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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) Greg Boettcher: My name is Greg Boettcher. I am one of the model makers here and was crew chief on 'Shutter Island,' here. This whole lighthouse went through a whole bunch of changes to get to what it looks like right now. This model was shot various times. It was shot in front of green screens. It was shot in front of sky, just out in the parking lot. We actually took it down to the beach. We literally set it up at the beach, so you can see the ocean just at the right height, and rocks behind it, and it was just all shot perfectly right in camera.
We had guys actually. There was another rock cropping like further down the road, and they had some of our guys like scaring birds in scale for the lighthouse here. The lighthouse itself was - a computer modeled the actual shape, and then we had it cut out of a piece of styrofoam, like regular bead styrofoam. And then we did like a joint compound texture over the whole thing, and then we took, like, real fine masking tape and made all the lines for the bricks, stapled on more texture all over the whole thing, and then we pulled all the lines off with the tape lines, and then that's how you get all the bricks on there.
So, this is a model for the Ward C. It's the big mental institution in 'Shutter Island.' There's the various elements. They actually had an actual full size wall of this on set in Boston, and then they had some - I think a full size section of wall for this. This is for an actual close up shot where the camera actually drives right in front of it. We did it just recently. Basically, there is a shot where the guys are in the car and they are looking at it for the first time. The camera is touching these bushes as it goes by. It's how close we had to get to it.
I was outside just with a shaded screen to keep the hard light off of it. We prevized the whole thing in Maya first, so we knew exactly how tall everything had to be as far as the where the camera had to be, to get to the angle for where the actors are down in their car. So, they had to scale everything out and figure out the scale of this model versus the scale of the guys in the car, and all that stuff. So, they did that all in Maya first, because then they could figure it out and know exactly what they needed to make. They knew exactly, "I could only make this high, and shoot this thing up 2 1/2 inches, and that would be just enough for the right angle to make it look as big as it is.
So, yeah, a lot of times we'll do the previzes in the computer, so we know exactly what we need to get out of the whole thing.
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