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The final leg of the Universal Studios’ back lot experimental tour landed Nuke the Fridge’s own Louis Love and Namtar in one of the studio’s offices to meet Visual Effects Supervisors Bjorn Mayer from Pixomondo and Eric Barba from Digital Domain. Both companies shared the work on creating the outstanding visual effects on director Joseph Kosinski’s “Oblivion.” The two men have a lot of experience in the entertainment industry and represent some of the best in the business. Here is a little background history for both.

Bjorn Mayer

Bjorn Mayer

Bjorn Mayer – After joining Pixomondo in 2006, Mayer supervised numerous air battles, the train destruction and destroyer explosion shots on George Lucas’ “Red Tails.” He went on to be the Visual Effects Supervisor on such films as: “The Hunger Games,” “The Rite,” “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “The Last Airbender,” “Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief,” “Star Tours: The Adventures Continue” and “Ninja Assassin.” He was on-set supervisor for “Fast Five” and digital environments supervisor for “The Red Baron.” His experience in television movies include visual effects supervision on “The Bridge” and “Die Sturmflut.”

Eric Barba

Eric Barba

Eric Barba – Veteran Eric Barba has been with Digital Domain for 17 years. He won an Academy Award for his work on director David Fincher’s “Curious Case of Benjamin Button.” He was the Visual Effects Supervisor on Joseph Kosinski’s “Tron: Legacy” and “Oblivion,” and on Fincher’s “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” He has supervised visual effects for dozens of commercials, as well as, the Nine Inch Nails music video “Only.” Barba has also taken his turn in the director’s chair for such commercials as Nike’s “Birth of Speed,” Jaguar’s “Pool,” and campaigns for American Express, Cingular and Honda.  Eric is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The following may contain spoilers.

As mentioned earlier, companies Pixomondo and Digital Domain split the visual effects work on “Oblivion.” The film used blue screen and CGI effects to bring filmmaker Joseph Kosinski’s creation to life. Here are just a few of the effects created for the film.

The amazing scenic shots from the Skytower were accomplished by using a 180 degree blue screen with more than 20 front projected cameras. The team captured more than 32 hours of footage during the morning, afternoon, and evening hours from on top of one of Hawaii’s mountains. Using the in sync projected footage on the blue screen adds a light source that would have had to be artificially created on the sound stage.  It proved to be less costly and more practical. Also, it gave the actors a more natural environment to interact in.

The blue screen is visible in the background.

The blue screen is visible in the background.

skytower_oblivion1

skytower_oblivion2

The sequences involving the ice canyon were influenced by steep walls carved out by lava. Also, reference material was filmed of glaciers in Iceland. The reference material images were recreated using a CGI program that is regarded in the industry as the Houdini of programs to make blocks, which were painstakingly textured, distorted, colored and layered to construct the walls and environment of the ice canyon.

Actual ice canyon with a glacier river running through it.

Actual ice canyon with a glacier river running through it.

Visual effects created to simulate a real ice canyon (Drones chase sequence)

Visual effects created to simulate a real ice canyon (Drones chase sequence)

“Oblivion” had its fair share of protectors and aggressors in the film with the TET’s drones. The drones are a fast flying self-contained unit with lots of firepower, which give lethal chase to anything unaffiliated with the TET. A practical model of Drone 166 was built and shot, while a digital image was created to match it. Jets, heat and haze were added later to give the drone the visual and physical ability to sustain its altitude and generate movement.

The jets, heat and haze can be seen in this visual effects shot.

The jets, heat and haze can be seen in this visual effects shot.

Here is the storyline for “Oblivion.”

It is 2077 and Earth has been decimated. Jack Harper (Tom Cruise) is a drone repairman on the evacuated planet, working with his partner Vika (Andrea Riseborough) to salvage vital resources. As their assignment approaches its final days, Jack rescues a beautiful stranger (Olga Kurylenko) from a downed spacecraft, triggering a chain of events that forces him to question everything he thought he knew and leaves humanity’s fate in his hand.

BD_Oblivion_Ocard_3D

 

Bonus Features on Blu-ray™ Combo Pack with DVD:

* Feature Commentary with Tom Cruise and director Joseph Kosinski

* Deleted Scenes

* Promise of a New World: The Making of Oblivion — A comprehensive and thought-provoking multi-part feature covering the making of Oblivion, including:

            * Destiny – Looks inside the conceptualization, development and pre-production of Oblivion and the planning that went into the Herculean task of shooting the epic film.

            * Voyage – Follows the creation of the amazing Bubbleship from its early design conception to its journey around the world.  (Blu-ray™ exclusive)

            * Combat – Explores the film’s ground-breaking action and death-defying stunts, all performed by one of the most popular movie stars in the world. (Blu-ray™ exclusive)

            * Illusion – Focuses on the film’s post-production and dazzling visual effects.

            * Harmony – Delves into the innovative musical world of M83.

* M83 Isolated Score – Watch the entire film accompanied by the evocative music track.

“Oblivion” will arrive on Blu-ray/DVD/UltraViolet on August 6th. The film stars Tom Cruise, Olga Kurylenko, Andrea Riseborough, Morgan Freeman, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Melissa Leo, Zoe Bell, Abigail Lowe, Isabelle Lowe and David Madison.  Karl Gajdusek and Michael Arndt (as Michael deBruyn) wrote the screenplay, which is based on the original graphic novel story by Joseph Kosinski.  Joseph Kosinski directs.

Source: Nuke the Fridge Exclusive