“The Day the Earth Stood Still” by Cinesite

  • ©Scott Derrickson  Cinesite


SIGGRAPH Video Review:




    The Day the Earth Stood Still


Company / Institution / Agency:

  • Cinesite


    In this sequence from “The Day The Earth Stood Still”, the US Army sends drone aircraft to attack the sinister robot Gort, who aims lasers at them and crashes them spectacularly into the ground.

    Aerial footage filmed from a helicopter in New York was re-sped to add dynamism and pace, and the original skies were regraded to create new lighting conditions. Animation of the Reapers was locked to the previsualisation, then the backgrounds were retracked and retimed to match. In some shots, the sky was tracked by hand in 2D. The clouds were generated in 3D in rough cycles, which were then added and tracked in 2D.

    Camera shake and weave were added to mimic a handheld helicopter look, and to give the sequence a sense of intimate realism. Thrusters and heat haze were also added in 2D and combined wtih some basic 3D passes (for example, wing trails).
    In the final, spectacular explosion shot, the 2D process was as follows:

    • Digital matte painting created for sky and New York buildings. Depth cueing and colour grading aided achievement of a photorealistic compositon.
    • Combining and compositing CG-created elements of the Reaper and the M1A1 tank.
    • Pulling a key for the foreground green-screen soldier and compositing him against the M1A1/DMP background.
    • Live-action explosion elements selected, colour graded, resped, and resized to work in time with the Reaper collision.
    • Creation and composite of eye beams animated in 2D with a 2D-created, tracked-in texture.
    • CG smoke trails were composited, colour graded, and blended seamlessly into the plate.
    • Camera shake was added.
    • The final composite was regrained.


    Maya, RenderMan, Houdini, 3DE, Shake, 2K reviews in Scratch

Additional Contributors:

    Director: Scott Derrickson

Animation / Video Overview: