‘The Great Wall’ is a film of many firsts - the first major film to be shot at Dalian Wanda’s new movie making complex in the city of Qingdao, China’s first attempt to produce a Western style blockbuster and the largest China-US co-production to date. As such, it was being keenly watched before its release as an example of the possibilities for future co-operation between the two biggest film markets in the world. Helmed by visionary director Zhang Yimou (House of Flying Daggers) and with a cast of A-list Chinese names as well as Matt Damon, the film opened strongly in China, taking $69 million in its first weekend and paving the way for future China-US co-productions.
‘The Great Wall’ follows a pair of foreign mercenaries (played by Matt Damon and Game of Thrones’ Pedro Pascal) who unwittingly stumble upon the wall while on the run. Greeted by an enormous army, they discover that these warriors are protecting the wall against the Taotie – green-blooded monsters that scale the Great Wall every 60 years to feed.
Prime Focus World was the exclusive 3D conversion partner on the movie, and Ben Breckenridge took the role of client-side stereo supervisor, working closely with the director and Legendary to deliver a 3D experience that was designed very much with Chinese audiences in mind.
“The Chinese market really enjoys an immersive 3D experience, so we pushed the depth even further for this show and had lots of fun with the conversion,” explained Ben. “This is a monster movie, so we had action coming out of the screen at the audience whenever we could, and played the show deep.”
Ben had previously worked with Legendary on ‘Godzilla’, but this was director Zhang Yimou’s first 3D film, and Ben’s primary task was to convert a number of key shots and present them to the director as a look-development exercise, to pin down the requirement for the 3D.
“The director was pleased with the look that I presented, so we were able to settle on the style for the 3D very quickly,” continued Ben. “One of the key notes was to make it as immersive as possible, so we augmented certain key sequences to pull the audience even further into the film.”
Extra VFX elements were used to achieve this effect; for example, to enhance a ferocious battle in the fog, extra VFX elements were layered into the shot to create the effect of the fog rolling out of the screen and into theater space, addressing the director’s request that the audience share the sensory deprivation that the characters were experiencing.
“This was a great show to work on, and an opportunity for us to have a lot of fun with the conversion,” concluded Ben. “I look forward to working with the team at Legendary again soon.”
“The Great Wall” opens in the U.S. and the U.K. on February 17, 2017.
RELEASE: February 17, 2017 (US), February 24, 2017 (UK)
Director: Zhang Yimou
Studios / Distributors: Legendary East / China Film Group / Universal Pictures
Show Senior Stereo Supervisor - Ben Breckenridge
Show Stereo Supervisors - Ritesh Aggarwal, Tim Chou, James Rees, Marc Brzezicki
Stereo Producer - Cassius Vaz
Stereo Editorial Supervisor - Richard Pring
Stereo Technical Directors - Isaac Guenard, Charlie Luce, Luke Gray, Robin Emerson, Thomas Castellani
Global Stereo Resource Producer - Monika Hada
Stereo Production Team - Jillian Tsai, Rebecca Fairlien, James Chang, Annsh Patel, Ethan Casper, Reshma Jhangimal, Tylor Maurer, Stephanie Chan
Stereo Editorial Team - Wes Welcott, Lewis Sonny Menga, Bec Cranswick, Shenyan Liu, Jorge Jimenez, Jahan Zeb, Sarah Fricker, Steven Roste, Lei Zhang, Ashley Colaric
Stereo Executive Producer - Gaurav Jain
Stereo Head of Production - Franklin Mascarenhas
Show Senior Stereo Supervisors - Jimmy Philip, Ben Murray
Stereo Producer - Bakshad Amrolia
Stereo Production Managers - Romi Kiran, Nitin Bahl
Stereo Pipeline TDs - Piyush Jain, Deepak Nayak, Abhilash Mohapatra
Show Stereo Supervisors - Sameer Samant, Puneet Samra, Varion Pereira