Thursday, May 8, 2014

Godzilla crew screening

Last night I finally saw Godzilla at the Warner Brothers lot. Phones weren't allowed, but there was a keepsake:
The only evidence.
The director, Gareth Edwards, gave a nice intro speech talking about how thankful he was for all the hard work the teams put in. Since he started from a visual effects background, he said he knew what it felt like to do so much work and have so much credit go to another person. Apparently the cast screening hadn't happened yet, and so other than the press, we were the first people it was screened for.

As usual, I can't go into any specifics that haven't already been confirmed by the film's marketing campaign, but I will say that I absolutely loved how it came out--and my expectations were very high going into it. Not only were the VFX jaw-dropping, but Bryan Cranston's performance kept me emotionally invested from the start. What can I say? Working on the movie turned me into a fanboy. When you go see it, be sure to see it on a huge IMAX 3D screen. Anything else is an injustice to the big guy.

Congratulations to everyone that worked on it. The Third Floor team got lots of names in the credits, which was great (you'll see mine on screen left). At the time I was on the project, we were working on the following sequences, with the shots I personally worked on in parentheses:

1. Godzilla approaching the Golden Gate sequence ('boat getting lifted on a big wave' shot, shots of soldiers reacting from the boats)
2. All hell breaking loose on the bridge (kids in the school bus looking out at the military preparing to fight, navy ships launching cruise missiles, soldiers scrambling around while the bridge bets blown up)
3. HALO jump (high angles on the group as they fell)
4. Very start of the Muto vs. Godzilla showdown in Chinatown

We also did some early motion design tests (6:30) of how Godzilla and the Mutos would fight, which was a lot of fun, even though they were animation exercises that weren't for any particular shots in the movie.

A final note to wrap up this post: Back in 2001, after finishing my Softimage 3.7 training in film school, I knew I needed some animation experience with the Maya program. My classmate Sony, a huge Godzilla fan, had built, rigged, and textured two giant monsters and a city block of Vancouver in Maya, and he asked me to animate them fighting. It was the very first thing I animated in Maya, outside of the Salty the Seal tutorial. Who would have thought that all these years later that experience would help to inform the motion of the latest Godzilla incarnation? What a weird coincidence...

La Brea and Melrose,  Los Angeles

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