One of the toughest things about covering visual effects can be getting great VFX imagery to display with a story. There’s often a lengthy approvals process, and sometimes film and TV distributors just want to keep certain things under wraps. That can make it hard to produce interesting stories; in visual effects, behind the scenes images and videos tell so much of the process.
But lately, I’ve started noticing that many actors, directors and filmmakers have been posting a bunch of fun on-set and often VFX-related pics and clips to their social media accounts. We’re talking actors on greenscreens, in mocap suits, being scanned, or otherwise interacting with the teams behind the visual effects shots they’ve been working on.
What I love about these postings, too, is occasionally they’ll hint at the VFX work to come, often months down the track. It’s fun to compare the original posting with what made it into the movie. So, come with me as I explore some behind the scenes frivolity on several upcoming and recently released films and shows.
Deadpool 2 is still a year away, launching in June 2018, but actor Josh Brolin has been teasing his Cable make-up in Instagram postings.
Insanity on the brink. Face is morphing into something machine, fierce, hair sliced, arm machined, bulged. Where is Deadpool?!? Looking. Looking. All I got are these two…molding me, prodding, turning me into something hard. @bcorso #mikesmithson #deadpool #ivebeencabled #cableswole @prevailactivewear
The Untitled Han Solo film may have lost its original directors, but Ron Howard quickly stepped in. He’s active on Twitter and has already posted pics from the set, including this look at an on-set hyperspace projection. That also appears to be ILM VFX supe Rob Bredow on the far left.
View image on Twitter
Hyperspace is real. My first experience. Wow. pic.twitter.com/POilRi5ePX
— Ron Howard (@RealRonHoward) July 19, 2017
Avengers: Infinity War is probably shaping up to be one of the most anticipated films of 2018 (look out for it in May). The Russo Brothers have a fun Instagram account, and one posting features them on a mocap stage with the caption ‘Rehearsal’. There was some speculation that the suited performer is Josh Brolin (who plays Thanos), but I’m really not sure. In any case, Brolin was back at it again, posting his own image showing the actor wearing a facial capture dots mask and referencing the ‘purple guy’.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson regularly calls out the visual effects crew working on his movies. In this post, he has a behind the scenes shot of Jason Liles in mocap gear playing an Albino silverback in Rampage, with VFX to come from Weta Digital. The film comes out April, 2018.
When my bestie, George (an extremely rare Albino silverback) gets hangry. Hungry + angry. Blown away by this technology. Makin' a cool movie for you guys here on set of #Rampage. When George (and a crocodile and grey wolf) are infected they grow at a rapid rate to gigantic proportions rampaging across the country. In this scene our Oscar winning Weta Digital (Lord of the Rings, Avatar etc) is using their ground breaking "performance capture" to bring "George" the Silverback to life. It uses over 30 special cameras to "see" the performance of my co-actor @tallie7487 allowing the digital artists to make the most realistic and badass animations possible. He's wearing a "facial capture helmet" and we can record every muscle movement and expression and emotion of George as goes on a rampage. Jason studied gorillas for months preparing for this performance capture role – facial expressions, sounds, habits and emotions. Spectacular performance. What a learning curve for me and such a pleasure to help produce these amazing artists who come to set daily to be game changers. More to come. Amazing technology. #WETADigital #Hydraulx #Rampage #MyHangryBestFriend
We don’t have to wait too long for Justice League, which is out November this year. Henry Cavill posted a behind the scenes video of him entering a mulit-camera array for scanning, presumably as part of his transformation into a CG Superman. And Zack Snyder posted a behind the scenes clip on Twitter of Aquaman at work (note the reference to Scanline VFX in the video).
Working on my birthday ? pic.twitter.com/tLidlUrcyn
— Zack Snyder (@ZackSnyder) March 2, 2017
If you’re following Thor: Ragnorak director Taika Waititi on Instagram, you know how subversive he can be. He also posts fun VFX pics, too. The film is heading our way in November. And the Hulk himself, Mark Ruffalo, has some mocap suit action from the set of Ragnorak.
No stranger to disaster flicks, Dean Devlin is directing the October release, Geostorm, and here he shows some of the facial capture work being done for the film
Gal Gadot posted these behind the scenes of her fighting a stand-in performer for the ‘Zod monster’ from Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and during a multi-camera array scan (possibly for Wonder Woman)
OK, it’s from a little while ago (2014 in fact) but Michelle Rodriguez is here showing off some painted dots on her face presumably for some facial capture work – could this be on one of the Fast and Furious films?