cg+new Interviews Double Negative on Iron Man 2

September 2010 sees the return of the cg+news Master Interviews where the cg+news community present questions on the latest VFX film & tv work to the best VFX artists in the industry. Over the next year cg+news guarantee a number of fantastic opportunities for their members to speak with respected digital artists on some visually thrilling cinematic masterpieces; including Robin Hood and Inception!

cg+news are excited to announce that kicking off the series is world leading production facility Double Negative on their work for the comic book adventure ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Iron Man 2’s. The long awaited superhero sequel was directed by Jon Favreau, and the Double Negative team worked under the direction of overall VFX Supervisor Janek Sirrs.

Double Negative
Since its formation in 1998, Double Negative has firmly established itself as a leading player in visual effects production worldwide, and boasts more than 70 feature films to its credit. Located in the heart of London Soho, the company is led by Managing Director Alex Hope and CEO Matt Holben. Recent Double Negative film work includes: Inception, Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time, The Wolf Man, Kick-Ass, Sherlock Holmes, 2012, The Green Zone, Angels & Demons, Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, The Boat that Rocked, Fast & Furious, John Carter of Mars, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World and Attack the Block.

Iron Man 2
Director Jon Favreau and Oscar nominee Robert Downey Jr. were reunited for the highly anticipated sequel to the blockbuster film based on the legendary Marvel Super Hero ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Iron Man’s. In ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Iron Man 2’s the world is aware that billionaire inventor Tony Stark is the armoured Super Hero Iron Man. Under intense pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military, Tony is unwilling to divulge the secrets behind the Iron Man armor because he fears the information will slip into the wrong hands.

(View trailers here!)

Double Negative ?Äì The Monaco Sequence
The Dneg team, under the supervision of Janek Sirrs, completed around 250 shots in the Monaco sequence which begins with Tony Stark’s arrival in Monaco for the Grand Prix.

Tony Stark owns one of the cars competing in the race and he decides to get out onto the track and race the car himself. As the race unfolds Ivan Vanko Whiplash, disguised as an official, walks out onto the track and activating his lethal electric whips, he slices both the lead car and Stark in two.

Stark’s driver, Happy Hogan and former PA, Pepper Potts witness the attack on TV and jump into Stark’s Rolls Royce, driving onto the track and weaving through the oncoming race cars. Stark manages to crawl from the wreckage of his car as more cars pile up on the track. Whiplash closes in on Stark, slicing several more cars until Stark is trapped, surrounded by flaming wreckage. The Rolls Royce screams around the corner and slams into Whiplash, pinning him against the barrier. As Stark opens the car door to get in, Whiplash recovers and starts slicing the Rolls Royce into pieces.

Pepper manages to throw Tony a high-tech suitcase containing his lightweight, portable Mark V Iron Man armour. Stark activates the suit transforming himself into Iron Man, and takes on Whiplash in a manic struggle, with eventually the Ivan Vanko character coming off second best.

DNeg’s work on the Monaco sequence fell into three broad categories: Race-day Monaco and Grand-Prix, the Whiplash Attack; and Stark Mk V armour and suit-up.

Re-recreation of Race-Day Monaco, Crowds & Historic Grand-Prix Cars
DNeg created two highly detailed digital versions of each of the eleven cars which feature in the Historic Grand Prix race through the Monaco streets. Five art-department cars were built specifically for the Monaco sequence and six genuine vintage grand prix cars were brought in to make up the rest of the grid. The non-digital cars are only seen static on the starting line before the race begins.

Throughout the entire Monaco sequence sprite crowds and practical crowd elements were used to populate the Monaco stands and buildings, with CG agents used to break up the sprite crowd and perform any specific actions.

Whiplash’s Electric Whips and Associated Damage & Destruction!
Producing a look for Whiplash’s whips and the damage they cause to the cars, racing track and Iron Man himself, was a considerable challenge for the DNeg team. Drawing a parallel with the creation of the Mk I Iron Man suit in the previous Iron Man movie, the Whiplash rig is homemade and somewhat rough around the edges.

One of the most complex VFX tasks undertaken for the movie was creating the interaction of the whips with Iron Man. This ‘Thermite’ effect required a combination of all other ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§whip VFX’s to generate the smoking, molten metal that streams from Iron Man when the whips are wrapped around him.

Mk V Iron Man Armour and Suit-up
Some of the greatest technical and creative challenges on Iron Man 2 came from the 50 shots at the end of the sequence featuring the Mk V Iron Man ‘suitcase’ armour. This portion of work posed a couple of unique challenges, firstly the conceptual challenge of making the deployment and assembly of the armour plausible, and secondly the choreography of the close-quarters fight with Whiplash and Iron Man’s interaction with a live-action performer to whom he’s directly connected for much of the fight. The notion that Stark would have designed the Mk V to be as easy as possible to use led to the idea that the case can be deployed whilst still on the floor, so when Stark lifts it to his chest the armour is already partially formed.

Speak to the DNeg Team!
If you would like the chance to question the DNeg team about their work on Iron Man 2 then head over to VFXTalk and post your questions in the forum. Learn the thoughts behind the process, the difficulties that the DNeg team encountered, how shots were realised; and find out which finished elements they are the most proud of.

Your questions will be sent over to Visual Effects Supervisor Ged Wright, 2D Supervisor Victor Wade, and co-CG Supervisors Jordan Kirk and Katherine Roberts.

The Double Negative Iron Man 2 ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§call for questions’s will be open for one week on VFXTalk, and will be closed at the end of working play on Monday 6 September 2010. Follow this link to post your questions to Double Negative.

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Image Credits:
Iron Man 2, the Movie: © 2010 MVL Film Finance LLC. Iron Man, the Character TM & © 2010 Marvel Entertainment LLC & subs. All rights reserved.

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