This rare opportunity takes audiences behind-the-scenes look at the upcoming technologically advanced film making of 20th Century Fox’s “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” through the team of VFX Supervisors from WETA (Lord of the Rings, District 9, Avatar) in Wellington New Zealand.
Directed by Rupert Wyatt, he said, the best Hollywood films are about a “human story”. In this film, it’s about an animal, ape Caesar (played by Andy Serkis) that rages against the machine. Caesar exhibits traits similar to humans and a bond is created with his father-figure, a scientist who tests drugs on him played by James Franco.
Senior Visual Effects Supervisor, Joe Letteri stated that the difference between “Avatar” and “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” is that it’s a direct extension from the work on Avatar. However, because the apes were the same size as the actors, unlike the 9 foot Navis in Avatar, actors could be on the live set at the same time. Dan Lemmon, Visual Effects Supervisor, added that they created a motion capture rig that was portable which allowed them to move around and were also able to work in direct sunlight.
Lemmon and Letteri both said that with each film they work on a twist on old technology surfaces and something new is created from it. Ultimately, they build on existing VFX.
Letteri also stated that in Avatar, the technology wasn’t the important thing. James Cameron was breaking-down the barrier between visual effects film and live action film. “He felt that there was no need to consider them as two separate worlds. That’s what we continued with Caesar by being able to put Andy (Serkis) and the rest of the performers into the live action set. The barrier is completely gone. So, we can treat it as it’s not a visual effects film. It’s about the performances”.