This week I have been going to a summer program at the Australian FIlm Television and Radio School, during the week lecturers in many different fields have been talking to us.
One of the men was a man from an Australian digital fx company called ‘Animal Logic’ (www.animallogic.com), he was showing us some of his work (matrix etc) and during his lecture he told us how they use digital effects in films to create larger armies than there actually are.
Animal Logic spoke about the ‘Massive’ technology, however they are not working on LOTR. However he showed us how to create large amounts of people for battle scenes. He has done ads such as the KFC ad where all the KFC employees are watching the huge screen with Star Wars images. He has also done the Maytag ads where the parents vs the kids on a field over what is for dinner.
How he did it was take about 50 or so extras and film them doing the actions at certain places on the field. They filmed the extras using all the different camera angles the ad would require and they created a system by which the camera could pan without effecting the end effect as normally the camera had to be steady to do this sort of effect. What they then did was use the existing images of people to fill in the rest of the gaps on the field. Once all together with camera pans etc it really looks like there are thousands of people.
As I said he is not working on LOTR but this is a good example of how WETA will probably create large hordes of Orcs.
For more on this and other computer related magic check out our SFX section.
Thanks to Resevoir Dog for the tip!