Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer and Animation Director Erik De Boer Talk LIFE OF PI at the VES Awards

     February 6, 2013


Shortly after Ang Lee’s Life of Pi opened, a friend of mine called wanting to talk about the film.  After hearing how much he loved the movie, he then revealed something that surprised me: he didn’t know Richard Parker (the name of the tiger) was CG until the ending credits.  While I was extremely impressed with the visual effects in Life of Pi, I had no idea people might believe a CG tiger was real, and it’s a testament to how far the industry has come in terms of VFX.  It also explains why after talking to Visual Effects Supervisor Bill Westenhofer and Animation Director Erik De Boer on the red carpet at the VES Awards last night, the film went on to win four awards including Outstanding Visual Effects in a Visual Effects-Driven Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; Outstanding FX and Simulation Animation in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture; and Outstanding Compositing in a Feature Motion Picture.

During my interview with Westenhofer and De Boer we talked about the collaboration process with Ang Lee, the one shot in the film that they worked on until the very last second, how people believe the tiger is real, and future projects.  Hit the jump to watch and if you missed my interview with Lee at the VES Awards, click here.

Bill Westenhofer and Erik De Boer Time Index:

  • :20 Talk about the collaboration process with Ang Lee.
  • 1:01 What was the one shot that they worked on until the very last second? Talk about the whale jumping scene.
  • 1:36 Talk about people telling them they had no idea the tiger was CGI after seeing the movie.
  • 2:06 Future projects. Say they’re bidding on a couple of projects, one of which may involve water and animals.

For more VES Red Carpet Interviews:

life of pi poster

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