The Batman

DC Comics’ Caped Crusader has been covered for decades in television and cinema. Sometimes campy, sometimes more dramatic. Director Matt Reeves’ latest take on Bruce Wayne/Batman (starring Robert Pattinson in the title role) takes us into a considerably more gritty version of Gotham.

No superhero film is possible without extensive visual effects work and The Batman is no exception, with numerous top-flight effects house contributing to the film. I recently spoke with Anders Langlands, Wētā FX visual effects supervisor, about his company’s contributions to help bring The Batman to life.

Anders, what are some of the scenes that ended up on Weta FX’s “to do” list?

We supplied a number of scenes. The biggest and most exciting one was the highway chase. We also did all of the work on the Batcave and the City Hall environment for the Mayor’s Memorial sequence. We worked on a few fight scenes in a couple of different locations, like the Iceberg Lounge. These required fight augmentation – speeding up and adjusting punches and kicks to make people look like they’re actually hitting each other – as well as some face replacements between Rob Pattinson and his stunt double. There are also CG bats in the Batcave and in a cage in the Riddler’s apartment.

Click here to continue reading the rest of the interview at postPerspective.

©2022 Oliver Peters

Analogue Wayback, Ep. 7

Clickety, clackety, click.

Prior to the advent of Microsoft Powerpoint, large-scale corporate presentations often involved elaborate multimedia productions. Support for keynote addresses, trade shows, and board of directors meetings took the form of audio-visual productions using multiple, synchronized 35mm slide projectors as the playback system. In the 1970s and even 1980s, if you wanted to wow an audience with high-res images spread across an entire stage, that’s how it was done. There were numerous production companies and even an NAB-style trade show dedicated specifically to this art and technology. If you said that you produced corporate presentations or multimedia, everyone knew that this was what you were talking about.

All visuals had to end up on a 35mm slide. This included photographic images, graphics, and text. Proper alignment of the projectors at the time of the presentation was paramount to get the correct seamless effect. The projected light could be controlled, which enabled dissolves and composites. Any large image that was a composite of several slides spread horizontally across the stage had to be correctly divided and masked. This feathered mask let the light additively blend across slides for a seamless image.

Typical presentations played from a bank of six to 21 stacked projectors. Picture was accompanied by a powerful soundtrack. The common audio playback device was a 4-track recorder (often a Teac). This allowed for a stereo track, a guard band, and a timecode track to trigger the projectors. Audio timecode, pulses, or even punch tape were methods used for synchronization. A central controller was the brain and the AVL Eagle was the king in that field, if memory serves me right. AVL was the multimedia world’s equivalent to CMX for video editors.

At the height of multi-image technology, some systems even integrated lip-sync soundbites. Obviously you could integrate a film projector for playback. However, a second more ingenious way was demoed at one of the shows. The on-camera speaker was filmed and those frames copied to individual 35mm slides. The system was able to work at about 20fps and could maintain lip-sync when filmed at this rate. The clip was played by cycling through the consecutive slides that made up the soundbite!

During my time in Jacksonville, our company had a separate department devoted to creating multimedia productions. One of their clients was an oil company with a presence in Alaska. In order to optimize portability for traveling, the show director developed a package using the 110 slide format. Up to nine 110 slide projectors, complete with playback system, fit neatly into a road case!

Since that time, I’ve worked numerous corporate shows as an on-site editor. The keynote presentation is often supported by three or four Powerpoint designers who are handling all of the graphics and speaker support images from their laptops. That’s a huge advancement. Nevertheless, it’s sad to have witnessed the demise of a rather ingenious presentation form.

©2022 Oliver Peters

January 2021 Links

Occasionally I write articles for other sites, which I don’t repost here or which I may repost much later at a future date. In case you missed them, here are links to some of the more recent ones.

My thoughts on how the Apple silicon transition affects post production professionals.
Is Apple Silicon Your Fork in the Road? by Oliver Peters – ProVideo Coalition

A review of the first M1-powered desktop Mac.
Apple M1 Mac mini Review by Oliver Peters (fcp.co)

The experience of putting together a virtual holiday show.
Holiday Cabaret de Noël – Virtual Show Production in Final Cut Pro (fcp.co)

Working with the Simon Says Transcription service.
Oliver Peters Reviews Simon Says Transcription Service (fcp.co)

Check out my conversation with Kirk Baxter about cutting the Netflix film, Mank.
Kirk Baxter Talks Editing Workflow on David Fincher’s Mank – postPerspective

Pointers about mobile filmmaking with iPhone and Final Cut Pro.
Mobile Filmmaking with iPhone, FiLMiC Pro, and Final Cut Pro (fcp.co)