Three artists from Rising Sun Pictures have been nominated for a Visual Effects Society (VES) Award for their work on Marvel Studios’ summer blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok. CG Supervisor Hubert Maston, Lighting Technical Director Arthur Moody, VFX Supervisor Adam Paschke and Virtual Production Supervisor Casey Schatz (from Third Floor) are nominated for Best Virtual Cinematography for the film’s “Val’s Flashback” sequence. Winners will be announced at the 16th Annual VES Awards Ceremony, February 13th in Beverly Hills.
“We extend our heartiest congratulations to our nominees on this wonderful honour,” said RSP Managing Director Tony Clark. “It’s very rewarding to see their hard work, dedication and creativity recognized by their industry peers. It inspires us to continue to produce excellence.” In 2015, artists from Rising Sun Pictures won a VES Award for Virtual Cinematography for the “Quicksilver Kitchen” sequence from X-Men: Days of Future Past.
“Val’s Flashback,” which plays out in artful slow motion under glittering light, describes a fatal encounter between Valkyrie warriors and Hela, the Asgardian Goddess of Death. The female warriors, riding winged steeds, emerge from portals in the sky only to be mercilessly struck down by Hela using her magical powers.
Virtual cinematography was integral to realising the epic battle. A lighting rig, built specially for the sequence, featured 145 hot-shoe flashes assembled in a large ring. It was used to shoot horse and actor elements with the cycling lights synced to a Phantom 4k camera shooting at 900 frames per second. Shot composition and camera choices were determined through digital pre-visualisation. Over 100 individual setups were necessary to produce the sequence, with some shots requiring more than 15 live action plates.
RSP’s VFX team undertook a post-vis process where live action and CG elements were assembled and laid out. CG elements were lit by a digital version of the lighting rig to facilitate integration. “The sequence involved high-level creature animation and digital characters, as well as very detailed compositing, due to the unusual lighting effects,” notes Visual Effects Executive Producer Gill Howe. “It was also a challenge because it was a standalone piece, and a significant scene in the movie. It had to be unique, different, and something that had never been done before.”