The studio was founded by Eric Hanson and Greg Downing, both
veterans in advanced photography and motion picture visual effects. Using
digital techniques derived from feature film visual effects, images can be
created at resolutions of up to 150,000 pixels wide, far surpassing any large
format film standards used in photography and well beyond IMAX.
According to Hanson, the use of gigapixel imagery is
far-ranging, from use in producing visual effects backgrounds in feature films,
to aiding historic and natural interpretation in national parks. Taking
gigapixel photography beyond academic research into a real production
methodology and pipeline, xRez Studio provides location shooting expertise,
efficient post production of images, and 3D animation derived from images.
Virtual cinematography can be created within the image and integrating a hidden
layer of 3D geometry of terrain and structures can be accomplished using visual
effects 3D software.
Hanson, who is also the professor of visual effects at the
USC School of Cinema/TV, has specialized in the creation of digital
environments and effects for feature films. He has worked with leading effects
houses such as Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, Dream Quest Images and Walt
Disney Feature Animation.
Downing specializes in image-based 3D technologies. His
photographic work has been displayed in many of the nation's most prestigious
museums, including the American Museum of Natural History, the Cincinnati Art
Museum, and the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He has worked in film
production, integrating image-based technologies, and as a lighting technical
director at Rhythm & Hues and Sony Imageworks.
xRez recently provided its services to Sassoon Film Design
for a VFX shot on Tom Hank's Magnificent Desolation IMAX feature on the Apollo
moon program. The studio re-created flying through a deep trench called the
Hadley Rile, which was shot originally as a series of photographs taken by the
Apollo 15 astronauts. A panoramic stitch of the images was made, then rigorous
photogrammetry was employed to model the surface faithfully from the
photographs. A layering of 24 matte paintings based on the photographs was then
used to texture the canyon as the camera flew down its length.