Ant-Man – Cinefex 143 Extract

by Graham Edwards

Ant-Man - Cinefex 143

To celebrate the launch of Cinefex 143, we’re treating you to a sneak preview of all the articles inside. First up is Microcosmos, Joe Fordham’s extensive look at the effects of Marvel’s big (or is that little?) summer hit, Ant-Man.

Under the expert guidance of visual effects supervisor Jake Morrison, a VFX team including Double Negative, Method Studios, Luma Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic, Cinesite and Lola Visual Effects – with Prime Focus World and Legend3D handling stereoscopic conversions – meticulously crafted the film’s miniature magic.

Our exclusive extract outlines the work of the “macro unit”, which operated concurrent to the main unit shoot photographing specially constructed sets:

“We approached macro-world scenes like ‘pack shot’ product photography in television commercials,” explained Jake Morrison. “The art department took small sections of the main unit sets and rebuilt them as six- to eight-foot extractions. Macro sets were built 1:1 scale – we never tried to make anything oversized – but detail was much higher. Macro unit art director Jann Engel had bags of dead bugs, gummy bears and all sorts of nasty debris that she dressed in.”

To line up shots, the macro unit used a tiny rapid-prototyped model of Ant-Man, smaller than an HO-scale model railroad figure, and a P+S Technik Skater Skope periscope lens with a rotating nodal head that placed Frazier lenses as low as possible to floor level.

After motion control photography of macro unit sets, production plate photographer Teddy Phu Thanh Danh and Alex Wuttke gathered still imagery using three Canon 5D cameras on Dr. Clauss Rodeon panoramic heads. “The joy of the process was discovering the detail in what we’d shot,” said Wuttke. “To the naked eye, the macro sets looked quite mundane – a rusty pipe, or the corner of an old floorboard – but when we photographed those with a 100mm lens centimeters from the subject and did our preview stitch, the information it revealed was mind blowing. Jake’s strategy of using real objects with natural wear and tear really paid dividends when we got into macro scale, because there was no artifice. An astonishing level of detail appeared before our eyes.”

Read the complete article in Cinefex 143, which also features The Walk, Terminator Genisys and Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation.

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