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The worldwide popularity of The Pirates of the Caribbean franchise is driven by epic action, exotic locales, and of course, Johnny Depp's Captain Jack Sparrow.  With a production of the Pirates scale, producer Jerry Bruckheimer and director Rob Marshall called upon Method Studios to step in at the zero hour and create a unique environment for its two main stars.

The scene features Jack Sparrow and Angelica Teach (played by Penelope Cruz) emerging from the River Thames beneath a bridge in Victorian-era London.  The original plate featured Depp and Cruz hoisting themselves from a small water tank onto a prop bridge; it was up to Method to fill out the rest.  In a matter of weeks, a full CG environment was created using a combination of digital matte painting projections in the background and Maya/Vray rendered props in the foreground.  Natural elements -- such as running sewer water, surface river water, and gas lamp fire -- were produced in Houdini to help set the atmospheric mood.  All work was composited in stereo to meet the requirement of the massive 3D theatrical release.

Method VFX supervisor Matt Dessero oversaw CG and compositing out of LA while Olivier Pron handled digital matte painting work out of London.  "Because of the tight schedule, we needed a great working relationship with the Director," says Dessero, "we worked closely with Rob (Marshall) so feedback was instantaneous."  

Working as a separate unit within the facility, Method also served as the primary vendor for stereo alignment correction on Pirates, completing over 1000 shots by utilizing a custom workflow that interfaced directly with the Company 3 digital intermediate.  "Since the work was being done under the same roof, we were able to get into the DI early to do stereo spotting sessions," says Method stereo supervisor Troy Moore, "as the shots were called out we could tag them with notes, pass them off to our artists and then back to CO3 with relative ease."  

In addition to VFX and stereo correction, Method also contributed to re-designing the Disney logo for On Stranger Tides.  Assets from Weta, ILM, and MPC were re-purposed for stereo conversion and Method built a custom CG pirate flag to present a new 3D look at the iconic Disney castle.


  • Environments
  • Stereo
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