THE THIRD FLOOR dove into a world of Doppelgängers in visualization work for Director Ang Lee on Gemini Man (Paramount Pictures). Previs and techvis was used to map action ahead of filming, also informing work in locations from Cartagena to Budapest and shooting logistics with a 4K camera. The previs process also allowed shots to be developed and blocked with representations of Will Smith in both his older and younger forms.
“The previs had two Will Smith assets, each aged appropriately,” said Visualization Supervisor Chris Williams, THE THIRD FLOOR. “So it was possible at that stage to visualize camera angles with facial expressions for the two, and to think about poses and mannerisms that would help communicate that they are the same character.”
Stunts feature prominently, as aging assassin Henry Brogan (Smith) is hunted down by his younger self, “Junior.” Notes Geer DuBois, Postvis Lead, THE THIRD FLOOR, “The story called for real-world stunts not super powers so the moves needed to be realistic and achievable. We used our previs tools to create ‘stuntvis’, working with the stunt coordinator to visualize moves that looked dangerous and dynamic but believable. One of the biggest creative challenges was illustrating realistic physics for CG animation together with action that was near or beyond the boundaries of what is actually possible.”
THE THIRD FLOOR collaborated closely with VFX Supervisor Bill Westenhofer to bring the filmed plates and stunts together with CG elements in postvis composites. DuBois describes postvis work on a particularly challenging motorcycle stunt: “There’s a shot when Junior does a ‘doughnut’ with his motorcycle, swiping at Henry with his rear wheel. The plate captures Will on a platform, wearing a harness attached to a crane. We removed the set, green screen and crane rigging in the plate and replaced it with a CG background, also adding a digital-double for Junior. As the digital Junior got closer to Henry, we altered the plate so that Henry appears to leap higher than in the raw footage. We then fine-tuned the Stereo 3D for the shot, placing Henry just ahead of the oncoming motorcycle in depth. This created a working representation of what the final effect would be.”