The VFX of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom were complex and extensive – 1200 VFX shots, many with a very high frame count and large virtual sets. Art of VFX recently sat down with Overall VFX Supervisor David Vickery, VFX Supervisor Alex Wuttke and Animation Supervisor Jance Rubinchik, all from Industrial Light and Magic.
From the interview:
How was the collaboration with director J.A. Bayona?
[DV] J.A. was a dream to work with. He’s incredibly decisive, but not afraid to let other people contribute ideas to his film. I really enjoyed my part as a creative decision maker on the project. Visual Effects were often asked to solve tricky story related problems and J.A. is very good at looking beyond a rough, WIP presentation of material to see the seeds of the ideas behind them. During prep I would often take the previs team down to the partially constructed sets at Pinewood and film sequences on our iPhones. We’d then cut sequences together with our visual effect editor. This seems like a pretty low-fi way to make a huge multi million dollar film and not all directors would react well to it. J.A. was happy to have people trying to work out ideas for him and responded really well to that approach.
[JR] Working with J.A. was exactly who you hope to work with for this type of project. He brought such a fresh new vision to this franchise, with the gothic horror elements he added, something we haven’t seen in a Jurassic film before. He was always very excited about the in-progress animation we would present to him. There was always clear direction for the action or mood he was after. J.A. Had a lot of faith in our team and there was a lot of creative freedom to explore ideas and try new things.
How did you split the work amongst the ILM offices?
[JR] The animation was split between the London and Vancouver ILM facilities. When you are splitting complex work like this, it makes it easiest for everyone involved if you can split a chunk out so you can handle a run of shots. I was constantly reviewing the work to make sure that shared characters such as Blue were consistent across the shared sequences.
[DV] ILM’s Vancouver studio handled the sequence where Owen first discovers Blue on Isla Nublar and the bulk of the Gyrosphere sequence (with the exception of the long underwater shot). Meanwhile our studio in London was the lead for the project so they handled all the sequences that take place off Isla Nublar and the main bulk of the asset build and lookdev. Our studio in San Francisco worked on the sequence towards the end of the movie where the dinosaurs are let out of their cages by Claire. We also brought in a number of third parties – Important Looking Pirates worked on the prologue and another sequence with Blue in the lab at Lockwood manor. One Of Us worked on a few sequences on Isla Nublar, but we also had El Ranchito, Scanline, Image Engine and The Post Office. Proof handled all the previs and postvis for the show.
Can you tell us more about your collaboration with their VFX supervisors?
[AW] All the supervisors across our roster of vendors were fantastic. Our approach was to give them creative freedom so that they could own the work, but at the same time give them examples of how shared assets should look or move so that we all had a common grounding for visual and performance continuity. It was hugely beneficial to have a broad range of talent spread across the show in supervision terms, so that the creative vision was always condensed into each area as opposed to being too diffused across the whole show.
The vendors are all around the world. How did you proceed to follow their work?
[AW] We organised cineSync and video conference sessions on a weekly and often bi-weekly basis to stay on top of the work and to communicate changes rapidly.
The rest of the interview, which has a tremendous amount of detail and information about the work that went into creating Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom can be found at Art of VFX.