Doctor Strange: Exploring The Mind-blowing Visual Effects
When we talk of excellent mind-blowing graphics on the big screen in 2016, one Movie is sure to come into our minds, and it is none other than “Doctor Strange.” In today’s world every month seems to release a new superhero movie, “Doctor Strange” magically rises above the usual to provide stunning visuals, a quick pace and an excellent plot that is sure astound the entire Marvel universe. “Doctor Strange,” tells the remarkable story of Doctor Stephen Strange played by Benedict Cumberbatch. He is a renowned, talented neurosurgeon who has received many awards for his successful surgical career. Doctor Strange life gets into a mess after his hands get mangled in a car accident. In search of a remedy, he takes a journey to the Himalayan Community of Kamar – Taj which happens to be a home to sorcerers and wizards. He went there with the hope of getting healed so he can continue his career as a successful surgeon but plans changed as he meets the Ancient one (Tilda Swinton). He Ancient one who happens to be a healer takes him into the world of mystic arts and paths to alternative dimensions where he learns the secrets of the universe which doctor strange decides to use to battle evil forces of the world.
So How Did They Develop All The Cool Visual Effects?
To create the stunning visuals of the movie, director Scott Derrickson took a look at several films, pictures, paintings as well the original work of the awesome comic book artist Steven Ditko, who is the creator of both Spider-Man and Doctor Strange. The visual of this film is a killer, and it’s like nothing we’ve ever seen before, and it sure is the best of graphics that fans have witnessed since “Guardians of the Galaxy.” I got to say; this movie sure has a lot of cool stuff to talk about, the astral powers of Strange is a work of art that is sure to take a lot of hard work to create. The Mandelbrot sets within the film is also an excellent effect that never ceases to amaze me, and I know you feel the same way.
Well guys, during pre-production, the director worked with production designer Charles Wood as well as Visual effects supervisor Stephane Cerreti to come up with the idea of the magic, not just on the mythic level, but also on a scientific one. Through concept, art and storyboarding, Both the production designer and the Visual Effects boss discovered that simply illustrating the film’s dynamic environments before shooting would be inadequate as a road map. So they had to rely on Pre-visualization software to make the sequences more detailed.
The pre-visualization software became part of the big plan when working with the actors. Cumberbatch, as well as the other casts, would look at concepts regularly to help deliver impressive performances as the tale moved from one stage of reality to another. Now when we talk of one reality to another, I mean moving into the world of two, three and four dimensions – which I find to be super awesome!
This movie has a whole lot of cool sequences to look at; I guess you recalled that sequence where strange is pushed out of his body and transported on the astral plane going through a kaleidoscope of colors and mind-blowing imagery. Cinematographer Ben Davis calls it “the Magical Mystery Tour.”
To shoot that particular sequence, Davis strapped Cumberbatch by his waist to the end of a robotic arm that could move him in any direction. The camera was then placed on a motion-control rig, and four 20′ x 20′ mobile light fixtures were created that projected images of the actor. According to Davis, what was done was similar to what Emmanuel Lubezki did in “Gravity”, but it was updated and a different light source was used.
What companies are able to produce these mind-blowing effects?
I guess you might be curious about knowing the “Companies involved in this making this movie as well as how much work it took to get this film on the big screen.”
Well, guys, you got to know that this film took a lot of doing to get it to the cinema. Some of the best VFX companies and studios were involved in making the major sequences you got to see in the movie. I guess the coolest parts of this movie that any real fan will recall is the New York and Hong Kong sequences. To be more precise, I’m going to list out the key players that were involved in bringing this excellent movie plot to digital reality.
• Method Studios
• Lola VFX
It took how long?
It took ten months for Wood and his team to construct the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Doctor’s fortress home from which he battles the forces of evil. “One thing I know about Charles is that with every detail there will be no effort spared,” says Davis. Who made use of large format Arri Alexa 65 camera to capture every detail of Wood’s designs.
As the movie progressed, the Astral body work moved to other facilities and ILM would pay more attention to the vast New York and Hong Kong sequences. ILM delivered less than 400 shots, with New York having fewer shots as compared to Hong Kong (200 vs. 150). The entire film had a total of 1450 shots in total. For the New York Mirror sequence, the actors were almost completely on the green screen, although some locations were shot at the start of the sequence. ILM also executed the Hong Kong sequence in their London office which was supervised by Mark Bakowski. The entire team hoped to film the Hong Kong sequence in just 15 nights. However, it ended up being almost 23 nights. “it was a real challenge,” explained Cerreti.
Framestore also played a significant role in making the movie a success as they worked on over 365 shots between October 2015 to September 2016, covering work that spanned environments, Mandelbrotting of sets, the creation of the astral form, insanely high-resolution digi-doubles of principal characters and the awesome animation of the cape. All this were made possible thanks to the super creative team of Framestore VFX supervisors including Jonathan Fawkner, Rob Duncan, and Mark Wilson.
Framestore, the VFX Supervisors, were Jonathan Fawkner, Mark Wilson, and Rob Duncan.
Method Studios also did major sequences such as the Car crash, rooftop training and the fundamental discovery that strange could control time. Method completed a total shot count of 270 shots with a crew of 140 artists.
Among other key sequences, Framestore also worked on Crimson Bands of Cytorrak, a harness that Strange used to restrain Kaecilius. If you notice closely, a digital tear is shed during this scene. The tear, as well as most of the eye work on zealots, was done by LOLA VFX. As the zealots are transformed by dark magic, the area around their eyes takes on a unique look which is based on a geode. The most remarkable thing is that while the effects in this particular sequence appear to be totally 3D, it was done in 2D compositing in Flame by Lola. All the excellent work was done in Lola, LA. It was supervised by Trent Claus.
Luma worked on the first mirror dimension in London which sets the tone for the movie and all of the final Dormammu sequence. Luma designed the dark realm environment to make it connected to the style of the Guardians and also to make it unique to the movie.
All of that came with a hefty price tag
Taking a look at all the awesomeness of this film, you can only imagine how much it would cost to bring this digital wonder to life on the big screen. Well, according to Wikipedia, the budget for the whole movie summed up to $165 million. What we’ve covered here is just a slice of the entire work done by the Super Computer Graphics team that worked on this excellent Marvel Masterpiece.