Open discussion about ILM and the magic they create. Also VFX and movies in general. Anyone can post topics here.

Moderator: malducin

#33978
Ian at vfxblog recently talked to Christopher Horvath about the killer wave sequence from Deep Impact on the film's 20th anniversary.

https://vfxblog.com/deepimpact/

This was Mimi Leder's big feature follow up to 1997s The Peacemaker after years directing television(numerous classic episodes of ER for one) and ILM was the primary fx provider for the film.
In particular, the interview focuses on the killer wave sequence that drowns New York City after a killer comet strikes. The one shot Ian points out is the overhead shot looking down on the top of buildings as people scramble on the rooftops for safety. Watching this film in the theater twenty years ago, this was perhaps the most successful of all the vfx shots and looked exceptional at the time. And as good as it was, many of the other wave shots did not look as good. Some of the wave shots crashing inland into mountains as people fled to higher ground simply did not work on the big screen. They looked very rough. But, this water work was still in its infancy and things improved over time.
My favorite shots of the entire film were of the comet turned meteor flying through the skies as people fled on motorcycles and cars.
Give the interview a look as they talk about this film twenty years later and what it meant for water work going forward.

A little side note: Horvath mentions his first job at ILM was working on Brian DePalma's Snake Eyes(vfx supervised by Eric Brevig). That film had a scripted and shot hurricane sequence that destroys a pier. ILM worked on water work for that film too, but it was cut almost entirely out of the film. You can still see vestiges of it in the film with the high winds causing a large globe to roll on a street and people mentioning the storm.
#33981
I was supposed to cover SNAKE EYES for CINEFEX, but Ellen at ILM told us flat-out that it wasn't worth covering. Don't know if they already knew most of it was cut or not.

I was always frustrated by the DEEP IMPACT article because it was just me given less than a week to build an article from somebody else's interviews, so I could only go to stuff that was covered on the tapes I had to transcribe. I do remember liking the approaching the ground shots and a lot of the spaceship work (it is still the only time I think anybody has depicted the nuclear-pulse drive that was considered and abandoned for 2001, based on the real Project Orion, which was a spaceship farting nuclear bombs behind it for propulsion. Sounds nutso, but apparently you could build up to something like 40 percent of lightspeed doing this over a period of some years, and it would have opened the solar system up to exploration in our lifetime.
#33982
Kmart wrote:I was supposed to cover SNAKE EYES for CINEFEX, but Ellen at ILM told us flat-out that it wasn't worth covering. Don't know if they already knew most of it was cut or not.

I was always frustrated by the DEEP IMPACT article because it was just me given less than a week to build an article from somebody else's interviews, so I could only go to stuff that was covered on the tapes I had to transcribe. I do remember liking the approaching the ground shots and a lot of the spaceship work (it is still the only time I think anybody has depicted the nuclear-pulse drive that was considered and abandoned for 2001, based on the real Project Orion, which was a spaceship farting nuclear bombs behind it for propulsion. Sounds nutso, but apparently you could build up to something like 40 percent of lightspeed doing this over a period of some years, and it would have opened the solar system up to exploration in our lifetime.


Yeah the space shots in Deep Impact were really good too. Was Project Orion a nuclear fission thing?
#33983
Yeah, a nuclear pulse drive using mini atomic bombs that went off behind the ship, with x-rays from the blast pushing against the back end of the vessel, driving it forward. I don't remember if it was fifty bombs per minute or 5 per second or what, but it just sounded crazy. The nuclear test ban treaty in 1963 effectively killed it, but the British Interplanetary Society came up with a fusion version with pellets of deuterium being detonated in a chamber by some kind of beam, called DAEDULUS, that would have enabled an unmanned vessel to go to another star system in 40 years.

ORION was the thing that Kubrick was enamored of for a stretch during 1965, which drove then-fx supe Wally Gentleman crazy, since they were basically blinding the shooting crew with strobes in an otherwise black stage.

I may have to look at DEEP IMPACT again, just to watch the space scenes. I remember taping them off the laserdisc back when I still had more than 3 vhs tapes -- currently I just have my wedding, LOOKING FOR MR GOODBAR and GIRL WITH GREEN EYES -- and referencing them a lot (had a lot of SPACEHUNTER shots on that same tape -- it was 2hrs solid of various spaceship shots, my original starship porn collection.)
#33984
There is a space shot in DI I remember where a piece of rock from the comet breaks off and smashes into the top part of the ship. The space shots and characters on the comet rock were some of the best in the film.

This movie was like the anti-Armageddon. Not as over the top and much more restrained than Bay's movie.
#33986
I still vividly remember Deep Impact at the cinema :eek:

Great experience (current Bluray is not too bad either!). DTS sound especially was incredible :eek: Those space scenes had some ear shattering bass (back in the era where the SPL was not limited to under 104db prevent people complaining its too loud!). Also had some emotional (deep!) impact when her parents (Tasha Yar of TNG of all people!) were left behind to their fate & the newswomen & her child were given the helicopter to safety ride by Tea Leoni's character so she could share a beach moment with her estranged father :(

But I do not remember the CG waves looking out of place at all on the big screen. The end fireworks after the comet had exploded looked a little odd compositing wise they clearly ran out of time but the actual waves looked pretty good to me back then!

This movie was also loosely based on the 1951 George Pal produced classic When Worlds Collide (Spielberg probably still owns the rights to this he bought It years ago but has still not developed into a movie). I love these end of the world movies where governments get found out & the human greed aspects are played for all their worth. Michael Bay would be the perfect choice if Spielberg ever gets to produce his remake :wink:
#33987
Kmart wrote:Yeah, a nuclear pulse drive using mini atomic bombs that went off behind the ship, with x-rays from the blast pushing against the back end of the vessel, driving it forward. I don't remember if it was fifty bombs per minute or 5 per second or what, but it just sounded crazy. The nuclear test ban treaty in 1963 effectively killed it, but the British Interplanetary Society came up with a fusion version with pellets of deuterium being detonated in a chamber by some kind of beam, called DAEDULUS, that would have enabled an unmanned vessel to go to another star system in 40 years.

ORION was the thing that Kubrick was enamored of for a stretch during 1965, which drove then-fx supe Wally Gentleman crazy, since they were basically blinding the shooting crew with strobes in an otherwise black stage.

BT (British Telecom - main UK broadband internet provider here due to their ongoing monopoly on exchanges & copper wire lines!)) actually part funded this research back in the 1970s I believe. I remember reading several interesting articles at the time where they said you could get up to 1\12th the speed of light in theory but the big issue was not being allowed to launch a rocket with a nuclear reactor onboard :(

Fascinating stuff though & shows the scientists of that era were way more romantic & ambitious than the current ones (must have been all the Jules Verne, George Pal & Chesley Bonestell influences from their youth :D ).
#33988
PaulILMFan wrote:Great experience (current Bluray is not too bad either!). DTS sound especially was incredible :eek: Those space scenes had some ear shattering bass (back in the era where the SPL was not limited to under 104db prevent people complaining its too loud!). Also had some emotional (deep!) impact when her parents (Tasha Yar of TNG of all people!) were left behind to their fate & the newswomen & her child were given the helicopter to safety ride by Tea Leoni's character so she could share a beach moment with her estranged father :(

But I do not remember the CG waves looking out of place at all on the big screen. The end fireworks after the comet had exploded looked a little odd compositing wise they clearly ran out of time but the actual waves looked pretty good to me back then.
This movie was also loosely based on the 1951 George Pal produced classic When Worlds Collide (Spielberg probably still owns the rights to this he bought It years ago but has still not developed into a movie). I love these end of the world movies where governments get found out & the human greed aspects are played for all their worth. Michael Bay would be the perfect choice if Spielberg ever gets to produce his remake :wink:


I don't mean the big hero waves that take out the city. Those were very good, especially the overhead one noted by Ian in the article. There was that goofy underwater one though with the buildings and the Statue of Liberty head bouncing around. But the waves that really just did not work for me on the big screen were the ones crashing through the mountains as the two kids try to outrun them. I distinctly remember those in particular that just seemed off. By the way, why do movies always have people capable of outrunning elements like water, fire, lava, they would have zero ability to outrun in real life? Oh wait, it is the movies. :P

I do know that Stephen Sommers circled Spielly's When World's Collide for a while back in the early aughts. This was post The Mummy Returns.