cg+news Master Interview – MPC on Robin Hood!

cg+news is happy to announce that next up in the cg+news Reader’s Choice Interviews is world renowned post production and visual effects facility The Moving Picture Company (MPC). This month you will have the opportunity to quiz overall VFX Supervisor Richard Stammer on MPC work on the Ridley Scott epic Robin Hood. Stammers worked closely with Universal VFX Producer Allen Maris to achieve a wide range of visual effects including CG armies, CG boats, digital environments and CG arrows.

The Moving Picture Company (MPC)
MPCleads the world in post production and visual effects for the Feature Film, Advertising, Digital and Television industries. Based in Soho – London, Santa Monica – CA and Yale town – Vancouver, MPC works on some of the most exciting commercials and feature films produced in the world today.

Recent and memorable MPC creative work has included spots and virals such as Nick Gordon Cadbury; Spots V Stripes,’s Michael Gracey Evian; ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Skating Babies,’s Audi, ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Beauty and the Beast’s for Sam Brown and the John Lewis ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Always a Woman’s for Dougal Wilson. Feature film work that MPC is proud to have worked on in past months includes; ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Prince of Persia,’s (Mike Newell) Robin Hood’s (Ridley Scott) and ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§Clash of the Titans,’s (Louis Leterrier) and they are currently revisiting earlier work on the next outings for both the Narnia and Harry Potter franchise.

Robin Hood
In 13th century England, Robin and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power. And whether thief or hero, one man from humble beginnings will become an eternal symbol of freedom for his people. (Universal Pictures, 2010)

Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and visionary Director Ridley Scott reunite for the untold story of the man behind the legend. In an age of oppression and shameless tyranny, an outlaw becomes the unlikely hero that saves a nation and inspires generations to fight for freedom. Scott Robin Hood is an adventurous tale of epic proportions, portraying the story of the man behind the legend that is Robin Hood?Ķ

MPC Work on Robin Hood
MPC completed 570 shots for Ridley Scott Robin Hood, creating a wide range of visual effects including CG armies, CG boats, digital environments and CG arrows. MPC Richard Stammers,the overall VFX Supervisor for the show, worked closely with Universal VFX Producer Allen Maris to achieve the finished results.

One of MPC main challenges was to create the invading French Armada and the ensuing battle with the English army. A CG fleet of 200 ships and 6000 soldiers were added to the 8 practical boats and 500 extras used in principal photography. MPC used Alice, its proprietary crowd generation software to simulate the rowing and disembarkation of French soldiers and horses, with all water interactions being generated using Flowline software. The defending English archers and cavalry where also replicated with CG Alice generated clips and animated digital doubles. MPC relied predominately on its existing Motion Capture library for much of Robin Hood, but a special mocap shoot was organised to gather additional motion clips of rowing, disembarking troops and horses.

MPC digital environment work was centred on two main locations; London and the beach setting for the French invasion and final battle. A combination of matte painting and CG projections were used to recreate the medieval city, which featured the Tower of London and included the original St. Paul Cathedral and old London Bridge under construction, in the city beyond. The production football field sized set provided the starting point for MPC to extend vertically and laterally, and in post production alternate digital extensions were also created to reuse the set three times as different castle locations. Each extension was a montage of existing castles chosen by Ridley Scott and production designer Arthur Max. For the beach environment, MPC had to create cliffs that surround the location, and were added to 75 shots.

MPC was also responsible for creating the arrows for various sequences on the film. Practical blunt arrows were used in production where ever possible, but most shots presented safety issues so digital arrows were animated instead. Arrows were added to over 200 shots, with 90% of these being handled by the compositing team using Shake and Nuke. MPC developed proprietary 2D and 3D arrow animation tools to assist with the volume of arrows required.

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

Your questions will be sent over to MPC Visual Effects Supervisor Richard Stammers.

The MPC Robin Hood ?‚àö√ë‚àö‚â§call for questions’s will be open for two weeks on VFXTalk, and will be closed at the end of working play on 12 October 2010. Follow this link to post your questions to MPC.

Related Links:
MPC Press release
MPC Podcast
MPC Breakdown

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