/News 25.03.19


Luma Pictures, the renowned independent studio, joins forces with Marvel Studios to construct thrilling and captivating sequences in the studio’s latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Captain Marvel.

The film, directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, tells the highly anticipated story of Carol Danvers as she becomes one of the universe’s most powerful superheroes when Earth is caught in the middle of a galactic war between two alien races.

Luma’s biggest contribution to the film is the sequence titled “French Connection,” which depicts Carol Danvers (Brie Larson) fighting atop a moving LA Metro train against a Skrull who has taken the form of an unassuming granny and who later shifts into a middle-aged man. Simultaneously, Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) and Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) race through the streets below to keep up with the train by car. While the train appears to speed by at a rapid pace with the characters fighting on top, it’s Luma’s VFX magic working behind the scenes.

Luma VFX Supervisors Kevin Souls and Brendan Seals were tasked with keeping the sequence linear and successive. While the setting appears to be continuing down the tracks in a singular location in 1990s Los Angeles, the scene was actually shot in four different locations throughout the streets of LA The sequence travels through West LA, East LA, and eventually moves towards Downtown. “Chris Townsend, the overall VFX Supervisor, mentioned that Marvel Studios wanted the sequence to be done by a studio who had an office in Los Angeles, so that if we needed to, we’d be able to access the real world location for reference,” said Souls.

At the start of the action sequence inside the moving train, Carol punches an elderly woman (a Skrull in disguise) in the face, but rest assured, no grandmothers were harmed in the making of this scene. Luma photomapped the face of a granny onto the stunt actor’s body and added detailed paintwork to create the recipe that induced a jaw-dropping audience reaction. “We got a kick out of doing this,” said Souls, “once the trailer released, we received a lot of funny reactions.”

The fight then escalates to the top of the moving train. Given the inherent danger of filming this scene, all footage of the fight was captured with Larson and stunt actors with a bluescreen backdrop and a stationary train. Luma’s VFX team mixed both actions of the actors, and for more complex action shots, Luma created a completely digital version of Carol. For safety reasons, the real-world camera was placed just above the train tracks, so the Luma team needed to refilm that scene from a higher angle to recreate the height of the train. “Every scene taking place on top of the train was either a 2D or 3D recreation,” recalled Seals.

To achieve a consistent and realistic moving background, Luma created a CG train to plan the layout within LA, which helped determine the speed of travel and the speed of objects moving in the background. Luma constructed poles, powerlines and other mid-distance objects completely in CG by hand painting the images in array footage. The array footage was then projected onto geometry to match the alignment between the foreground and background.

Captain Marvel exhibits Luma’s continued success in utilizing detailed techniques and proprietary technology to bring suspenseful and thrilling sequences to life.

Other Ausfilm members that provided services to the Captain Marvel production: Animal Logic (Sydney) and Rising Sun Pictures (Adelaide).

The Sydney Morning Herald published an article on the amazing work these Australian companies did, read more here.