QUANTUM LEAP FOR VISUAL EFFECTS COMPANY ALT.VFX
Written on the 6 May 2016 by Karen Rickert
THE latest project from Alt.vfx has led to a 'quantum leap' for the visual effects company as it makes its mark in the world of gaming and looks to extend its presence in the US.
The Brisbane-based business executed the post-production of the live action scenes in Xbox One game Quantum Break, which was released last month.
Quantum Break is the latest offering from Remedy Entertainment, the company behind titles such as Max Payne and Alan Wake. A TV series accompanies the Xbox One game.
The player's actions impact how the live action story unfolds, featuring actors Shawn Ashmore from the X-Men franchise, Aiden Gillan from Game of Thrones and Dominic Monaghan from The Lord of the Rings.
Quantum Break's protagonist Jack Joyce, played by Ashmore, has the power to manipulate time during a 'stutter moment' where the world freezes causing the digital landscape to shatter and reassemble.
Alt.vfx co-founder and 2015 Brisbane Young Entrepreneur Marketing and Events winner Takeshi Takada (pictured right) says the live action scenes for the commercial were shot in Prague with all the scale of a feature film.
"Our visual effects supervisor and co-founder Colin Renshaw (pictured left) took a team to Prague to supervise the shoot," Takada says.
"Col engaged with the director and production company at an early stage to ensure that we captured all the plates, elements and measurements required to create the intricately detailed and complex visual effects and achieve director Michael Spiccia's vision."
The scenes were filmed at an old Jewish cemetery over a week. Alt.vfx used LiDAR (light detection and ranging) technology developed in the mining industry to deliver a full digital scan of the site to the millimetre, enabling the team to 'break' the environment.
Renshaw says this is the first project of its kind for the studio, however it builds on the team's previous experience in game cinematics.
"Traditionally, it's harder to win these jobs in the US because they like to keep post-production local so it was quite a coup for us to bring the project to Australia," Renshaw says.
"The process took about 15 weeks from start to finish, with a large part of that taken up during a research and development phase.
"We worked closely with Remedy, who had been developing the game for five years, and wanted us to interpret the game's aesthetic and time shift moments with as much authenticity to the game as possible.
"The game's design had to be integrated into the real world and we spent about eight weeks rebuilding essentially the same visual language to our shots."
The result is a new breed of storytelling for both gaming and television, and Renshaw says it allows the agency to explore hyper-reality.
"Gaming and cinematics, especially the live action interpretations of those, are big business these days," he says.
"These types of projects are exciting because you get the opportunity to create amazing things that you might not necessarily get to do in day-to-day advertising.
"There's a convergence between what you can now experience in a game and what you can experience as a pre-rendered trailer.
"They're getting closer and closer all the time, which motivates us to keep our visuals even more high end."
The company recently upgraded its Sydney office to larger premises in Darlinghurst, and is in the process of opening an office in Los Angeles to keep up with demand.