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.
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)
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’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.