On a sunday afternoon, a group of friends and I set out to shoot the test scene in one of the studio's car parks. Personaly financed, this particular scene takes place in the early 1940s, on the German military base of Peenemuende.

Using a standard digital video camera, the resulting footage was captured onto the computer, to be sorted and edited into a 3 minute format.

Combining simple 3D techniques with digital painting and compositing software, I was able to transform the generic car park into a fully virtual environment. This allowed me the freedom to replace and extend the environment. Animated elements such as the car, trucks, workmen and soldiers were added to bring life to the synthetic "decor".

This serves as a simplified breakdown of some of the visual effects involved.


SHOT No1: The camera travels through the clouds to reveal the island below. A Junkers JU52, on final approach, crosses from left frame.
This opening shot was entirely computer generated.

The first step was to create simple 3D forms to pre-visualise the desired shot. With the help of a black and white satellite image defining the island and it's prodominant features, I then proceded painting the land mass using Photoshop. The clouds were done onto seperate layers.

The illusion of parallax and volume was achieve by projecting each layer onto flat geometry while the ocean was rendered seperatly as a reflective surface.

The aircraft model was later integrated flying through the assembled layers.
SHOT No2: Large establishing shot of the Pennemuende site. The camera slowly pans down following Hunderg's vehicle approaching Hangar 7.
This establishing angle of the base was also entirely created by computer.

This shot mainly consists of a large "matte painting". The painting work was done over shaded geometry.

Once this process was completed, it felt important to populate the scene with animated elements. Many digital doubles were added; one particular group is towing a experimental aircraft while another is transporting equipment. Generic vehicles, workmen and soldiers were also planted throughout the site. As the battleship slowly crawls down the chanel, we see Hunderg's car drive down the main strip. Smoke elements and birds were integrated to complete the shot.
SHOT No3: The camera follows Hunderg's vehicle as it drives up to the check point.

The footage for this shot had been accidently damaged. This offered an interesting challenge to re-construct the original scene as a virtual environment.

Both the vehicle and the Nazi guard were reproduced as 3D animated models. The alterations to the building and the background were painted over a still photograph of the location. A gentle panning motion of the camera was done last.
SHOT No4: Hunderg drives up to the check point. The guard signals the vehicle to a halt.
This shot consists of a simple background replacment, where an image is inserted behind the subject.

The painting was intended to both enhance the shot and retain continuity with the previously established surroundings. The completed backdrop was layered with the action by creating animated masks for both the vehicle and the guard. This masking procedure is reffered to as rotoscoping.
SHOT No9: A sonic boom rattles the sky as a plane passes overhead catching Hunderg's attention. It Flies at remarkable speeds, maneuvering over the hangars.
This particular shot was the most complex to achieve as the camera's point of view orbitis across 220 degrees.

The panoramic image below is composed of 6 joining "tiles". The tiles were projected against a virtual sphere in the computer; this is commonly reffered to as a Cyclorama. The resulting hi-resolution image was required to accomodate the camera's coverage throughout the length of the shot.
While 85% of the cyclorama is computer generated, the tail end consists of a live-action insert. This section was shot with a static camera, which was later integrated with the environment.
SHOT No10p5: The camera flies above Hunderg who's stunned by the display.
With this fully computer generated shot, I wanted to convey a bird's eye view of the main character. This was obviously difficult to acheive on location per our lack of equipment. The computer offered a great alternative to create the effect.

This required the creation of a photo-realistic 3 dimentional environment, including both the car and the actor. Once the modeling and animation were completed, I could then move the camera to my liking. I also added the shadow of the plane crossing over the frame to enhance the shot's dynamic qualities.

FROM LEFT: Melanie Gauthier, Yanick Dusseault, Sandra Warren, Patrick Bergeron, George Oliver, Mike Wallis, Jane Kellahan, Richard Trainer.
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