“Wētā FX Presents The Batman” by Veitch and Yoo

  • ©Beck Veitch and Dennis Yoo




    Wētā FX Presents The Batman


Project Affiliation:

    Wētā FX


    The Batman is the 19th appearance of the Caped Crusader in film, and as such, director Matt Reeves needed to find a new angle for the titular hero. The film’s thematic styling takes its cues from seventies noir crime thrillers like The Conversation, Roman Polanski’s Chinatown and Alan J. Pakula’s acclaimed Paranoia trilogy. The result is a brooding, ominous tone befitting the Gotham City setting and reflective of Reeves’ emotionally complicated version of the Batman in his early years as a crime fighter. This look and feel was the pervading influence on Wētā FX’s approach to the VFX.
    Wētā FX’s work includes striking scenes in Gotham City, the Batmobile launching through flames in a chaotic car chase, and a novel approach to lensing and in-camera effects. Compositing Supervisor Beck Veitch presents the work alongside Animation Supervisor Dennis Yoo.
    Their biggest and most complex scene was the Batmobile Chase sequence—the climax of the second act where Batman is chasing down Penguin in a torrential downpour. Plates shot on several different locations (a notable one being the Dunsfold Aerodrome in the UK, which is well known as the Top Gear track) were augmented with trucks and other vehicles, and the end of the sequence is entirely CG. Dennis Yoo will describe the intensive process of post-vising the action to work out timing, composition and action beats, and share his team’s fresh approach to adding torrential rain to dry sets on a tight timeline.
    Practical cinematography was driven by DP Greg Fraser, who utilised things like sodium vapour and fluorescent light sources to add a malevolent, sickly feeling to the photography, and customised lenses that create interesting distortion effects in the defocused backgrounds and double imaging. Beck will explain how these in-camera effects were recreated in comp, and how she took a practical approach to lens flares that appear as caustics bouncing off water drops stuck to the camera.
    Beck and Dennis also talk through the production of two major environments–the Batcave, an abandoned neo-gothic subway, and the City Hall, where the mayor’s funeral is gate-crashed by an unlucky victim.


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