Based on the 1937 Songhu Battle, The Eight Hundred tells the story of a battalion in the Chinese National Revolutionary Army, known as the “eight hundred warriors,” who defended the Sihang Warehouse on the Suzhou River, stopping the Japanese army from advancing.
THE THIRD FLOOR cooperated with BangBang Pictures for six weeks to visualize the dramatic airstrike scene and help inform its filming.
“We spent a lot of time working through the possibilities for timing and choreography for where and how the planes flew, as well as how the soldiers on the roof of the warehouse reacted,” said John Diez, Visual Effects Supervisor, BangBang Pictures. “This was critical for how we planned the shoot. The main challenge was trying to tell the story cohesively throughout such a potentially chaotic sequence to ensure that the audience could follow the action.”
THE THIRD FLOOR brought ideas that had been worked through as storyboards into moving, 3D animated previs, providing the filmmakers with a “visual rehearsal” that connected the planned shots and visual effects cohesively. Using the previs, they were able to communicate what was needed, guide filming units and avoid trial and error for shooting and post production.
“Getting to see these ideas on the run and how they might cut together allowed us to work with the director and DP to see which shots wouldn’t work,” Diez continued. “Arguably, in the planning stage, this is more important than confirming the ones that would. Tiger (Director) was able to adjust his script to get it as tight as possible prior to the shoot and as we progressed through bidding stages with our VFX vendors, we were able to use the previs (and postvis) to help everyone get onto the same page before turnover of the VFX shots.”
The film, directed by Guan Hu, will be released in theaters across China on August 21, 2020. The motion picture is the first major theatrical release since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, and is also the first commercial film in Asia to be filmed entirely with IMAX cameras.
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