Sunday, June 2, 2013

Scenic Sculpting :: After Earth (2013)

I worked on this Will Smith / M. Night Shyamalan film from Nov 2011 - Mar 2012 on location in Philadelphia. Learned a lot and will be seeing the finished film myself in the coming week or two.

Ursa Pod. An organic looking cage to hold the beast.

We built two pods at the same time. Hollowing out the two large egg forms and adding all the details. The pristine one is pictured above, pre-crash. The fractured version, post-crash, is below.

This is a 24' vertical shaft where the actors race up toward the surface away from  danger. It had to have a completely removable corner quarter to allow for lighting and cameras.
Exterior face and entrance to the main cave.

Sample of rock formations in the top photo (from Iceland I believe) and how we free-sculpted the texture and style of rock for the cave exterior.
Me laying out the cave shown on the blueprint above.
The narrow cave near finished. This one had tight passageways that forced the actors (and the sculptors while making it) to duck, twist, and turn sideways when navigating from one end to the other. Like most set pieces, it needs to have modular wall sections that can slide in and out to allow for lighting and camera angles. The decks in the top photo had 14' tall walls added as an example .
Organic bone shapes of the crashed space ship. We developed a set of 3 sized and angled ball joints and legs which were cast in flexible foam and then cut to wrap the various diameter and compound curves of the steel tubing making up the structure of the ship.
Early stages of the cockpit of the spaceship. Foam overlapping steel. This entire structure was placed on a gimbal to allow for aggressive tilting and shifting of the entire ship during flight/crash.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Scenic Sculpting :: Django Unchained (2012)

I sculpted this tooth as a set piece for Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained" at the Melody Ranch Studios in Santa Clarita, CA. Along with this, I helped the lead sculptor create faux logs for the interior/exterior of a log cabin that was built at the studio, then dis-assembled, shipped, and re-assembled in the mountains near Big Bear. Unfortunately no shots of that one, so you'll have to look for it in the movie!

The styrofoam tooth and a shot of it installed (from a photo of the wagon now on display at local museum post-filming)
Big Nick, the plaster foreman, minus a big molar.
The Wild, Wild, Santa Clarita, CA!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Scenic Sculpting :: The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Worked with a small team of sculptors for 6 weeks on the Batcave for Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises". This portion of the film was built and shot at Sony Studios in Culver City. It combined traditional set building using stick & lathe and plaster with newer techniques using styrofoam which offers a lot of flexibility, changeability to the sets while shortening the lead time to get it built.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Scenic Sculpting :: Mirror. Mirror (2011)

Worked on this project for 6 weeks in Montreal during the summer of 2011. We had a small team from Los Angeles leading a very eager and capable group of local sculptors and artists. I saw the film about a month ago and the tree where the 7 dwarves live got a lot of play in the movie...which is not always the case. We built the exterior tree as one set, and the interior tree as a separate one. And all of these had to be modular for reasons you'll see in the pics below. It's a blending of art and engineering and filmmaking.

This was the Dwarf Tree In its finished state. About 20' tall, and 50'+ from end to end.

Modular top of the tree...had to be able to take it down to sculpt the inside.

And to put it back up on a base to get the height that was needed.

And once the top and base were established we could start making the roots

Moving this was modular to sculpt, but also to fit on a trailer to ship to the soundstage about a mile away.

And voila! In place, reassembled and coated and ready for paint (another union handles both those tasks)

Would you believe this is actually one piece of foam? The rock part serves as a support to hold the tree at its sharp angle.

Had to show the bark texture we carved, and the further transformation of styrofoam with a great paint job (and fake moss!). Movie magic at its finest!

This is a shot of the set for the tree interior. The entire root system can be moved in/out to allow the cameras and lights to to do their thing.

Inside the tree!

Sculpting overhead is never easy!

In front of a large wall section that was once totally blank, and that turned into a giant wall of roots.

The finished wall relief.


Thank you, Montreal!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Scenic Sculpting :: Thor (2009-10), Cowboys & Aliens (2010)

Worked from October 2009 to February 2010 with a big team of union sculptors on this Marvel offering. Main work was on frost giant lair in Jotunheim, the Asgard Vault, and Asgard Gate/Rainbow Bridge. At one point, we had two crews working 24 hours a day to meet some shooting deadlines. 

Jotunheim, View from the Ice Flow


Jotunheim (Green Screens Rolling In)

Jade Palace with Ice

 Crew on the set for some perspective

 Asgard Gate

 We sculpted the shape of "frozen lightning" in foam pictured here, which was then covered with a clear resin. The foam was then removed and...voila, frozen lightning shape.

Cowboys vs. Aliens
Worked with a team of union sculptors from July to August 2010 on this film. Main work was on the alien caves and the alien mothership exterior (not pictured).

Alien Caves / Universal Studios

Alien Caves / Universal Studios

Alien Caves / Universal Studios

Freestanding "stone" columns

A little perspective for the scale of the caves.

Scale Reference Model

Alien tunnels (Daniel Craig wiped out quite a few of them in here)

Just another early morning in an alien job is pretty cool!