s latest grade and apply it to our stereo comps, so that David could review the 3D with his most recent colour decisions,” explained Baker. “Technicolor suggested we use BLGs, and after discussing with our pipeline team we implemented this new colour workflow to great effect.”
Filmlight’s Baselight Linked Grade (BLG) metadata format allowed Technicolor to publish grades as they were completed and transfer them to PFW via a compact XML file, which could then be imported as a Baselight node into NUKE and applied to PFW’s stereo comps.
“At its peak we were reviewing over 200 shots a day,” said Baker. “The fact that we were able to use this colour workflow to present our work to David in the correct colour space, and that the process was so easy to implement, was invaluable. Once the primary finish of the movie was completed in 2D, I spent about two weeks with David at Technicolor grading the final 3D version of the film, adjusting the grade to enhance the 3D work we had delivered.”
And the result of all this hard work? A sumptuous, immersive and atmospheric 3D experience that has to be seen on the big screen. ‘The Legend of Tarzan’ releases in US theaters on July 1, 2016.
RELEASE: July 1, 2016 (US), July 6, 2016 (UK)
Director: David Yates
Studios / Distributors: Warner Bros.
Senior Stereo Supervisor: Richard W. Baker
Stereo Supervision: Barry O'Brien, Marc Brzezicki
Producer: Valeria Andino
Production Manager: Richard Edwards
Production Coordinators: Dan Hogg, Carolina Karlson, Nicole Karlson, Chris Preston-Barnes
Editorial: Lewis 'Sonny' Menga, Janak Griffin-Rai, Richard Pring, Vikram Dharankar, Tristan Fisher
Stereo Compositors: Vishal Patel, Maria Asim Ali, Kat Kelly, Naresh Rawat
Data Operations: Dhruv Uppal, Ersiq Hidil, Gregory Koutrakos, Vince Stewart, Danny Lu
Show TDs: Laszlo Rikker, Luke Gray, Piyush Jain
Pipeline: Eoin Greenham, Charlie Luce, Robin Emerson, Isaac Guenard
Head of View-D: Rohan Desai
Executive Producer, View-D: Gaurav Jain
Show Stereographer: Jimmy Philip
View-D Manager: Gufran Khan
Show Supervisor: Dhiraj Sukheja
View-D Project Co-ordinator: Gauree Patil
View-D Creative Supervisors: Deepali Shivaji Katekar, Dixa Hemant Desai, Gourav Gupta, Himanshu, Manu Jain, Omkar Rahate, Rakhee Ghosh, Rohan Tirkey, Varion Pereira, Vinay Das