Project: Battle: Los Angeles
Budget: $70 million
Project duration: Approx. 22 months (March 2009-Jan 2011)
No. of shots: Approx. 1,000
Studios: Cinesite, SPIN VFX, Hydraulx, Shade VFX, Matte World Digital, Intelligent Creatures, AXISvfx, Luma Pictures, The Embassy, Soho VFX, MPC
Running time: 112 minutes
Just imagine: your military career is about to come to an end when, just days before your long-awaited retirement, hostile alien forces invade the world.
Talk about bad luck.
The original idea for the film was based on events that occurred in 1942, when an unidentified aircraft hovered ominously over LA.
The uncertainty surrounding the mystery object has left it open to much speculation over the years. In this version, the enemy is aliens – lots of them.
With the city of Los Angeles not keen on hosting huge pyrotechnics, director Jonathan Liebesman and the Battle: Los Angeles crew travelled to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to shoot the live action and get a bargain on their explosives.
Huge 3D environments were created by the SPIN VFX crew using predominantly Maya and Nuke, with help from Flame
That left room within the relatively modest $70 million budget for plenty of CG work: the film features approximately a thousand CG shots, many full of complicated visual effects.
After being noticed for its impressive work on the TV series Generation Kill, VFX house Cinesite was awarded 100 shots.
With a crew of 32 and a 10-month deadline, the workload pushed production to its limit.
Like the movie itself, the workflow was somewhat unconventional. “It had to be simple, quick and efficient – different from other pipelines,” says Cinesite’s VFX supervisor Ben Shepherd.