The year 2014 saw some big releases that would have been nothing without visual effects as its backbone. All the big studios had a few film release that did well. One such studio was ILM, Industrial Light & Magic. With 6 releases of which 3 were contenders for the Oscars and 1 listed among the final nominees, it is fair to say that ILM had a good run last year. Let’s look at these movies and the work that ILM put in for them!
But before that lets take a look at the studios beginning and what it stands for today. ILM began as a division of Lucasfilms when George Lucas began the production of the Star Wars. In the 1980’s, IM dominated the market and had many production houses send across CGI work to them. It is also the founding company of the Pixar studio. Today, ILM is still among the biggest and most respected players in the visual effects industry.
Noah as a movie strayed away from the usual beaten path that most have adopted in presenting the story. Considering the different approach of the story line, the work that IILM did with this movie was apt and stunning! There are many bits of the movie that are exceptionally but the truly remarkable bit of execution was the stop frame work that they did on the evolution of the world. A few have attempted this before, but none have done such a masterful job at it. The simplest way to go about this would have to allow the entire sequence to look like a rush of images but that was not what they did. The artists produced a spectacular ark that made it very easy for us to follow the entire evolutionary process.
For this movie, they deserve more than a round of applause. They were a few bits like the HUD system and its interface on the windscreen during the Winter Soldiers attack and more but the cherry on the cake were the Helicarriers. Who would have thought it would have been possible to would even be possible to make them bigger and better? But it seems like impossible is nothing to ILM. The modelers did a marvellous job with the helicarriers with the building, rigging, and simulations with the rigid bodies, especially with live actions sequences that they were involved in.
ILM has been making the transformer movies since the first in the series and they have been received well till this last part. With the story line and the movie not being well received by the masses, everybody was unanimous in saying that the only good part in the movie was the visual effects. The credit to that goes entirely to the ILM team. The addition of the Dinobots and the hypno transforming new age transformers was as good as it can get!
Luke Bensson wanted to be surprised and is what he said to the ILM’s VFX supervisor of the movie Richard Bluff. In a statement to the Hollywood Reporter, Richard said, “He wanted to be surprised by the work. He wanted to come in and inspire us by the story and the possibility of what we could do. He gave us guidelines, but for the most part, he wanted to remain an audience member. He would ask us to resist the temptation to show things early, until it was at the stage that it was really compelling.” Luke had guidelines for them but for most part, he played the role of the audience. The team did a great job with the visuals overall but the scene where the drug unlocks the full capability of the Scarlett’s character and the strange visuals that accompanied it, were by far the best of the lot!
These characters are legendary. Most of us have grown up reading their comics and watching the cartoons. But the movie and the special effects in it was worth the wait! Especially since the characters looked so realistic! What is the secret behind it? Here is the answer straight from the production notes at cbslocal, “Preparations got underway months before filming — as Alan Ritchson (Raphael), Pete Ploszek (Leonardo), Noel Fisher (Michelangelo), Jeremy Howard (Donatello) and Danny Woodburn (Master Splinter) each underwent complex facial and full-body scans that led to the tailoring of their custom made helmets and mo-cap (motion-capture) suits. Later, on set, the four Turtle actors and Woodburn each went through a daily two-hour long session of applying white facial powder and VFX dots to help further track their expressions. Before the cameras rolled, the four turtle actors would then strap on not only their helmets but a lightweight turtle shell, which added to the realistic physical motion and weight distribution.”
The year 2014 was definitely a great hit for them and with Star Wars: part VIII coming out in 2015, it only seems like 2015 will be better for them!