The RSP shots for “Hawkeye” hit the mark

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Rising Sun Pictures (RSP) produced nearly 200 visual effects shots for the Marvel Studios series Hawk Eye, which is streaming on Disney+. The studio’s work included reproducing an actual New York City neighborhood seen outside of an apartment where much of the series takes place. Rendered in extraordinary detail, the urban exterior is seen in daytime and nighttime contexts and in varying weather conditions, including a snowstorm.

Based on the Marvel Comics, Hawk Eye stars Jeremy Renner as Clint Barton/Hawkeye who, with the help of a young protege, Kate Bishop (Hailee Steinfeld), confronts enemies from his past who show up in New York just before Christmas. The series, which also stars Vera Farmiga, Fra Fee, Tony Dalton, Zahn McClarnon, Brian d’Arcy James and Alaqua Cox, is helmed by Rhys Thomas and director duo Bert and Bertie.

Visual effects for the series were directed by visual effects supervisor Greg Steele and visual effects producer David Masure-Bosco. The RSP team was led by visual effects supervisor Dennis Jones, compositing supervisor Neill Barrack, CG supervisor Kieran Ogden-Brunell, VFX producer Amy Tinker, and executive producer Meredith Meyer-Nichols.


     


Hawk Eye is a fun, family-friendly action series that provided RSP with plenty of opportunities to apply his expertise in seamless visual effects. “We had a compact and very focused team and an innovative pipeline. This allowed us to work efficiently, maintain continuity, deliver high quality shots and meet tight deadlines,” says Jones.






(left: plaque; right: NYC added exterior window)


RSP’s main task was to replicate a section of New York visible from Kate Bishop’s Aunt Moira’s apartment and place it in the windows of a practical set used in the live production. The digital environment is made up of 2D and 3D elements and includes dozens of buildings and other landmarks familiar to New Yorkers. “We provided over 250 degrees of coverage, working from photo data captured at the hands-on location,” says Barrack. “We turned it into a cyclorama where we could place a camera and shoot from any angle and match any movement. We added cars, lights, people and other appropriate details to every scene where it appears.

The urban backdrop was used in three of the show’s six episodes. Composers adjusted lighting and added atmospheric effects to match the time of day and weather conditions of specific scenes. “We added snow showers to all the nighttime shots by adding hundreds of thousands of snowflakes,” Barrack explains. “We also added water droplets and condensation to nighttime windows.”

Designed as an invisible visual effect for viewers, the background environment had to be applied with finesse and attention to detail. “The challenge was to make the cityscape look photographic and cohesive throughout,” observes Barrack. “The environment is used multiple times in multiple episodes and it should be the same each time. If two characters are having a conversation and the camera moves back and forth, the view behind them should be consistent and constant.


    





RSP was also loaded with an effect related to one of the series’ most beloved characters, pizza-loving golden retriever Lucky. The artists replaced one of the dog’s eyes to make it appear stitched. The challenge here, Barrack says, was to make the digital element feel like a natural part of the real dog. “Dog behavior is unpredictable and involves a lot of micro-movements,” he explains. “The eye area is of course covered in fur, all of these details should be replicated as the dog shakes his head and moves around.”

RSP’s CG department contributed a scene in which Clint teaches Kate a new trick for turning on a television by tossing a gold coin. The scene suddenly cuts to extreme slow motion and the room turns around in record time. “We ran the animation at the provided 96 frames per second and fitted it to a background plate shot at a high frame rate,” says Ogden-Brunell. “We worked in slow motion, which allowed us to control the animation and then stick precisely to the editorial curve. We could bring it back in real time anytime.

Presented with a long list of plans and firm deadlines, RSP developed new ways to work quickly without sacrificing quality or artistic integrity. Barrack’s compositing team, for example, used a modular workflow that allowed artists to work with the same shots without interfering with each other’s work, and quickly generate versions without requiring a full render. “It helped us stay ahead of the game,” Tinker recalls. “We delivered a lot of the work before the deadline. Everything was very simple. »

Meyer-Nichols says RSP also benefited from strong direction from Marvel’s production team. “They were fantastic,” she says. “They are absolutely clear on creative expectations, deliveries, projections and deadlines. As a result, our team was able to focus on what we do best, shooting great photos.


 

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