Tell us a little about your work on Yogi and the challenges it posed?
Yogi was the first stereo movie for Rhythm and Hues. We had to adapt our equipment as well as the pipeline. We could no longer "cheat" as we had often done (for example; adding simple planes to complete geometry without modeling it entirely). The fact that we had to render through two cameras (one for each eye) to create depth and relief required that we accurately modeled each object: ground, mountains and trees etc, and then place them accurately in space.
Our department worked primarily on three sequences: the opening sequence, Yogi's flying machine sequence (all the sky, ground and mountain environments) as well as the river pursuit. It was a pleasant experience and everything went really well. Seeing one's own work in depth and relief through 3D glasses was really enjoyable.
Can you talk us through the Narnia shot with the collapsing pit and explain the process and techniques you used to produce the sequence?
For this shot, the FX department gave me the geometry making up the inside of the pit and the animated ceiling collapsing in several pieces. The "ground" part of the matte painting covered the meadow and the inside of the pit. So the camera projection encompassed all parts at the same time and each part that collapsed needed to keep its allocated texture piece. We asked developers to add this feature to their projection software. We had another camera viewing the pit from below, adding dirt to the "underground" sections of these pieces.
It appears that you had "carte blanche" over the fireplace scene in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. What were the most demanding aspects of this shot?
I would say the head integration and interaction with the fireplace. We had animated plates that we had to assemble like a jigsaw puzzle (logs arrangement, flames etc) to achieve the desired design and angle and, as a result, an animated matte painting. From this one, we made a model of the fireplace and projected the texture onto it. We then had to blend in Sirius's CG head: texture, animated embers,