I’m never one to be that much into credits, but man am I proud of VisPop being up there on the credit-roll of The Hunger Games. After a year of VisPop being a company, With James, Jim, Ann, and myself working so hard to make things happen, it’s such a great feeling to see VisPop up there on the big screen for the first of MANY times to come!! With the huge Spectacle surrounding the film, it makes it all the better with our focus as a company. James, Jim, Ann I’m sorry your names aren’t up there, but VisPop’s is! WOOOOOOoooooo! Thanks Rising Sun, Chantal and Lionsgate for doing it, that’s very cool!
So VisPop just finished up working with Rising Sun Pictures on the “The Hunger Games”. We came in to help supervise on 209 of the film’s more difficult shots. We worked closely with the filmmakers and the artists at RSP to execute some amazing visual effects work on what will become one of the years biggest High Spectacle films.
Our main responsibilities for the Hunger Games were the Mutations, the Capital City and the full Tribute Parade sequence including Katniss & Peeta’s Fire wings. We also worked on a whole load of other cg environments, misc 2d/3d work and Katniss’ kick ass fire dress. The Capital City was a huge challenge! The design process went on for a long time, but it is well worth it in the results. It was very clear that nothing like The Capital has ever existed so it had to be created in cg. The closest reference was probably Welthauptstadt Germania which we came back to a lot for ideas. The next biggest challenge were the mutations! Anytime you get into creature work it’s great and the concept here made it all the more kick-ass. The hardest part, not unlike any creature work, was in working out how anthropomorphised the critters were. In this case how much of the characteristics come from the tributes and how much comes from a dog? I’m really proud of how they turned out, I think the guys did some fantastic cg on the Muts. It was great to work with Daniel Jeannette again. He did an amazing job directing the animation! The other big challenge was the Tribute Parade. The Tributes, Snow, and some of the close-up crowds were live action, but the rest of that entire sequence is cg. We did all the Presidential Palace and Avenue, lots and lots of crowd work, all the fire wings… man, just a lot of work. But when you sit down and see that sequence pieced together it nails the aesthetic of the Capital. Anytime the visual effects pound home that tone in a smart way you feel proud to have brought that work to the project.
We really do feel privileged to have been part of such an amazing high spectacle film that is clearly destined to have a huge impact on society and culture. We’ve just returned from Hong Kong where the media storm for Hunger Games is as big as it is here in Sydney. We haven’t been in North America while the marketing frenzy has been ramping up, but we’re hearing the scale that Lionsgate is pushing the film is almost unprecedented, particularly for a mid-major studio. It’s all well worth it, the film stays really close to the book and the book is fantastic. My personal opinion is they have really nailed the empowerment angle for kids. In the Narnia films, for example, the kids become kings and queens and their empowerment comes through the responsibility those roles bring. In Hunger Games the kids are thrown into a more gritty and real context where self survival (and all of society’s survival by proxy) becomes the empowerment. I can see that extra edge being attractive to kids and teens. Combine in high spectacle action and dystopian, anti-government themes for an entertaining experience for the older demographic AND of course there’s plenty of romance and elegant dresses. It’s a cool concept for a film (actually 3-4 films) and no-doubt will cane it at the box office!
VisPop is incredibly proud of the people we collaborated with on the show and would like to think the visual fx work will stand out as some of 2012′s best! It was great to work with RSP again. We always have a lot of time for the folks over there in Adelaide who continually are working on some of Hollywoods best! So go drop the $18AU for a movie ticket, another $10 for some popcorn and sit back to be entertained by High Spectacle Film at it’s best. Ohhh, not to take sides but VisPop is definitely team Gale… (and Peta sucks.)
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