Selected by Simon Stanley-Clamp. A director at London-based effects house Cinesite, Simon Stanley-Clamp has Pirates Of The Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, John Carter, and, most recently, World War Z and Iron Man 3 on his resume. He was charged with the Scorpioch sequence in Clash Of The Titans and supervised 270 effects shots on Duncan Jones's Moon, creating robot helper Gerty among other things.
"Fritz Lang's Metropolis is a favourite of mine. The way they made it look busy, and silly things like the flying cars – I know they weren't cars – and multi-layered streets, flyovers and these biplanes with propellers flying around this bizarre cityscape. It was busy, there were lots of things to look at and then the camera is also flying through it. I'm a big sci-fi geek. I remember seeing Dark Star and Silent Running as a teenager at a 3am double-bill in the West End with my best friend, and strangely, 20 years on, they turned out to be a constant reference on Moon. I'm also sucker for any kind of long camerawork, long visual effect, that Hitchcock continuous camera, slow-moving seamless thing because it's an amazing example of everybody working together from director and actors through to stage manager. I love the Powers Of Ten opening shot in Contact where the camera flies down from space and out of the eye, because the camera carries on moving and moving. You nudge your friend and say, 'They haven't cut yet!'"
The Trench Run - Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Selected by Guillaume Rocheron. French-born and Vancouver-based, Guillaume Rocheron headed up MPC's Oscar-winning team on Life Of Pi. He's currently working on Gareth Edwards' Godzilla.
"Growing up, Star Wars, Jurassic Park and Terminator 2 were the three films that stuck with me. The most memorable scene for me, though, was the attack on the Death Star. I didn't know anything about special effects or visual effects or miniatures, but that absolutely blew my mind. I was about 12 when one of my parents' friends brought this VHS over and said, "You need to see this movie, it's called Star Wars." I'd never even heard of it but it turned out to be the big moment when I decided that I wanted to do this myself. In fact, when I started doing computer graphics I probably spent the first year just building spaceships (laughs). I also love the moment in Terminator 2 when the T-1000 melts through the prison bars but his gun gets stuck. I was a bit more aware of computer graphics when I saw that but it was still a case of 'Wow!'. Even today, with the technology far advanced, it's still a great shot."
[Video at source]
The Brachiosaurus Reveal - Jurassic Park
Selected by Christian Nanz. The man who helped Dobby-ify Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows, Christian Manz’s first project was the BBC’s Walking With Dinosaurs. He subsequently worked on The Golden Compass and Prince Caspian for Framestore and is currently busy on Keanu Reeves’ jidaigeki flick 47 Ronin.
“The moment Sam Neill first sees that Brachiosaurus in Jurassic Park was my inspiration for wanting to get into visual effects. I was 20 at the time – bizarrely, I’d taken my parents to see it – and I couldn’t compute how that had been done. You only saw the Sam Neill reaction shot and the T-Rex eye in the trailer, so it was like, “Oh... my... god!’ Although there are bits of it that don’t quite stand up 20 years on, my heart skipped a beat. The asteroid sequence in Empire Strikes Back still takes my breath away too, and there’s the car shot in War Of The Worlds, that gives you the feeling that you’re with the characters in that crazed situation. But Jurassic Park was a turning point for digital animation. I started working in visual effects three years later and in a strange piece of symmetry, my first project was Walking With Dinosaurs.”
The Warehouse Sequence - Raiders Of The Lost Ark
Selected by Tim Webber. VFX super at UK effects house Framestore, Tim Webber is the man behind Two-Face in The Dark Knight and the wild things in Where The Wild Things Are. He was also a key cog in The Dark Knight's Oscar-nominated effects team. He's currently working on Alfonso Cuarón's Gravity.
"I love Davy Jones in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and the T-1000 walking out of the flames in Terminator 2, but my pick is the warehouse scene at the end of Raiders Of The Lost Ark. It's just a simple matte painting, not a very complicated visual effects shot, but it was done brilliantly. A lot of the visual effects from that period look terrible now – there are lines around things or you can see the joins on matte paintings, but that one was immaculate. I was pretty young when I watched it, but I was so impressed by the way it slowly revealed the size of the place. It's not your big, crash-bang-wallop modern visual effects shot but it has real dramatic effect. If I could have picked my own shot, I would have opted for the baby at the end of Children Of Men. It's a four-and-a-half minute shot of someone giving birth. My wife and I had just had a kid when we were working on it, which helped me remember what a new-born baby looked like (laughs)."
Davy Jones - Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest
Selected by Gary Brozenich. Emmy nominated for his work on HBO’s Rome, MPC's Gary Brozenich has worked with Gore Verbinski on The Lone Ranger and Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides. His pick – a ground-breaking piece of ILM work – features in another Verbinski blockbuster.
"The moment when you meet Davy Jones in extreme close-up (in Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest), saying, “Do you fear death?”, just blew me away. And every shot after that got better and better. It wasn’t just the photo-realism, it was the combination of creature design, the strong character delivered by Bill Nighy and the finished polish that was unprecendented. It’s not just the visual effects, it’s the cool character design by (conceptual designer) Crash McCreery, Gore Verbinski and that team, the performance by Bill Nighy and ILM’s mo-cap technology, which was revolutionary at the time. Davy Jones has this muffled voice because he doesn’t have a nose, and the way he cocks his head to put his pipe in his mouth to avoid the tentacles is just brilliant. They were doing all this in difficult conditions, on ships and confined spaces, so technically it was pretty amazing. In fact, to this day I can’t think of another character that comes across as well as he does. They threw all caution to the wind and made it work. He’s great from the ground up."
Rest @ the source.
Awesome to see Metropolis on the list. What are your favorite effects shots, ONTD?