Client : TRIXTER, MARVEL
Feature : Captian America Civil War (released 2016)
Trixter was awarded the long sequence where Bucky runs from his apartment in Bucharest, fighting his way through the staircase and onto the rooftop, where we first meet the Black Panther, up to his arrest in the city tunnels. This Sequence lasted over 7 minutes and took near to 100 people 7 months to complete.
There were a few shots that posed challenges across all departments from Matchmove
through to compositing. Starting from the very beginning, such as the jump Bucky makes from an apartment balcony across to the ICC building roof top. Here the matchmove appeared to be straight forward at first glance. However, when tacking this shot it became quite clear that there was no feature to track at the beginning instead, flat cream walls and very few corners that stayed in frame. Once the camera came close to the balcony the camera was able to solve and align itself well to the Lidar scan.
Geometry was created with the aid from these two camera positions that then allowed these tracking markers to be surveyed to. This made it clear where these points should be in 3D space. Otherwise the camera solve was not able to distinguish the distance it needed to travel horizontally and vertically as it free fell to the ground.
On first tracking passes the camera only travelled 3 metres down and 2 metres forward. When having the aid of the second camera and geometry the camera solved better covering the 13 metres high drop and the landing pad length of 8 metres.
When it came to prep work and compositing the artist had to remove all the green screen set, safety wires and the shadows the cast. Additionally Bucky's coat then needed to be repaired as it had holes in it where the safety wires attached to the harness.
As Bucky leaps past the balcony rail all current features the camera has to stick to in the foreground disappear and then the camera failed to make sense of the distant tracking markers on the green screen, to which these were not apart of the Lidar scan which we were provided with. Fortunately we were able to attain the perspective of a camera from the ground looking up at the stunt that took place 5 cargo holds up in the air and aided us to estimate the distance the green screens were from the balcony.
The artist making the key for the green screen had to pull multiple keys as the light exposure changed throughout the shot from inside the hallway to full exposure of the sun outside. This changed the colour ever so slightly throughout the shot that required the key to change as the camera changed exposure. Because of this change in light it made this shot a little bit more challenging for each department matching the lighting and shadows seamlessly, until Bucky's landing.
When Bucky land's on the ICC roof top he is confronted by the character Black Panther who he then has to fight his way past to achieve freedom. This sequence was originally filmed on location in Germany and then a further decision was made to reshoot additional footage to make this fight sequence more dramatic. Here we realised that air vents on the reshoot were sometimes moved to achieve certain stunts and camera movements.
We needed to go through each shot that we had matchmoved and then create slap comps to present to the client showing roof top asset continuity. As some CG air vents needed to be added or live air vents needed to be removed from different shots to make the sequence clear and better understood by the audience.
The chase then continues down the side of the ICC building with the use of CG cameras mixed with drone footage, cranes, and multiple hand held cameras till they jump down into the tunnel. Here the magic carpet stunts started; where stunt men ran down a carpet about 20 meters long, being dragged from cars and rigs. This made the actors appear they can run at high speeds faster than is humanly possible.
Matchmove was required to aid the compositors to paint out this magic carpet and allow for Roto animation of the Captain Shield to be added. Later the request for the Black Panther to be replaced by a CG double came up. This meant the actor needed to be painted out entirely and then a rigged character needed to be animated in his place. Additional CG Cars were added to populate the roads.
Problems that arose with these shots in particular in Matchmove was identifying points on the ground accurately that were moving very fast and in motion blur to prevent the floor from sliding. This was difficult on first attempt for the trailer release as the Lidar provided was cut and missing the top part of the structure such as the pillars and ceiling, which were the only parts that maintained semi focus during this entire shot (above image). The quality of this shot was also rather shaky and dark with a lot of motion blur; nearly each point was tracked by eye. Selecting the average of each motion blurred feature for the duration of the shot.
Here I was tasked in creating several cameras of the falcon flying towards the helicopter and kicking the tail end spinning the helicopter out of control, then capturing the falcon diving down the side of the building and flying away. As is the case in films; not all the shots made it to the final edit.
The final shot with Falcon descending down the side of the ICC building was a blend of a Layout camera and Matchmove camera. This shot however had a nodal movement; this is where a camera only rotates around a fixed position and does not translate in X, Y or Z axis. This generated a 3D point cloud that was a spherical dish shape, with no defined shapes of the roads or buildings.
Additional cameras were required to map out the points from different perspectives of the city road or on top of buildings, to define distances and forms in the point cloud. These photos however were not provided and gathered independently by personal investigation.
Even to the extent of asking local stores to photograph the street and emailing some photos. Local cooperation was a surprise and a joy for people to be part of the creative process, but only later when the film was released were they allowed to know what film they helped make.
Later in the sequence Captain America follows Bucky jumping from the balcony and onto the roof top. I was tasked with creating several CG cameras for Layout for the continuation of this sequence. A helicopter is called in to shoot at Bucky and Captain America calls in Falcon to help take out the helicopter.
This required several shots being created and some recreated from The Third Floor. This sometimes proved difficult in recreating these shots as sometimes a different film back was used instead of the one the Alexa had. Thus when presenting the shot with the updated film back of the Alexa, the desired lens had to change in order to match the previous approved layout from before.
The times where I was given free reign over the camera movements were my most enjoyable one. This was different from my matchmove experience where I usually have to find out what was missing to generate a camera solve. Here I was able to generate a camera with no
missing information and enjoy capturing the action.
Additionally Google maps also helped in roughly mapping out the road.
The chase is brought to a halt showing War Machine landing in-between them assisted by soldiers. This shot was requested rather late and the clients sponsor Audi wanted to add their car in the background supporting War Machine during his landing.
First we created the first pass of the CG camera that was animated to the blocked out animation provided by our animator. The client approved this movement which allowed our animator to polish off War Machine's landing. We were then provided with Audi's footage that had movement on it we needed to matchmove this camera, then stabilise it and offset the footage. The CG camera needed additional massarging to allow the MM camera to marry up together.