Terminator Genisys – Cinefex 143 Extract

by Graham Edwards

Series T-800 Robot in "Terminator Genisys" from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

Series T-800 Robot in “Terminator Genisys” from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions.

Just like Arnie, Cinefex is back – with our latest magazine edition! In this exclusive look inside issue 143, we’re treating you to an extract from Wrinkles in Time, Jody Duncan’s detailed analysis of the visual and special effects of Terminator Genisys.

Visual effects for the film were the province of a team of vendors including Double Negative, MPC, ILM, Method Studios and Lola. Essential practical support came courtesy of Terminator veterans Legacy Effects:

Legacy Effects provided practical endoskeletons used as in-camera props or as on-set reference for computer animated endoskeletons that would be composited into the action in postproduction. Founding members of Legacy Effects, as young artists working for Stan Winston Studio, had built the endoskeleton puppets employed in The Terminator. For Terminator Genisys, Legacy updated that original design, working from production art department concepts.

“The new design retained the essence of the old endoskeleton,” said Legacy Effects supervisor John Rosengrant, “but added a few new design touches, such as a reshaped pelvis and a more streamlined look, overall. We built three of those full size: one hero that was put in shots for lighting reference; a semi-puppeted stunt one that was hero-looking but made of urethanes so it could take a beating; and one that looked burned, which became the catch-all reference for burned endoskeletons on set. We also built a hero torso that was used for similar shots of a damaged or burned Terminator.” Legacy built an insert head, as well, for a shot of a brain chip being replaced in a port in the endoskeleton’s skull.

The Legacy Effects crew digitally modeled the hero endoskeleton, and then produced its more than 250 individual pieces through rapid prototyping. “Due to the new materials we have to work with,” said Rosengrant, “the final assembled endoskeletons were much lighter than they were when we had to puppeteer them in The Terminator. Back in the day, they weighed a ton!”

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

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