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Project Almanac

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Produced by Michael Bay, 'Project Almanac' is a lively teen-time travel thriller which presented a good variety of VFX work for the Method team. Whenever the subject matter involves time travel, it is likely to involve a time machine and include sequences where there are disorienting moments which defy nature. This movie has both of these scenarios and Method was the sole vendor creating them. 

A physical time machine was created for the numerous times on set that the cast interacted with it. The machine itself could fit in a backpack but the heart of the device was only the size of a small loaf of bread. When it was time to demonstrate what this machine could do in a close-up, the film cuts to the CG version of the machine created by Method.

During the movie, there are multiple attempts at making the time machine work and each attempt essentially teases the audience with what they will eventually see when it succeeds. The first fully successful jump has every type of effect Method did encapsulated into a single sequence. This shot was made up of a number of shorter length shots edited and woven together to give it the appearance of a single camera take. Creating this long and seamless sequence became the biggest logistical challenge in the film.

Another focus for the VFX team was the transition effects seen as the action travels from the current day to the past. The director wanted the transition to appear to be physically based but this was not entirely possible for the onset (practical) special effects crew. Method’s CG FX team handled all of the time travel related phenomena including floating objects, flickering lights, atmospheric phenomenon and the teleportation of items.

Method’s team was constantly challenged by the extreme nature of the hand held moving camera environments where there were already physical effects happening in frame. The film is seen in POV/found footage style so the camera was furiously moving and shaking all the time in 360 degree space in both very large areas as well as very small ones. Tracking, lighting and depth of field needed to be spot on and Method’s effects artists, animators and compositors were constantly adjusting to wildly varying interpretations of each type of effect and animation and well as its place in multiple environments.


Keywords

  • FX
  • Compositing
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