Immersed in Movies: How VFX Supervisor Farrar Fixed the Zombies in 'World War Z' (CLIP)

Features
by Bill Desowitz
June 21, 2013 2:22 PM
1 Comment
  • |
World War Z
Some of the highlights (already touted in trailers) include the pyramid wall in Israel (shot in Malta), pulling down a chopper, and going after the UN specialist played by Brad Pitt and the other passengers in a plane. The result of all this additional work, which took more than a year, is staggering. The "zombie tsunami," as they call it, redefines the ghoulish creatures in a way that's totally believable. For pyramid formations and tentacle-like shapes, MPC shot motion capture clips, adapted its proprietary ALICE crowd system, and created special ways of rendering these huge swarms.

But the zombie close-ups needed special care as well. Strangely, the CG animation looked too human and the live actors or contortionist dancers looked too fake, so they worked with MPC and Cinesite on a new approach. "Andy and I wanted more people in makeup intermingled with CG zombies. I want to create illusion and keep the audience guessing as to whether they were live actors or CG characters."

This entailed re-timing movements to make them quirkier and enhancing eyes, popping veins, and other abnormalities. Farrar is especially proud of an opening attack that's close to the camera and totally animated by Cinesite with convincing cloth sim and hair. "A well-executed illusion -- I'm in."

And Farrar applauds Paramount for taking such a financial risk. "It was brave and scary and an uncertain thing to decide, but it was absolutely the right decision. It's what's best for the movie."

Now let's see what the box office impact will be for "World War Z," particularly in light of last week's industry implosion/meltdown prediction by George Lucas and Steven Spielberg.

You might also like:

1 Comment

  • jim emerson | June 23, 2013 7:36 PMReply

    Bravo, Scott Farrar. I thought the non-comedic zombie sub-genre was exhausted: As "The Walking Dead" proves, week after week, you can only see smashed heads and spilling guts so many times before the repetition becomes tedious (and not scary at all -- just gross). True, "World War Z" has only one actual character (Pitt's), but 1) it's not 2.5 hours+ long (less than 2 hours!) and 2) it managed to re-imagine zombie behavior show audiences things they've never seen in a movie before, like the great horror and SFX films of the '70s, from the low-budget ("Dawn of the Dead") to the studio spectaculars ("CE3K").

Free Indie Movies and Documentaries    

Email Updates

Most "Liked"

  • Academy Reveals Key Dates for the O ...
  • WATCH: It's All Hitting the Fan in New ...
  • This Weekend in Theaters, Johnny Depp ...
  • Hollywood Stars Michelle Williams, James ...
  • WATCH: Martin Scorsese Talks Hitchcock, ...
  • WATCH: Stars Collide in First Trailer ...
  • Warner's Tsujihara Taps Dee Dee Myers ...
  • Pick Hit: Raunchy R-Rated Comedy 'Neighbors,' ...
  • Trailers from Hell on 'Pink Flamingos,' ...
  • Trailers from Hell Dares to Enter 'The ...