Picture Mill Delivers Explosive M:i:III Opening

After a jolting first scene, Picture Mill was asked to create an energetic title sequence that reminds the audience of the excitement of the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE franchise. Driven by a new rescoring of the classic Lalo Schifrin theme, the short sequence makes a bridge between the raw energy of the shocking first scene, and a scene that takes place several weeks earlier. The final sequence is a combination of high-speed fuse photography and 3D credits, seamlessly merged in a barrage of sparks, heat and fire.

‘[Director] J.J. Abrams had a rough notion of what he wanted the sequence to do, and serve the movie, but wasn’st quite sure how,’ recalled creative director William Lebeda. ‘We went through a long creative phase, exploring a number of directions ranging from CG fuses to composite shots of the actors and beyond.’

But the final design solution came from much simpler and direct methods. ‘We went and shot a fuse!’ added Lebeda. ‘I know it sounds so simple and obvious, but sometimes you have to take the scenic route.’

Picture Mill spent days on set, shooting a variety of fuses and spark elements using high-speed cameras. ‘There had been sparks and fuses from the other features and marketing campaigns, but we felt strongly, as did J.J., that brand new elements needed to be captured,’ says David Clayton, who designed and directed the sequence. ‘We wanted to get closer to the fuses and the ignition than had been filmed before. J.J. felt strongly about really seeing the fuse and seeing it burn?‚àö√묨‚àÇ for him, that is a key component to the M:I brand. So we set out to shoot the fuse in a commercial style, like a car or product.’

But the long design phase and special shoot left little time for editorial and final compositing of the titles with the newly captured fuse footage. ‘That part was exciting, in every definition of the word,’ suggested Keith Bryant, Picture Mill producer on the project. ‘We were getting animation tests of the 3D credits while Kye was cutting, while we were getting final music mixes from the stage. Exciting.’

‘The typography was an adventure in itself,’ continued Clayton. ‘J.J. really wanted to capture that old-school MISSION:IMPOSSIBLE feeling, with the slab serif, but still feel modern. And there was always the goal of interactively lighting the virtual type from the actual fuse footage. So as we were cutting, footage was going to 3D to light the titles. And if the plate changed, it caused a ripple effect. So we developed a technique that was more time-conscious, considering our intense deadline.’

Picture Mill credits include:
* Creative Director: William Lebeda
* Art Director: David Clayton
* Producer: Keith Bryant
* Designer: David Clayton
* Editor: Kye Krauter
* 3D Animators: Jose A. Ortiz Jr., Greg Reynard, Bryan Thombs
* 2D Compositing: Jose A. Ortiz Jr. Akemi Abe

Hollywood-based Picture Mill (www.picturemill.com) recent and upcoming projects include M. Night Shyamalan LADY IN THE WATER, THE ANT BULLY and the Legendary Pictures logo redesign.

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