Author Topic: Pre-CGI epic scenes.  (Read 3425 times)

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #60 on: June 19, 2020, 11:03:33 PM »
Do they even need/use a small group of people as reference to create massive (or even not massive) CGI crowds these days?

Genuine question.

I’m not a fan of the films but the making of documentaries are great, but Lord of The Rings used some bespoke software called MASSIVE to generate the armies in their huge battle scenes.

And I don’t know if this is on topic or not, but pre-CGI a lot of the more impressive backdrops were matte paintings - famous examples are the crate warehouse in Indiana Jones or just about every scene in Blade Runner.

I think the best thing with soecial effects is to use them in moderation according to their quality. The CGI in Jurassic Park is shite, but the film sells it by using it sparingly alongside practical effects, for example the scene with a stampede of CG raptors making a physical log move when they stepped on it.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #61 on: June 19, 2020, 11:21:10 PM »
And I don’t know if this is on topic or not, but pre-CGI a lot of the more impressive backdrops were matte paintings - famous examples are the crate warehouse in Indiana Jones or just about every scene in Blade Runner.

Having seen it last night, I can say the crate warehouse looks very good. But I was watching the Blu-Ray version and they've probably touched it up a bit. Also, someone in a You Tube comment claims that in the scene where Indy faces a cobra, you can see a reflection in the window pane between them in the VHS version but not in the Blu-Ray.

As for Blade Runner, they made some refinements there for the BR versions. Removing visible strings on the flying cars, for example. Probably some other stuff too.

These are acceptable uses of CGI, I would say.

touchingcloth

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #62 on: June 19, 2020, 11:56:28 PM »
^ yep, I’d say hiding wires and preventing actors going face to face with poisonous animals are unobjectionable.

Ballad of Ballard Berkley

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #63 on: June 20, 2020, 01:25:24 AM »
I know I always go on about Jerry bloody Lewis, but the massive 'dolls house' set from The Ladies Man is a beautiful thing.



Some more info here, if you're interested...

https://fourthreefilm.com/2014/06/you-have-to-see-the-ladies-man-dir-jerry-lewis-1961/

touchingcloth

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buzby

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #65 on: June 20, 2020, 01:46:55 AM »
As for Blade Runner, they made some refinements there for the BR versions. Removing visible strings on the flying cars, for example. Probably some other stuff too.

These are acceptable uses of CGI, I would say.
The CG tweaks for the effects and lip flubs were made for The Final Cut in 2007, alongside a lot of other changes (Joanna Cassidy came back to reshoot head inserts for Zhora's death, replacing the obvious stuntman in a wig, for example)

Most of the matte painting work in Blade Runner was to add the cityscape around the Bradbury building and rooftop chase scenes. For The Final Cut they created a new matte shot for when Roy releases the dove to replace the blue sky that was appearing at the end of the final night's shooting.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #66 on: June 20, 2020, 01:49:09 AM »
I was really impressed by the see-through FX in The Invisible Man (1933).



EDIT: Ah, I've misinterpreted. If there were loads of Invisible Men, it'd fit the thread's remit. I'll leave him there, though.

How do you know there aren't?

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #67 on: June 20, 2020, 02:06:07 AM »
The CG tweaks for the effects and lip flubs were made for The Final Cut in 2007, alongside a lot of other changes (Joanna Cassidy came back to reshoot head inserts for Zhora's death, replacing the obvious stuntman in a wig, for example)

This intrigues me, because I once did a film module. Neo-noir was part of the course and Blade Runner was one of the texts.

I remember a great deal of focus, placed by the lecturer, on the scene where Zhora crashes through the window. We were told that this was a comment on noir cinema itself, in which the femme fatale smashes through the screen-within-a-screen, and therefore, in a sense, outwith all screens. Transgressing the wall of fiction. Challenging the male viewer on his misogynist revenge fantasies.

I wonder how the lecturer would account for Ridley's 'This-was-always-my-intention' changes.

buzby

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #68 on: June 20, 2020, 12:35:11 PM »
This intrigues me, because I once did a film module. Neo-noir was part of the course and Blade Runner was one of the texts.

I remember a great deal of focus, placed by the lecturer, on the scene where Zhora crashes through the window. We were told that this was a comment on noir cinema itself, in which the femme fatale smashes through the screen-within-a-screen, and therefore, in a sense, outwith all screens. Transgressing the wall of fiction. Challenging the male viewer on his misogynist revenge fantasies.

I wonder how the lecturer would account for Ridley's 'This-was-always-my-intention' changes.
Sorry, it was a stuntwoman who doubled for Zhora (though in a very bad wig). It was Daryl Hannah who was doubled by a man for Pris' fight with Deckard.

Regarding the changes to the Zhora scene ,they were definitely one of the changes for the better in The Final Cut. It was always plainly obvious that it wasn't Cassidy going through the glass due to the bad wig (they couldn't do anything about her high heeled boots changing to flats for the scene though). The film's well-known schedule and budget problems meant it was done in a rush, with little time to prep for it for continuity. There's a good side by side comparison video of the original vs. the Final Cut versions of the scene here.

It was Cassidy who initially suggested going back to fix it when interviewed for the Dangerous Days documentary, which was then picked up on when Scott and Warners started on The Final Cut.

Sebastian Cobb

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #69 on: June 20, 2020, 12:40:31 PM »
Isn't a male stuntman in a wig quite common when doing stunts for women in films?

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #70 on: June 20, 2020, 01:55:27 PM »
Isn't a male stuntman in a wig quite common when doing stunts for women in films?

Used to be, not so much these days if at all.

Interesting trivia point - if you're watching a Hong Kong martial arts film made in the 70s or 80s and there's a woman doing lots of acrobatics during a fight sequence, the chances are it's either Yuen Biao or Cheung Wing-Fat (better known as Mars).

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #71 on: June 20, 2020, 01:58:38 PM »
head inserts for Zhora's death
Yeesh! What a way to die.

notjosh

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #72 on: June 20, 2020, 03:53:22 PM »
^ yep, I’d say hiding wires and preventing actors going face to face with poisonous animals are unobjectionable.

If it's part of the original film, yes. But hiding wires during remastering (as they also did with The Wizard Of Oz) is cultural vandalism in my book.

Mister Six

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #73 on: June 20, 2020, 09:56:05 PM »
^ yep, I’d say hiding wires and preventing actors going face to face with poisonous animals are unobjectionable.

Guillermo del Toro had it right in the Hellboy films, I think - go practical as much as possible, but use CGI to augment that with, for example, more convincing blinking for the eyes of the puppets/masks/animatronic rigs.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #74 on: June 21, 2020, 11:17:32 AM »
Sorry, it was a stuntwoman who doubled for Zhora (though in a very bad wig). It was Daryl Hannah who was doubled by a man for Pris' fight with Deckard.

Regarding the changes to the Zhora scene ,they were definitely one of the changes for the better in The Final Cut. It was always plainly obvious that it wasn't Cassidy going through the glass due to the bad wig (they couldn't do anything about her high heeled boots changing to flats for the scene though). The film's well-known schedule and budget problems meant it was done in a rush, with little time to prep for it for continuity. There's a good side by side comparison video of the original vs. the Final Cut versions of the scene here.

It was Cassidy who initially suggested going back to fix it when interviewed for the Dangerous Days documentary, which was then picked up on when Scott and Warners started on The Final Cut.

One shot that wasn't changed which always looked like a double to me(especially in UHD) is the scene were JF has just met Pris and there walking into the lift in the Bradbury Building.

I'd say actually the biggest improvement you see with the final cut is most obvious in UHD, the FX shots and matt paintings are really a lot sharper, the former actually sharper than the rest of the film as they were shot on 70mm, the flights to the police station and the Tyrell building really look incredibly good.

I do actually wonder whether as 4K or even 8K becomes more standard whether we might see more of a shift back to practical FX work, most CGI heavy blockbusters are mastered at HD only because the FX work would simply take too long to render at 4K. Something like Blade Runner 2049 though which used a lot of models the FX scenes look just as detailed as the conventional stuff.

Mister Six

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #75 on: June 21, 2020, 03:18:39 PM »
I wish, but I think it's more likely that they'll just wait for computers to speed up.

Didn't BR2049 still use models a lot? Seems like it might still be an option if a director is passionate enough and the studio is understanding. But I can't see physical FX replacing CGI for stuff like your Marvel movies.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #76 on: June 21, 2020, 03:27:36 PM »
I don't think (decent) practical effects and models will ever make a full comeback.  Apart from anything else CGI these days is quicker, easier and, most importantly, cheaper than practical effects at a similar quality level.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #77 on: June 21, 2020, 07:06:25 PM »
I wish, but I think it's more likely that they'll just wait for computers to speed up.

Didn't BR2049 still use models a lot? Seems like it might still be an option if a director is passionate enough and the studio is understanding. But I can't see physical FX replacing CGI for stuff like your Marvel movies.

Yeah, not sure about the larger city shots but there mostly obscured by weather conditions/lighting but the buildings in Vegas plus the ruined buildings on the way to and at the orphanage are models which look very detailed in 4K. If you limit you CGI work as well I'd guess its probably easier to do it in 4K, something like the Avengers films though that would probably be impossible as it would take 4 times the processing power.

buzby

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #78 on: June 22, 2020, 12:08:44 PM »
One shot that wasn't changed which always looked like a double to me(especially in UHD) is the scene were JF has just met Pris and there walking into the lift in the Bradbury Building.
This one? It could be a double - her makeup (a white 'fright mask') doesn't seem match up with the scenes either side of it. Hannah did have to go off to hospital for stitches after putting her elbow though the cab window in the preceding scene, so it could have been shot with a stand-in.

I wish, but I think it's more likely that they'll just wait for computers to speed up.

Didn't BR2049 still use models a lot? Seems like it might still be an option if a director is passionate enough and the studio is understanding. But I can't see physical FX replacing CGI for stuff like your Marvel movies.
Models augmented with CGI. Weta Workshop built and shot the 'bigatures' for the LA cityscape which then had CGI set extensions and weather overlays added onto them by Double Negative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLxxbfsj8IM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuHCd3qPlLY
Yeah, not sure about the larger city shots but there mostly obscured by weather conditions/lighting but the buildings in Vegas plus the ruined buildings on the way to and at the orphanage are models which look very detailed in 4K. If you limit you CGI work as well I'd guess its probably easier to do it in 4K, something like the Avengers films though that would probably be impossible as it would take 4 times the processing power.
The San Diego/Trash Mesa landscape was a combination of Weta 'bigatures' (the trash dumping ships and  K's flight through the junkyard) and CG and digital extensions of real sets by Rodeo FX:

https://youtu.be/vxLd7FkZJeA?t=48
Las Vegas was completely CG, done by Framestore Montreal, the first time they had ever attempted to render an entire cityscape as one model using Esri's CityEngine urban planning simulaton software

« Last Edit: June 22, 2020, 12:51:30 PM by buzby »

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #79 on: June 22, 2020, 02:04:01 PM »
I don't think (decent) practical effects and models will ever make a full comeback.  Apart from anything else CGI these days is quicker, easier and, most importantly, cheaper than practical effects at a similar quality level.
Practical effects have their place, but the idea that they're more genuine than CGI is a bit weird. It's always nice watching something be destroyed, but a lot of practical effects involve a huge amount of trickery: whether it's vehicles being jumped or flipped that are actually done with hydraulic rigs and rails and wires, or weapons effects that are just fireworks and smoke and nothing like the actual weapon being fired. That said, I love a "real" model city/building/etc being smashed up even if you can see it's just a model.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #80 on: June 22, 2020, 03:19:09 PM »
Practical effects have their place, but the idea that they're more genuine than CGI is a bit weird. It's always nice watching something be destroyed, but a lot of practical effects involve a huge amount of trickery: whether it's vehicles being jumped or flipped that are actually done with hydraulic rigs and rails and wires, or weapons effects that are just fireworks and smoke and nothing like the actual weapon being fired. That said, I love a "real" model city/building/etc being smashed up even if you can see it's just a model.

I've always said that I have so much more preference for Ray Harryhausen effects than CGI because, while the former might not look real, they do look truly fantastic.  Reality is boring next to them.

Shit Good Nose

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #81 on: June 22, 2020, 03:25:47 PM »
Practical effects have their place, but the idea that they're more genuine than CGI is a bit weird. It's always nice watching something be destroyed, but a lot of practical effects involve a huge amount of trickery: whether it's vehicles being jumped or flipped that are actually done with hydraulic rigs and rails and wires, or weapons effects that are just fireworks and smoke and nothing like the actual weapon being fired. That said, I love a "real" model city/building/etc being smashed up even if you can see it's just a model.

Even a model being flipped with hydraulics is more real than the best CGI money can buy, which still looks like a computer game.

Hell, I watched the Columbia Sinbad films back to back the other week and Ray Harryhausen's stop motion looked better than the CGI in, for example, Black Panther. 

In my opinion.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #82 on: June 22, 2020, 05:05:19 PM »
This one? It could be a double - her makeup (a white 'fright mask') doesn't seem match up with the scenes either side of it. Hannah did have to go off to hospital for stitches after putting her elbow though the cab window in the preceding scene, so it could have been shot with a stand-in.

Yep, as you say I spose it could just be that the makeup was a bit different but to me her chin looks pointier. Could be from cutting her hand or perhaps Hannah wasn't present for that days(well nights) filming at the Bradbury which was I'm guessing different to the stuff either side of it outdoors and in JF's actual rooms. That's really the only shot you see much closeup of Pris so perhaps Scott thought he could geta way with it?

Quote
Models augmented with CGI. Weta Workshop built and shot the 'bigatures' for the LA cityscape which then had CGI set extensions and weather overlays added onto them by Double Negative:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLxxbfsj8IM
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fuHCd3qPlLYThe San Diego/Trash Mesa landscape was a combination of Weta 'bigatures' (the trash dumping ships and  K's flight through the junkyard) and CG and digital extensions of real sets by Rodeo FX:

https://youtu.be/vxLd7FkZJeA?t=48
Las Vegas was completely CG, done by Framestore Montreal, the first time they had ever attempted to render an entire cityscape as one model using Esri's CityEngine urban planning simulaton software

The junk section especially I spose makes most sense as model building can scatter a lot of detail around without as much extra work as CGIing it. Looking at comparisons online of the HD and UHD Vegas shots as well the latter is definitely more detailed meaning I'd guess the CGI was done higher than HD? Having the film as a whole be less CGI hungry than most I suspect made that possible.

Its a shame we don't get more LOTR like behind the scenes stuff these days as Weta especially seeing more detail of this work I always find interesting. Speaking of LOTR I wonder if they might actually do a "proper" UHD/4K version of that? not only was it shot on film but with no many bigatures or just big sets used it would perhaps be less work to redo the FX at 4K than say modern Marvel.

buzby

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #83 on: June 22, 2020, 10:08:02 PM »
The junk section especially I spose makes most sense as model building can scatter a lot of detail around without as much extra work as CGIing it. Looking at comparisons online of the HD and UHD Vegas shots as well the latter is definitely more detailed meaning I'd guess the CGI was done higher than HD? Having the film as a whole be less CGI hungry than most I suspect made that possible.
The film was shot using Arri Alexa cameras in Open Gate mode (3.4k ARRIRAW format, using the full area of the 4:3 sensor to provide the additional screen areas for IMAX) and all the VFX shots were rendered in the same aspect ratio and resolution to match. It was then upscaled to 4K for the Digital Intermediate post editing to be colour timed (the first ime Deakins was able to do colour timing at 4K)  and 4K DCPs made for IMAX and widescreen distribution (plus a 2K DCP for 3D, but I've no idea why anyone would want to watch that). The UHD BluRay is presumably produced from the widescreen DCP..
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Its a shame we don't get more LOTR like behind the scenes stuff these days as Weta especially seeing more detail of this work I always find interesting. Speaking of LOTR I wonder if they might actually do a "proper" UHD/4K version of that? not only was it shot on film but with no many bigatures or just big sets used it would perhaps be less work to redo the FX at 4K than say modern Marvel.
Apart fro mal lthe othe CG in the LOTR films that woudl need to be re-rendered, the complex battle scenes that used MASSIVE algorithmically-generated armies would need to be totally redone from scratch.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #84 on: June 23, 2020, 08:38:38 AM »
The film was shot using Arri Alexa cameras in Open Gate mode (3.4k ARRIRAW format, using the full area of the 4:3 sensor to provide the additional screen areas for IMAX) and all the VFX shots were rendered in the same aspect ratio and resolution to match. It was then upscaled to 4K for the Digital Intermediate post editing to be colour timed (the first ime Deakins was able to do colour timing at 4K)  and 4K DCPs made for IMAX and widescreen distribution (plus a 2K DCP for 3D, but I've no idea why anyone would want to watch that). The UHD BluRay is presumably produced from the widescreen DCP.

I think the digital intermediate was 3K but that's still an obvious improvement on most big blockbusters being done at 2k and then upresed to 4K, meant I'v only bothered with a handful of digital era UHD's so far(This, Dunkirk, Joker and Once Upon A Time in Hollywood), Rogue One is another I'll probably pick up when its finally released in the UK.

Ironically it seems much easier to release UHD's for films that would have a film master reel to them since you can just go back and scan that.

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Apart fro mal lthe othe CG in the LOTR films that woudl need to be re-rendered, the complex battle scenes that used MASSIVE algorithmically-generated armies would need to be totally redone from scratch.

It would still need a lot of work done to it but I'm guessing your potentially talking a cost potentially within the range of taking from a home and maybe cinema re release unlike most big tentpoles that have followed, including those made in the 4K era which were still done at 2K.

I wouldn't actually mind seeing an Apoc Now like "final cut" release somewhere between theatrical and extended versions either, keep some of the better extras but loose more of the stuff that didn't work so well.

buzby

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Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #85 on: June 23, 2020, 12:16:18 PM »
I think the digital intermediate was 3K but that's still an obvious improvement on most big blockbusters being done at 2k and then upresed to 4K
Deakins confirmed on his website that the DI was 4K, upscaled from the ARRIRAW 3.4K source:
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For the first time, in my experience, we could do the DI color timing at 4K. Previously to this I had always done my timing at 2K and then made an output DCP at 4K.

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #86 on: June 23, 2020, 07:08:32 PM »
Has anyone mentioned the Thing (John Carpenter version)?

Re: Pre-CGI epic scenes.
« Reply #87 on: July 06, 2020, 10:38:48 PM »
The one thing that always astonishes me is matte-work.

For years, I presumed that Bedknobs and Broomsticks was made in Britain.
Maybe because of Brucie, but no, entirely shot in California.

All the location shots - matte paintings.









As a kid, I was angry it won the FX oscar against When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth, but the thing is, with these effects, you don't think they're effects. That's why they are better.

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