Have you worked on The Fast and the Furious films before?
This is my second Fast and Furious. I did a bit on Fast and Furious 6 when I was at Double Negative. I'm aiming for the trilogy!
How did you split the work between DD’s offices?
DD did 800 shots on the movie, and it was split up into a few different teams. The LA team did the last sequence, where the submarine blows up. Up in Vancouver we split off the sub base attack, which my team worked on, and the ice chase itself (read more in this Art of VFX article), which was handled by Jack Evans, another lighting lead.
Could you describe your sequence?
It’s in the third act of the movie, from the moment where Dom (Vin Diesel) goes into the sub base, to the moment where all the cars go out onto the ice, and the ice chase begins. So, going into the submarine, taking over the submarine, the submarine being dropped into the water, and the helicopter attacking Dom. All that stuff.
We had some renders that went from 12 hours to about three hours. When you see those kind of performance improvements it's a no-brainer to make use of those features.
What made you choose V-Ray?
It's the renderer that we work with directly. We're not going to change our plan drastically unless there's an extremely good reason for it. And this is the perfect show for V-Ray with vehicles, and exterior shots, and lots of camera effects.
The talent pool that we have available to us tends to know V-Ray, too, and that helps to crew up the show. You want to make sure the talent that you get is able to hit the ground running. But even if it’s the first time you've used V-Ray, it is an easy system to pick up, compared to other renders. The level of support that we got throughout the show is something that impressed us as well.
What are you most proud of?
When I went to see the movie with my family, they didn't know that the base environment was CG at all. The conundrum of visual effects is you get the satisfaction when people don't know there's been work.
From the vehicles, to the stunts, to the environment there's large parts of it that have to be recreated for visual effects. I am actually surprised at how much they're able to get on camera in Fast and Furious movie, much more so than other movies, and that's part of why it may look less CG. But at the same time, there's still enormous amounts of visual effects that go on.