2023 Oscars: ‘Top Gun: Maverick’ VFX Odds

Saturday’s VFX bake-off raised the curtain on the significant role of VFX in the blockbuster sequel.

‘Avatar: the Way of Water’ is too much of a juggernaut to lose at the VFX Oscars – and lead VFX supervisor Joe Letteri of Wētā FX convincingly explained why it’s the front-runner at Saturday’s ‘roast’ at the Academy Museum ” during. where members of the Visual Effects Branch watched presentations and Q&As that will help determine the five nominees that will be announced on January 24th. Instead, the big question surrounding the category was whether or not “Top Gun: Maverick” had the right. things to nominate: Its VFX team, led by production supervisor Ryan Tudhope, was under a strict press break until the shoot.

That’s because the marketing campaign (with Tom Cruise as actor-producer and Joseph Kosinski as director) featured revolutionary practical aerial stunts featuring Cruise flying in the cockpit of Navy fighter jets. It was always the intention of Paramount and the ‘Maverick’ team to wait for the shortlist submissions to finally provide the obligatory three-minute behind-the-scenes reel (with before-and-after comparison), 10-minute clip reel and effects. descriptions to be eligible for an Oscar. This prevented Tudhope from giving an interview explaining the key role of the additional VFX – which totaled 2,400 shots (mainly from Method, now part of Framestore) – and how it was seamlessly integrated into the exciting aerial sequences. News of the filmmakers’ involvement in VFX or detailed BTS footage has been highly anticipated, but completely lacking; Ahead of Tudhope’s presentation, the best source of information on the scope of VFX work within “Maverick” — from CG airplanes to digital removal of jet pilots — there was this reddit thread.

This kind of lengthy embargo is highly unusual, especially for a summer blockbuster heading to the VFX shortlist, and IndieWire has learned that it frustrated not only the “Maverick” VFX team, but also some members of the VFX industry. Of course, the immersive photography—helmed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, who pioneered the use of the innovative Sony Rialto Camera Extension System—takes precedence when you get in the cockpit with Cruise and co. But that perception is all it was practical, a mere myth.

When the big moment arrived on Saturday, Tudhope pulled back the curtain: the BTS reel included numerous aerial shots, air-to-air tests, digital reskinning textures to make one fighter look like another, g-force shots and examples. the digital pyro. This was followed by a well-edited clip reel that incorporated a high degree of photorealism and IMAX-level visuals into the training maneuvers and the seemingly impossible bombing mission.

Tudhope and his team then fielded questions from Visual Effects Branch President Rob Bredow (Executive Creative Director and Head of Industrial Light & Magic), Visual Effects Branch Governor Brooke Breton (co-producer of “Avatar”) and Visual Effects Branch Governor, By Paul Debevec. (Director of Research at Netflix). Shot planning for frenetic energy and clarity, camera track lighting, plate photography, CG explosions and simulations were covered in more detail.

Was it enough to convince voters to nominate “Maverick”? At the reception after the cooking, the consensus was yes. One member told IndieWire that “especially for photography work, the effects were effective.” Another member said the clips reminded them of “how thrilling it was to see the film last summer with a paying audience who roared all the way through.”

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