Cinesite Cuts to the Chase

Bookmark and Share

Mon, 06/13/2011 - 20:00 -- Nick Dager

Cinesite completed more than 300 stereoscopic visual effects shots for Pirates of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. For its first full stereo 3D project Cinesite was tasked with creating large-scale photorealistic 3D environments for a dramatic carriage chase through London.

 Working closely with overall visual effects supervisor Charles Gibson Cinesite’s visual effects supervisor Simon Stanley-Clamp spent several weeks on location in Greenwich and at historical buildings Hampton Court Palace and Middle Temple as well as being on set at Pinewood Studios. The film was shot in native stereo 3D using Red One cameras and Pace 3D camera rigs. 

 Starting inside St James’ Palace and progressing through three different exterior London environments the carriage chase sequence was shot against three large blue screens on location in Greenwich and comprises more than 200 back-to-back shots. Cinesite created complex 3D environments including full CG street builds with detailed period buildings as well as set and background extensions. Atmospheric smoke smog and fog were added to create an old London feel and extras shot in stereo against a blue screen were seamlessly composited to enhance the busy London street.

 As well as the challenge of recreating such a large-scale location Cinesite also faced challenges due to the stereoscopic nature of the film. Head of visual effects technology Michele Sciolette led Cinesite’s efforts to build the stereo production pipeline and develop a number of new tools to meet these challenges. These included csStereoColourMatcher a fully automated tool designed to compensate for color differences between stereoscopic image pairs. csPhotoMesh was used extensively by Cinesite’s environmental specialists to quickly build CG sets for environmental work. 

 Other shots Cinesite worked on include creating Barbossa’s peg leg throughout the film by replacing the blue sock Rush wore on set with a digital peg leg. They also created highly detailed CG poison dart frogs in four different colors. In addition to their proprietary tools Cinesite relied on Nuke Maya Houdini and RenderMan.

 “We’re very proud of what we’ve achieved on our first full stereo 3D project ” says Antony Hunt managing director Cinesite. “The complexities that stereoscopic work introduces combined with the sheer scale of some of the scenes we worked on presented some big challenges. But by drawing on our extensive experience in creating photorealistic CG environments and our expertise in motion analysis and color correction we were able to create some outstanding 3D visual effects.”