January 5, 2006


Led by VFX supervisor Pat Murphy, CGI supervisor Andrew Hall and producer Scott Boyajan, the A52 faced several challenges in doing the revision. First, many of the scenes in Honigsberg's original edit used playback effects where the scenes were sped-up three times. A52 therefore had to make their effects work in realtime for almost 80 seconds of footage which, when sped-up and cut back in, played back in about 26 seconds.

Murphy notes, “In the original version, you have this beautifully color-corrected car from the transfer that's on a dark black road, and it looks fantastic. When we put the car into a white environment, where it needed to have white reflected into it, we really had to work hard to put the car in that environment but still make it look good.”

A52 worked at HD resolution. Matte paintings were created in Adobe Photoshop by artist Helen Maier, who used real photography to build a one-frame digital matte painting to be used as the spot’s new background environment. Maier’s multilayered matte included trees, ditches and birms, as well as a new road plate with snow and car tracks on it.

Flame artist Ben Looram matted out everything except the moving Lexus from the footage used in the original edit. The CGI team then used a scan of the Lexus and created an animated sequence in Maya duplicating the movements of the car from the original edit, allowing them to reproduce the camera tracking data they lacked, as they were not involved in Vogel’s original Prague-based live-action shoot. That CGI template helped the CGI team track Maier’s new road plate.

Hall’s team built four new tires for the car, tracked those wheels to the car, built a layer of CGI snow to fill the treads, and passed that layer along to Murphy. The CGI team also created the snow that flies from the passing car.

Mental Ray was used for rendering and Murphy used Discreet Inferno to improve the way the vehicle and the snow spray stood out from the background.

The A52’s team also included executive producer Mark Tobin and CGI artists Dan Gutierrez, Christopher Janney, Branden Perlow and Max Ulichney.