The drama unfolds across a series of high energy sequences and character moments as Thomas leads the Gladers through their final and most dangerous mission. To make sure the film never loses its fast paced, live-action feel, we used state-of-the-art approaches to creating almost 700 VFX shots portraying escalating action in a gritty, post-apocalyptic world.
The high-speed train chase in the opening act is a classic ‘train heist’ sequence. Our execution of it is reminiscent of old-fashioned ‘rear projection effects’—an old technique executed in a brand new way. The character action was shot on location, but with static vehicles and green screens. It was up to the visual effects team to integrate the live footage with a digital, high speed, dynamic environment, full CG train, train tracks, vehicles, vehicle motion FX interactions—everything that put the static shoot into motion.
The Last City needed to be huge but detailed enough to exhibit parallax as the camera swept past a window. By leveraging the instancing capabilities of Weta’s propriety renderer Manuka, Weta’s VFX team devised a new technique to dress and light the interior of every room in the city, rather than relying on 2D projections. They created a new suite of tools with the ability to adjust lighting and set dressings to fit the mood of each shot at any time of the day.
We are constantly developing world building techniques that mimic real-world physics. For the fiery city destruction in the final sequence, we created FX simulations with our proprietary software that allowed us to create different types of fire depending on what material was burning. Each simulation was designed to realistically react to external forces, including how each building would collapse or disintegrate.