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Robert Zemeckis

‘The Walk’ Visual Effects Discussion

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VarietyRobert Zemeckis’s film “The Walk” takes audiences back some 40 years, when New York was gritty and the World Trade Center was new. Visual effects supervisor Kevin Baillie joined Variety’s David Cohen to reveal how his team made star Joseph Gordon­-Levitt look like an expert wirewalker and how they brought to live one of the film’s major characters: The Twin Towers themselves.

We’re Walking The Line Across the Uncanny Valley

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Faceware is proud to help Atomic Fiction walk the line across the Uncanny Valley in the sensational release of The Walk.  We’ve been involved with this thrilling project over the past few years, with high anticipation of the final output that VFX supervisor Kevin Baillie and his team would achieve.  Early reviews from critics are raving about the stunningly real visual effects, and much of the commentary focuses on the re-creation of the World Trade Center.

So what are we the most excited to hear, or perhaps NOT hear? That no one is questioning, “how did Joseph Gordon Leavitt walk on the cable?”

It is likely that audiences are assuming that all of the Joseph Gordon Leavitt shots were done with use of green screen technology. In reality, around 40 of the shots of him were created digitally using a body performer and photoreal face replacement technology engineered by Faceware.

Screenshot_AN_TheWalkAs Kevin Baille reflected,

“Faceware’s technology allowed Joe’s acting to come through on the digital version of his face. Your technology made it possible for Joe’s character to be faithfully represented.”

The masterful editing by director Robert Zemeckis allowed the face replacement shots to be seamlessly integrated within actual green screen performances.   This amalgamation of digital and reality beguiles the audience into believing the faces are all real.

The fact that no one is talking about Joseph Gordon Leavitt walking on the cable validates for us at Faceware Tech that our technology helped Atomic Fiction cross the Uncanny Valley with their Digital Human pipeline. That the cinematic audience believes the digital character is realty gives us a reason to high-5 around the think-tank.

It’s not often a  company says they are genuinely thrilled about a PR void when it comes to their contributions — but for us and other vital contributors to film-making, this lack of commentary speaks volumes for this breakthrough. The technology behind The Walk is a major feat for the Visual Effects industry.