(Visual Effects Compositor at Cinesite)
- How did you get involved in THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- It was one of many projects that we were working on at the same time.
The producers assigned us to this project.
- What were these other projects?
- I remember DOUBLE JEOPARDY, and THE MUMMY...
- When and how long did you work on THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Approximately 3 months, in 1998.
- What did you know about this project when hired?
- Nothing, except it was a Disney movie and that there was a lot of buzz
about the original name...
- What sort of buzz?
- Well, they were thinking of different titles, because EATERS OF THE
DEAD was inappropriate for Disney's reputation or image. Too graphic!
- What exactly did you do on this project?
- Composites, 3D ships, people and rain.
- So you did work on the opening shot of the Viking boat in the storm,
- I think it is a great shot, and obviously the producers did too, because
they used it twice in the movie!
- Hadn't the second unit filmed some live elements with actors for this
- Yes, some green screen was made.
- Did you do a lot of tests?
- Several passes were made, to get it approved...
- What was the main difficulty when mapping the live actors onto 3D CG
- Matching the erratic movement (pan, zoom, etc...). No motion capture
was used in that shot!
- How did you go about modeling the boat?
- The boat was modeled with Alias Wavefront.
- I suppose you had to match the ones they had built full-size on set,
- Yes, or else perspective would be off!
- What were your references for the modeling?
- Their boat and reading materials...
- Weren't there horses supposed to be on that boat too?
- I don't remember horses being there, or being placed there...
- What about the rolling ocean? Was it completely CG?
- Yes, it was.
- These waves sure are gigantic! Did you overdo reality a little bit?
- That is what they wanted!
- Between the boat, the people, the rain, the wind, the sail and the waves,
this shot must have consisted of many separate layers, right?
- Yes! Many of them!!!
- Was photo-realism one of your goals?
- What software did you use?
- Alias, Cineon, proprietary paint software...
- Did you work on scenes or shots that were not included in the final
- I know they filmed some whale sequence with the actors and a mechanical
whale, which was planned to be combined with shots of some real whale
the second unit did, and, allegedly, they didn't use this sequence in
the final cut because they couldn't manage to match the background lights
of the two footages. Have you heard anything about this?
- Yes, but it was completed nonetheless with color corrections and backdrop
- So you mean the whale sequence was technically finished and ready to
be used in the final version of the film?
- As far as I can remember...
- Did you personally work on this whale sequence?
- What was occuring during this sequence?
- The first test was about some whale diving...
- Was there only one whale involved, or several ones?
- Only one, in the first test I saw...
- Did Cinesite generate a CG whale for this sequence?
- I don't think so... Well, I don't remember...
- Was there fog in this sequence?
- I have also heard about some "bird attack scene" done by Cinesite
(apparently, Ibn/Banderas was attacked by CG crows when discovering dead
bodies in the farmer's hut)...
- I did not see a test for that...
- Finally, what was your biggest challenge on this project?
- The transition from live action people and boat to the CG people and
- How did you feel about the finished version of THE 13TH WARRIOR?
- Last but not least, have you heard anything about the dispute between
producer Michael Crichton and director John McTiernan?
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