Captain America Winter Soldier crosses $400m int'l, RISE VFX Company Showcases Work; DOP To Return

Marvel Studios’ Captain America: The Winter Soldier has reached $401.5m through Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures International.

The film has opened in all its markets and crossed the $100m threshold in China on April 22. The worldwide tally factoring in $205.3m from North America stands at $606.8m.

Winter Soldier has amassed more than $28m in both the UK and South Korea, which trail China as the next biggest markets.

Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel Jackson and Robert Redford star.

It’s easy to get lost in the seemingly endless waves of images flowing from the Disney machine behind Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Just ask the film’s director of photography, who was on set for every take.

“I saw a rough cut maybe two or three weeks before it was released, before they finalized the edit, and I told the directors Joe (Russo) and Anthony (Russo), ‘You know I was expecting it to be good, but it was better than I thought it would have been,’” cinematographer Trent Opaloch said from his North Vancouver home in a recent interview.

“Not to say I was expecting something less, but just that it kind of caught me by surprise and, I think, sometimes on a project of that scale you are there for every take and every angle and you just sort of get lost in the coverage a bit. I was really happy with the end result.”

Opaloch isn’t alone. The Chris Evans-starring Marvel film has earned critical acclaim and $476 Over $600 million worldwide.

The resounding thumbs-up for the Russo brothers’ movie has a lot to do with the film being a strong blend of action — complete with Scarlett Johansson kicking butt in a skin-tight cat suit — and intellect. For goodness sakes, Robert Redford is the bad guy!

“It’s really action packed, and although I like action, I wouldn’t really go to a movie for the action,” Opaloch said.

“But what really got me were the character moments, and the dialogue, and the little funny bits. It’s similar to the Avengers and the Iron Man movies. To me it is the little jokes and lines that make it such a fun experience.”

And it’s a uniquely human experience for a comic book hero. Sure there’s the superhero buff body, lightning-fast legs and a nifty flying disc, but there is also the good guy emotional strength that makes Captain America an endearing character.

For Opaloch, Captain America comes on the heels of his work on the big-budget sci-fi film Elysium from Vancouver-based director Neill Blomkamp, whom he also worked for on District 9 and the upcoming film Chappie.

Throughout the processes of making those movies, Opaloch said, the technology has changed.

“It was great to be able to use the technology, but not to be hindered or phased by it,” he said about this outing. What that means is that in the past the filmmakers had to follow what was rendered on a computer in an office somewhere. Now they can take advantage of a location or a spur-of-the-moment change.

“Now technology is advanced and people are able to have a more relaxed relationship with it when you can go, ‘OK, let’s use it for the benefits but not be bogged down by it all,’” Opaloch explained.

“I think for me the biggest thing I found — and this started with District 9, and I think only got better — is that tracking capabilities have gotten so refined and powerful now that it really frees us up.”

A common practice is to use a stationary camera to take a big, wide shot and then add movement later when editing.

“Subconsciously, people watching those shots would feel that it’s fake,” Opaloch added. “Why in the grammar of the film, every time the monster shows up, the camera stops moving. You know what I mean?

“Now you are freer as a filmmaker.”

For this big-budget outing the reins were held by not one but two directors/brothers.

“With Joe and Anthony being brothers it is kind of like the Sedin twins, they have been working together so long that theysort of move as one.

“And one has a really good idea what the other one is thinking, so it is a really smooth way of working,” said Opaloch. “I like it. I was joking it was like a dual processors on your laptop.”

While the success of Captain America: The Winter Soldier has Opaloch chuffed and eager to start the third Captain America, which will likely be released in mid-May 2016, the cinematographer still likes to get back to basics.

“It’s a heck of a lot of fun to be working with some of the world’s most professional film technicians and artists,” Opaloch said.

“The Marvel films really let me scratch that itch, and that’s a really marvellous thing to do — and then for me it’s all about getting back to the lower budget stuff. You have different challenges, they’re more hands on.”

What also excites the filmmaker is the chance to bear witness to a performance in the making.

“One of the things I love most about my job is watching things come to life in front of the camera like Sharlto (Copely), (awww yeah Sharlto is actually mentioned in a Captain America article, now get him a job for the next movie Opaloch) his character in District 9, so much of that was generated as an ad-lib performance that it was almost like shooting a documentary, and that was one of the most rewarding experiences I have had,” added Opaloch.

While he waits for Captain America’s third instalment to start shooting, Opaloch (who shot Katy Perry’s Part of Me video) plans to continue building his varied resumé and enjoying his life out from behind the camera.

“I’m a bit of a homebody and I have to travel so much for work, so the plan is to stick with commercials for the year and maybe sneak one film in before Cap 3 starts up next year,” said Opaloch, who is busy looking at scripts.

“But if I don’t find the right project, I am not going to do a film just to do a film.”

Meanwhile, RISE, one of the many visual effects studios on Captain America: The Winter Sodier, has revealed their work on the movie with official images. The VFX vendor's digital compositor, Oliver Hohn, explained to Art of VFX that RISE were behind the look of Nick Fury's eye-patched eye revealation, among other things. “The first step was to find reference material,” said Hohn of the design process. “We searched for pictures showing exactly that kind of wounds and scars. Which is, to be honest, not the most enjoyable thing to do. After that a matte-painter created the first concepts and in parallel we prepared the comp to be able to send the first layouts with the exciting revelation of Fury’s eye.” Check out three official stills below showcasing RISE's work, as well as four other images that were previously unreleased. What do you think?

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Calling all Winter's Children! We are planning a Captain America: The First Avenger livestream sometime next week/weekend(you know what? how about just sometime in the foreseeable future), let us know what time works for you so we can set up a date! and not be late to it like Steve