Into the future with Alcon Entertainment's Blade Runner 2049, Territory Studio and Cinema 4D
By Duncan Evans
If there is one film from the last 40 years that was so far ahead of its time it still looks great today, it's Blade Runner. The seminal cyberpunk film, based on a Phillip K. Dick short story, featured ground-breaking visuals and a future more dark and moody than anything before. Back to the current day, and Alcon Entertainment's follow-up to Ridley Scott's 1982 masterpiece carried almost impossible-to-meet expectations, heaping pressure on all the VFX companies working on it.
For Territory Studio, it all started when Blade Runner 2049 Supervising Art Director Paul Inglis approached the company during pre-production. Peter Eszenyi, creative lead for Territory, explained the initial concept: “There was no specific brief at the outset. We went to Budapest to speak to Paul Inglis and Director Denis Villeneuve, who outlined what the film was about thematically and what the Blade Runner universe (some 30 years after the original) contained in terms of progression and context. We also talked about how technology could fit into that as a supporting narrative device, and how he felt that technology should look and feel in the context of the larger themes.”
The task then was to create graphics for a variety of different screens, from monitors in the LAPD office to inside the Wallace Library and Deckard’s penthouse. The team of six core members, scaling up to 10 when needed, worked from May to November, 2016, and produced over 100 original screens across 15 sets.
The end result of Territory’s work was terabytes of data and more than an hour of animated content that was delivered to production or distributed to the other VFX vendors for incorporating into their shots.
With such a challenging and high-profile project, Peter acknowledged that it was, “the ease of use and the speed and stability of Cinema 4D that allowed us to experiment whilst being able to keep to the tight deadlines.”
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All images courtesy of Alcon Entertainment and Territory Studio.