AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON to Mark Marvel’s Highest VFX Shot Count

     October 20, 2014

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According to Marvel’s VP of Visual Effects and Post-Production, Victoria Alonso, Captain America: The Winter Solider had 2,500 VFX shots and Guardians of the Galaxy came in with 2,750.  You know how many Avengers: Age of Ultron may have?  More than 3,000, making it Marvel’s largest VFX count to date.  In order to make that happen, the studio will likely have to team up with seven to 12 VFX vendors in five to seven different countries.

Hit the jump for more on the Age of Ultron post-production process and Alonso’s thoughts on the new bill to increase tax incentives for filming in California.

avengers-age-of-ultron-chris-evans-chris-hemsworthWhile at the Visual Effects Society Production Summit, Alonso discussed the “Marvel process.”  According to THR, she called it “ever flowing” with collaboration, beginning with “story and visual development.”  She further explained that the story begins with the comics and then the studio devises “ideas for how to make it better for the film medium.”

That’s when Alonso jumped into the scale of Avengers: Age of Ultron.  With all of those VFX shots, Marvel needs multiple VFX vendors involved and Alonso finds that working with vendors in different countries will help them make a better film.  She noted that they “sometimes have ideas that we don’t have.  That’s what we gain by being global.”

Alonso went on to highlight the need to “strive for honesty” during this part of the filmmaking process:

“I have a pretty good nose for BS, and when I find it, it’s going to be a bad conversation.  Sometimes, vendors cover their butts too much.  I don’t want to hear the excuses.  If you don’t have enough rendering power, just tell me.  There’s no issue that we can’t fix together.  Vendors are partners to me.  I want to have open communication.  The minute there are excuses and lies, it’s over.”

Alonso also offered a little advice for folks in the business:

“Don’t let your ego get in the way.  [The Marvel process] is mostly that we forget who we are and focus on the story.  Go track, go rig, the journey will get you there.”

avengers-age-of-ultron-aaron-taylor-johnson-elizabeth-olsenIn addition to this massive VFX endeavor, Marvel is also pushing to improve the immersive sound they’ve already incorporated into a number of films.  Alonso revealed that the studio is on the hunt for new technology that could allow them to achieve things like a higher dynamic range.  However, she also confessed that Marvel “likely won’t be the first out of the gate” with that advancement.  You’d think first is best, but Alonso’s approach makes more sense:

“We are looking for proven systems.  Are we going to have theaters that can handle these capabilities … or are we doing it for 10 theaters worldwide?”

Alonso also had a little something to say about women in the business:

“You’ve got to get the girls in here, boys.  It’s better when it’s 50-50.  I have been with you beautiful, handsome, talented, creative men in dark rooms for two decades and I can tell you those rooms are better when there are a few of us in them.  So as you take this with you, please remember that it’s OK to allow the ladies in.  They’re smart, they’re talented.  They bring a balance that you need.”

When Variety asked Alonso for her thoughts on a female superhero movie, she told the outlet:

“If it were up to me, it would be today.”

So how does she feel about the fact that Warner Bros. beat her to it and announced the Wonder Woman movie for 2017?

“We have so much pressure internally for everything we do, we don’t need outside pressure.  We are always so hard on ourselves.”

Avengers: Age of Ultron hits theaters on May 1, 2015.

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