LONDON — Cinesite recently completed work on over 350 visual effects for the feature film 300: Rise of an Empire. The film is a follow up to the 2006 feature
300, although the action in the current installment takes place prior to the events in the original film.
Greek general Themistocles is battling against the Persian army, which is under the command of Xerxes and Artemisia, to fend off an attack on Athens. His Greek army joins forces with the Spartans to defend the major cities of Greece.
Cinesite VFX supervisor Richard Clarke worked closely with production VFX supervisor John “DJ” Des Jardin to create epic 2.5D and 3D environments, including ancient Athens, Sparta and shoreline encampment shots. Some of Cinesite’s most impressive work includes a full 3D Sparta environment, complete with a CG wheat field. Originally planned as a digital matte painting, the finished environment uses fur system Yeti to create the wheat, which flows in the wind. Atmospheric effects were added to many shots in the film, including a Sparta sequence in which drifting pollen blows in the sunlight.
Other work by Cinesite includes various encampments of the Greek army. Many were filmed with small sections of live action against greenscreen. Extension included rocky outcrops, a CG shoreline, tents, the moon, sky and campfires, as well as digital armies, sea and sky.
“Working with both DJ and Zach Snyder was a great experience,” says Cinesite’s Clarke. “Zach Snyder had a very clear, creative vision of what he wanted. He would often sketch out exactly what he wanted by hand, and we worked very closely with his drawings to create the visual effects. The team delivered to an ambitious schedule, creating fantastic work and pulling together brilliantly.”
Cinesite’s upcoming work in 2014 includes Edge of Tomorrow and Into The Storm.