Director George Miller’s unexpectedly fantastic “Mad Max: Fury Road” has been touted as a triumph of so-called “practical” visual effects over CG, but that’s not exactly the whole story. In this extensive article on the effects work in the film, visual effects supervisor Andy Williams says:
I’ve been joking recently about how the film has been promoted as being a live action stunt driven film—which it is. But also how there’s so little CGI in the film. The reality is that there’s 2,000 VFX shots in the film. A very large number of those shots are very simple clean-ups and fixes and wire removals and painting out tire tracks from previous shots, but there are a big number of big VFX shots as well.
Actually, the way I think about it is that Miller’s film demonstrates a new maturity in the hybridization of practical and computer generated effects, one in which both disciplines are respected. The net result is so much more satisfying than most films that lean so heavily towards one or the other end of the spectrum because “Fury Road” audiences simply can’t tell what’s computer-generated and what’s not, so seamless is the result. Put another way, everything was believable. That’s what you want in movies, right?
The article underscores this dynamic by detailing many of these VFX pieces and comparing the original plates (i.e., what was captured in camera) with the final shots, enhanced with supplemental computer visualization and color grading. A few of these are not surprising, e.g., Charlize Theron’s prosthetic forearm, but others are quite revealing. The whole article is fascinating and doubly entertaining as yet another opportunity to think about how tremendously awesome this movie was. Go see it if you haven’t seen it yet, and then read the full article at fxguide.com.