Friday, November 1, 2013

Star Wars Lava Planet Sequence

So shooting in studio this week got me thinking about how major companies do it, and so my post this week is a featurette from Star Wars Episode 3.  It's primarily about building the effects for the Mustafar sequence, a fight scene on a lava planet. While it is mostly an ego stroking for Lucasfilm and Industrial light and Magic, there are a lot of cool tidbits in here. There is a lot of cool stuff about the compositors and matte artists. The matte artists build the background for mustafar, which is a space hilariously based around a gravel parking lot, but obviously with a ton of assets and art. The assets that are involved in the sequence itself, because they are a giant mix of different sources. Some of the lava is from a shot of an actual volcano, some if it is built with particle effects. The use of models along with CG is also really interesting to me. ILM puts a lot of emphasis on making real rocks and setpeices because it can be easily manipulated in a real scene. So what comes down is what parts of the scene need to be real models and what can be made in CG, and someone sitting down to composite the two. The same went for the lava, a lot of it is done with real shots in a miniature set. Lighting and real effects like smoke are key, and then they just film it as their overall wide shot.

Clearly there is a ridiculous amount of elements here, but I just find it really cool how they all come together.

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