Director Duncan Jones burst onto the filmmaking scene in 2009 with his feature debut ‘Moon’, a low-budget sci-fi drama that earned him a BAFTA for outstanding debut by a filmmaker. He followed this with ‘Source Code’, a high-concept action movie that was a critical and box office success. Now he’s back with ‘Warcraft’, his own personal take on the stories and lore behind the hugely popular computer game from Blizzard Entertainment.
Produced by Legendary Pictures and distributed by Universal, ‘Warcraft’ is an epic fantasy film set in the world of Azeroth, starring Travis Fimmel (‘Vikings’), Dominic Cooper (‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’), Paula Patton (‘Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol’) and Clancy Brown (‘The Shawshank Redemption’). The peaceful realm of Azeroth stands on the brink of war as Orc warriors, fleeing from their dying home, face off against the human army.
Prime Focus World was brought in early on the project, to digitally re-colour 375 shots and to deliver the full 3D conversion of the movie.
PFW’s James Rees supervised the digital colourisation work, which involved changing the skin colour of Garona (Paula Patton), one of the main characters in the movie.
“We used Nuke to roto Garona and hold out her clothes, using up to 15 masks to isolate different parts of her body,” explained James, “There was lots of fine-tuning required to balance the lighting and enhance skin textures. We also spent some time selecting the right green colour for her skin with Duncan and Bill Westenhofer, the VFX Supervisor.”
In addition to the VFX work, PFW was the exclusive conversion partner on ‘Warcraft’, and PFW stereo supervisor Ritesh ‘Ricky’ Aggarwal worked closely with studio stereographer Marcus Alexander to deliver the stereo conversion of 1958 shots for the 125-minute movie, up to 85% of which were VFX shots.
“The edit was locked and the VFX was completed before the stereo conversion started,” explained Ricky. “This allowed us to extract VFX elements much earlier in the process, helping us to break down the scenes in depth and layer the assets to create really immersive stereo sequences.”
The conversion team was able to utilise z-depths of the CG characters and cyber-scans of the live-action characters to ensure consistency of sculpting and to deliver a stereo conversion with a huge amount of detail. This also allowed PFW to enhance the stereo version of the film per Marcus Alexander’s brief, adding details such as the creation of more stereo volume for the orcs to make them appear even larger-than-life.
“Marcus delivered a depth script for each shot of the film, with convergence and disparity guidance, whether there was an animation of the depth in the shot, notes on camera movement, and descriptions of how he wanted each shot to play,” continued Ricky. “This was invaluable, and really helped us to spend time working on the depth and detail in the shots.”
One of the key challenges of the film from a stereo standpoint came in the first big battle scene between the humans and the orcs. PFW had good z-depths for the orcs and the CG environments, and needed to ensure that its conversion work on the live-action characters matched the stereo detail it was able to create for the CG. There were many shots in which the CG orcs and live-action characters interacted – to make them connect seamlessly in stereo was a very complex process.
“The final battle scene was equally complex,” concluded Ricky. “This was the climax of the film and had to be larger than life and super clean. The teams used all the tools at their disposal, along with the z-depths and layers of elements and assets from the VFX vendors, and the hours of hard work they put in are evident on the big screen. The battle sequences look amazing in stereo.”
‘Warcraft’ opened in China with a record-breaking box office of $46 million in a single day, and will open in the U.S. on June 10.
RELEASE: June 3, 2016 (UK), June 10, 2016 (US)
Director: Duncan Jones
Studios / Distributors: Legendary Pictures / Universal Pictures
Senior Stereo Producer: Rohan Desai
Stereo Supervisors: Ben Murray, Ritesh 'Ricky' Aggarwal
VFX Supervisor: James Rees
Stereo Producers: Monika Hada, Vineet Malhotra
Stereo Production Manager: Cassius Vaz
Editorial Supervisor: Richard Pring
Senior TD: Isaac Guenard
TD: Charlie Luce
Stereo Digital Production Team: Annsh Patel, Tim Sharp
Elements Team: Grant Robertson, Rio Harrington, Matthew Lutes, Nicole Nagata, Steven Wade
Stereo Editorial Team: Ryan Loates, Bec Cranswick, Baljot Bhatti
Executive Producer, View-D: Gaurav Jain
Head of Production, View-D: Franklin Mascarenhas
Show Stereographer: Jimmy Philip
View-D Producer: Subbu Pillai
View-D Production Managers: Romi R Kiran, Ashish Dadich
View-D Production Co-ordinator: Shohil Vohra
View-D 3D Technical Supervisor: Parminder Chadda
View-D Pipeline TD: Piyush Jain, Swapnil Kulkarni