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New Deal Studios is where the line between illusion and reality disappears. Come along for a peek behind the magician's curtain at one of Hollywood's top visual effects houses. In this Creative Inspirations documentary, find out how key scenes from Martin Scorsese's film Shutter Island were created, as well as segments of The Dark Knight and Night at the Museum. Using a combination of models, miniatures, computer graphics, and digital effects, New Deal Studios was designed from the ground up to be a place where effects professionals could do their best work, and where filmmakers could have their visions realized.
(Music playing) Robert Chapin: My name is Robert Chapin and I am Visual Effects Supervisor for New Deal Studios. We are a very small shop and we will staff up very quickly for production and the idea is to be able to have a freelancer come in and be able to sit down and start work right away. So if you have a lot of proprietary software, or even, you know, some sort of shot tracking system that takes them a few days to ramp up, that is a few days we do not have.
So we use direct off the shelf software, the most latest versions of Maya. We were working Shake for a long time, but Nuke actually proved better for us. So we are trying to stay on top of the technology, while trying to stay on top of what the freelance, what the community is using and what is easiest for a freelancer to just jump in and start work. As a Visual Effects Supervisor, I am managing, obviously, other artists, but I also sit behind the box. There is a lot of Visual Effects Supervisors that try to get out from behind the box.
I would like to be able to work on set, but I also like to be able to keep a handle on the tools as well, because you want to be able to do that. There is new stuff everyday so if you do not have a handle on it, how can you tell your artists what to do? So I make it a practice to - you know, and also we are a small shop too, so I am working on shots at the same time. Here is a couple of the shots that I worked on. This is a lighthouse set. They did not want to afford the entire set, to build the entire set, so they built this kind of one floor set with a green screen roof, basic line ups on set, lighting the models so it would match and then bringing it in and compositing it in Nuke.
One of the little touches we added too is that as he mounts the staircase, we have got movement in our staircase and, of course, no movement in the model. So, we actually had to take one of our elements from our model and actually did a little rotate to it. And here is our end result. This was one of the more elaborate shots here, which involved motion control. This is our Ward C shot. So, while art department was building their Ward C, they would send me the model, the digital model, which then I would take in and do a previz for the shot itself.
It's a very simple, little sweeping move, and now what we have to do is populate this with elements. This is after a hurricane has come through and wiped out everything. So, we have got a lot of workers who are on the ground and of course, our water plate was an actual plate that was shot in the Northeast Coast. Here is our final shot so far. As a freelancer for years, I specialized in dynamics and particle dynamic stuff. And there is stuff that you still can't do right. It's still really very difficult to do water, to do fire, to do explosions exactly right, especially, as a particle dynamics guy, if I was going to take this and blow it up, I mean there is software and there is tools available nowadays to help you do this, but there is nothing that can compare with taking a bunch of C-4 or whatever these guys rig, these models, to just make them blow up and shoot at high speed. There is such dynamics and such detail that you get, that you just cant get, yet, with CG.
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