Last year, Mark Breakspear explained the work of Method Studios on DARK SHADOWS. He then worked on films such as THE TWILIGHT SAGA: BREAKING DAWN – PART 2, THE GREAT GATSBY and SNOWPIERCER.

What have you done on this show?
Method worked on the 3D medical scanners, and the CCB 3D display.

What references and indications did you received from production for the displays?
We looked at the screen displays that had been created for onscreen playback. They didn’t really work for the 3D screen as they were displaying different events and processes from what we wanted to show. However, it was a useful starting point as they did have a look that we could springboard from.

Can you describe one of your typical day on-set and then during the post?
I wasn’t shooting on set for ELYSIUM. But a typical day on the show usually started out with production meetings to assess daily goals, and to play bigger goals for the week. From there we would go to dailies which would either shatter our plans, or back them up. Editorial next to see the shots in the latest cuts and then rounds to give more detailed notes. Somewhere in there we would have lunch, then back to artist rounds, maybe another screening to look at specific shots, then assemble some shots that are ready for posting to the client.

The displays have a really particular look. How did you design and create this aspect?
We looked for reference that exists right now of 3D displays. There are not many that look any good. Sorry, let me correct that, there are none that look any good for actual data displays. There are several toy type displays that show moody shapes made from spread out dots but nothing that could actual be called a precursor of what we wanted.

We took the approach of imagining the future not from 2012 but 1985. Back then the future of displays was a lot more exciting and the potential seemed more boundless. We approached the look as though a different course had been taken, and a different future had emerged than the one we are currently on.

Can you tell us more about the render process?
Everything was really rendered twice. The first render was really a simulation of the events as though you were rendering a real 3D scene for a shot, but that dataset was then rendered in another volume that created the 3D display.

What was the biggest challenge on this project and how did you achieve it?
To achieve the look Neill wanted and then make it something we could actually work with in production. It wasn’t just a look, but more like an actual technology that really worked.

Was there a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleep?
Nothing medication wouldn’t remedy.

What do you keep from this experience?
You can make anything out of dots.

How long have you worked on this film?
6 months.

How many shots have you done?
About 90.

What was the size of your team?
20 people.

What is your next project?
I’ve done several projects since then. Method completed work on ENDER’S GAME, SEVENTH SON and I’m about to begin work on new show that shoots in South Africa.

A big thanks for your time.


Method Studios: Official website of Method Studios.

© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2013


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