News 30.06.22

MADE IN AUSTRALIA: THOR:LOVE AND THUNDER

Marvel Studios Thor: Love and Thunder has made its impact Earthside and does not disappoint!

Filmed at Fox Studios Australia and locations around Sydney, Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Love and Thunder” finds the God of Thunder (Chris Hemsworth) on a journey unlike anything he’s ever faced — one of self-discovery. But his efforts are interrupted by a galactic killer known as Gorr the God Butcher, who seeks the extinction of the gods. To combat the threat, Thor enlists the help of King Valkyrie (Tessa Thompson), Korg (Taiki Waititi) and ex-girlfriend Jane Foster (Natalie Portman), who — to Thor’s surprise — inexplicably wields his magical hammer, Mjolnir, as the Mighty Thor. Together they venture out on a harrowing cosmic adventure to uncover the mystery of the God Butcher’s vengeance and stop him before it’s too late. 

The film is directed by Taika Waititi from a screenplay by Waititi and Jennifer Kaytin Robinson. Produced by Kevin Feige and Brad Winderbaum, “Thor: Love and Thunder” opened in cinemas on July 7, 2022

Thor: Love and Thunder was attracted to Australia with financial support from the Australian Government’s Location Incentive program. The production was also financially supported by Screen NSW’s Made In NSW – International Footloose Fund. It also received on-ground assistance from Screen NSW’s Production Attraction Team, which works closely with productions scouting and filming in NSW.

VFX and editorial services were provided out of New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. Four of Australia’s leading visual effects studios delivered stunning VFX underpinned by additional financial support for post, digital and VFX incentives provided by the South Australian Government via South Australian Film Corporation and the Victorian Government via VicScreen.

MADE IN NSW

NEW SOUTH WALES HELPS TAIKA WAITITI’S VIVID RE-IMAGINING OF THOR COME TO LIFE IN SYDNEY!

New South Wales was the perfect location to bring the production to life with its myriad of locations, world-class sound stages, post and VFX studios, expert crews and broad talent pool.

“What sets this movie apart is that, at its heart, it’s a love story”

Brian Chapek Executive Producer, Thor: Love and Thunder.

“We’ve seen Thor grow so much over the years. After the events of Avengers: Endgame, we started to see cracks in his armour. He started to feel some ownership over all the people he’s lost in his life.” Chapek mentions, but if it’s villains, creatures and a whole lot of thunder and lightning you are after, Waititi and his team deliver on this too.

“Christian as Gorr was mesmerising. He does that thing that Marvel villains do so well, which is that you see their villainy comes from pain, from some unprocessed trauma,” says Tessa Thompson, who plays King Valkyrie in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Thor: Love and Thunder feels similar to ‘Ragnarok’ in terms of tone and style, but we wanted to double down on how vibrant and crazy the worlds are and the situations we put Thor in,”

Taika Waititi, Director, Thor: Love and Thunder.

To truly immerse the actors in the worlds created by Waititi and his team, Thor: Love and Thunder employed new technology, The Volume, which surrounds the actors in a 360-degree digital environment, rather than positioning them against a blue or green screen. Digital landscapes are completed to around 90% and then fine-tuned with live-action elements. Thor: Love and Thunder is the first MCU production to employ this technology.

“This was an incredible opportunity to expand upon the universe that we’re creating,” said Brian Chapek, Executive Producer on Thor: Love and Thunder. “It allows you to create fully immersive worlds and to create a seamless effect between the real world and the digital world.” 

Another wonderful aspect of Waititi’s Thor: Love and Thunder is the weaving of his own Maori culture and that of Australia’s Indigenous people into the film. This is reflected on screen in the characters and in aspects of the design, and behind the scenes in giving a number of young Indigenous filmmakers the opportunity to shadow Waitiki on set.

Thor’s magnificent cloak was designed by Australian Indigenous Artist, Otis Hope Carey.

LOCATIONS & LIFESTYLE

Sydney is known as a place of great beauty, world-class cast, crew, facilities, and cultural and geographical diversity. Paired with having a world-class facility like Fox Studios Australia, the ingredients Sydney has to offer are a recipe for perfection, enabling a production of this scale to come to life in New South Wales (NSW).

“I think one of the highlights for us in shooting [in Sydney] is that you have a variety of locations … you go an hour this way, you go an hour that way and you’re at the beach, you’re in the mountains, you’re in the city, so it has everything you need to create a very globetrotting feeling movie,” said Brian Chapek, Executive Producer, Thor: Love and Thunder.

But it’s often Sydney’s welcoming, “can-do” attitude that leaves a lasting imprint on filmmakers:

“Without exaggeration, Australia is my favourite place that I have ever shot, and I’ve been all over the place. The people are so welcoming, so warm and they’re just such an amazing group of skilled crew.”

Brian Chapek, Executive Producer of Thor: Love and Thunder

Thor: Love and Thunder was financially supported by Screen NSW’s Made In NSW – International Footloose fund. It also received on-ground assistance from Screen NSW’s Production Attraction Team, which works closely with productions scouting and filming in NSW.

For information on filming in NSW, please contact the Screen NSW Production Attraction Team:
Cheryl Conway, Manager, Production Attraction, Screen NSW
[email protected]
Cell: + 61 419 279 215
www.screen.nsw.gov.au

View the Screen NSW Showreel here.
View NSW’s Locations Reel here.

THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER, THE LARGEST FILM TO SHOOT AT THE EXPANSIVE FOX STUDIOS AUSTRALIA

The state-of-the-art Fox Studios Australia provided nine sound stages plus support facilities including production offices, steel, plaster and construction workshops, art and costume craft shops, dye rooms and post-production facilities.

With a wide range of industry experts on the lot; world-class service and advanced facilities, Fox Studios Australia delivered a true end-to-end offering.  

Fox Studios Australia hosted the feature film from August 2020 through to the production wrap in 2021.

“I’m blown away by everyone, no matter who they were, no matter what department they were in, just the attention to detail and dedication. These are very hard things to make and everyone just walked around with a smile on their face. I’m incredibly grateful for the people here, because you can’t make a movie without them.”

Brian Chapek, Executive Producer of Thor: Love and Thunder

VFX IT IN AUS

FIN DESIGN + EFFECTS TRAVEL TO THE SHADOW REALM FOR MARVEL’S THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER

FIN teamed up with Marvel Studios, VFX Supervisor Jake Morrison and VFX Producer Lisa Marr to deliver 100 shots across three sequences for Taika Waitiki’s Thor: Love and Thunder. “It was definitely a feeling that lightning strikes twice for us when Marvel called with a brief to deliver a colourful journey through space for the show,” says Stuart White, FIN’s VFX Supervisor.

“Having worked previously with Jake and Taika on Thor Ragnarok there was a definite feeling in the studio of getting the band back together!”

Stuart White, FIN’s VFX Supervisor

Spread across three sequences, FIN’s work follows the journey of a group of children imprisoned in a living cage by the film’s main villain Gorr, as they are being transported to the forbidding Shadow Realm.

“Our work began with concept art and look development to establish just how the space surrounding the moon and atmosphere should appear. Our look development process encompassed many varying options before settling on an asteroid flying amongst colourful nebulas,” explains White.  CGI environments, 360-degree multi-layered matte paintings and a mountain of intricate compositing work formed the backbone of the 100-shot effort, until the arrival of a wildcard. “At the eleventh hour, a full CG creature from the shadow realm was added into our shots. Shadow-Octi’s literally off-the-wall performance with Gorr soon became the crew’s favourite contribution to this humorous outing with everyone’s favourite God of Thunder.”

FIN has a history of producing complex story-focused sequences for Marvel Studios, says FIN Head of Visual Effects, Alastair Stephen. “This is the largest body of work we have undertaken for a Marvel film and we are humbled by the trust the Marvel Studios team has in us,”

“It’s always an incredible creatively fulfilling ride to be working on one of Taika’s films and working with the cool, calm and collected Jake, Lisa and the entire production team, was a fantastic experience.”

Alastair Stephen, FIN Head of Visual Effects

“We’re really proud of what our awesome crew was able to achieve, and we’re grateful to the team and Marvel Studios for having us along for the ride,” Alastair concludes.

About Fin

Fin is a boutique design and VFX company based in Sydney, Melbourne, Shanghai and Los Angeles. Established in 2001, Fin is home to Australasia’s most highly awarded, close-knit team of VFX artists, designers, and producers.

Fin’s collective experience allows them to approach all projects with an individually tailored process. With the converging digital landscape, Fin strives to be continually placed at its forefront. Fin possesses unique flexibility, paired with a passion and energy to foster creative partnerships and collaborate with clients.

Contact Alastair Stephen
Head of VFX, FIN
Visit Fin

INDUSTRIAL LIGHT AND MAGIC’S LED VOLUME OPERATORS ON THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER

Industrial Light & Magic provided a purpose-built StageCraft LED volume for Marvel’s Thor: Love and Thunder in Fox Studios’ iconic Stage 1. The ILM StageCraft technology is the culmination of many years of development and was first deployed for the Lucasfilm television series The Mandalorian. For Thor: Love and Thunder, ILM created 12 different fantastical environments.

“It was great fun bringing these fantastical worlds to life and being immersed in them on a daily basis. Taika created a great working atmosphere that kept everyone fully engaged, entertained and on their A-game!”

Frazer Churchill, ILM VFX Supervisor

WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE ON THE PROJECT?

Frazer Churchill: “I was ILM’s VFX Supervisor for the StageCraft Volume, so it was my job to work with our content creation teams in San Francisco, our stage team on the floor in Sydney, as well as the filmmakers; Taika Waititi, Baz Idoine the Cinematographer, Jake Morrison the Production VFX Supervisor and Nigel Phelps the Production Designer to make sure the content was ready for the stage, blended seamlessly with the practical sets and produced optimum results in-camera.”

Rosalind Stratton: “I was ILM’s Associate Producer for the Volume. As well as managing the day-to-day of our Brainbar team, I worked with Marvel’s visual art department, Marvel’s production teams and ILM’s content creation teams in San Francisco to make sure we were ready for shoot days and the filmmakers had enough time to review and pre-light content prior to shooting.  On-set production already has so many moving components and complexities and then you throw in a giant StageCraft LED stage so it was essential to create strong lines of communication with the established on-set departments so we could deliver a positive filmmaking experience for all involved.”

CAN YOU TELL US A BIT MORE ABOUT THE STAGECRAFT TECHNOLOGY ILM PROVIDED ON THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER?

Frazer Churchill, VFX Supervisor: “ILM provided its virtual production technology service StageCraft for the film. StageCraft incorporates an immersive LED wall stage that wraps around a full 360 degrees and has an LED ceiling, it has motion tracking cameras installed and is also known as a ‘Volume’. As well as providing the stage hardware, software and crew, ILM also provided the content for the stage. By content, I mean the digital sets that are displayed on the stage walls.

The idea behind StageCraft stems from a basic dissatisfaction with the green screen process. In the past, if you wanted your actors to appear on an ice planet you could either fly them to Iceland and shoot them there, or you could shoot them on a green screen stage and then add the ice planet in later. What we can do with StageCraft now is build the ice planet in CG in pre-production and then on the day of shooting, display it on the walls of the LED stage. The art department builds a practical piece of set in the centre of the stage, the light from the LED walls lights the actors and the practical set; the digital and practical sets merge seamlessly together and because StageCraft is tracking the movements of the camera, the digital set moves in perspective as the camera moves. The effect is a complete immersion in the environment,  what you see through the camera is close to, if not your final image.” It allows filmmakers to operate in a very familiar manner giving them the creative control and freedom to make organic decisions while shooting that would otherwise have to wait weeks or months in a traditional greenscreen stage scenario.

“We had the most incredible team, everyday we were working on something new with a different set of challenges and everyone encouraged and supported each other so well. Taika and his team created beautiful worlds and to see the practical sets and CG content blend so seamlessly was seriously impressive. Also watching the Volume be filled with thousands of litres of water one day, then mountains of real snow the next was pretty cool!”

Rosalind Stratton, Associate Producer

“Being able to build and run the Volume for Taika’s team on Thor provided ILM with a fantastic opportunity to collaborate creatively on the production and it also enabled the collective team to really move the needle with virtual production skills and experience here in New South Wales which will only help future projects. ILM brought in some seasoned virtual production veterans to work alongside our local team, and the knowledge sharing was spectacular ”

Luke Hetherington, Executive in Charge, ILM Singapore & Sydney studios

Contact Luke Hetherington
Executive in Charge, ILM Singapore & Sydney Studios
Visit Industrial Light & Magic

LUMA, BRINGING THE SHADOWS TO LIFE

Over the past twenty years, Luma Pictures has made a name for itself as a VFX studio with a signature talent for creature design. This skill has only been furthered through the company’s most recent work in Marvel Studios’ latest film, Thor: Love and Thunder.

Because of their long-standing relationship with the superhero giant, Marvel knew Luma was the best choice for the task: bringing to life Christian Bale’s villain Gorr the God Butcher’s pivotal Shadow Monsters, which happened to be designed by the filmmakers and cast’s children.

The creature design in the film came from a brilliant stroke of inventiveness by Director Taika Waititi, who asked his own daughter to draw a scary creature from her imagination. The drawings were handed off to the in-house viz dev team, led by Andy Park, to create fully realized concepts, which were then passed along to Luma and rendered into a 3D animation. The team realized that nothing could produce fantastical and otherworldly creatures quite like the imagination of a child. The producers then asked all the children on set – a group that included Waititi and Chris Hemsworth’s children as well as the kids of some of the producers, crew, etc. – to reach into the corners of their imaginations and come up with other concepts for the art department to turn into the shadow demons. 

Helmed by VFX Supervisor Andrew Zink, Luma then stepped onto the scene, inheriting these brilliant concepts and helping to take on the honour of bringing these children’s wildest dreams to life. Zink and his team created bespoke creatures for everything from life-like background shots to distinguished hero and action shots. These creatures play a prominent role in the film, notably when Gorr first appears during the big fight when Natalie Portman’s Mighty Thor gets re-introduced on screen.  They have been a major conversational lightning rod for fans and critics since the film was first screened. 

In addition to the shadow creatures, Luma Pictures made major contributions to the creation of The Mighty Thor (even going so far as to create an ultra-viral hero reveal).

They were also the team behind creating and demonstrating the new power wielded by Thor’s mighty hammer Mjolnir, in which the weapon splits apart and flies like high-velocity bullets. This combination of work on both the illustrious shadow creatures and one of the film’s main heroes makes Luma’s contributions to the film and artistry invaluable. 

Luma Pictures is honoured to continue deepening its long-standing relationship with Marvel Studios and to have contributed to such a unique process on this record-breaking film.

Contact Shauna Bryan
Executive Producer of VFX
Visit Luma Pictures Melbourne

RISING SUN PICTURES LEAPS INTO THOR: LOVE & THUNDER

Rising Sun Pictures’ latest collaboration with Marvel Studios is its most expansive in scope and visually stunning. The studio delivered almost 300 visual effects shots for Thor: Love and Thunder, including its sensational opening and closing scenes, and the curiously named Goat Boat Space.

Marvel’s fourth Thor movie, Thor: Love and Thunder finds the hammer-wielding hero (Chris Hemsworth) facing his greatest challenge in the supervillain Gorr the God Butcher (Christian Bale). Working under the direction of production VFX Supervisor Jake Morrison and VFX Producer Lisa Marra, RSP’s team of more than 150 artists across three locations was led by VFX Supervisor Dan Bethell (who also served as Main Unit VFX Supervisor) and Senior VFX Producer Ian Cope.

RSP was involved in the project from the beginning, assisting in a range of tests, developing visual effects concepts and devising technical solutions for the complex on-set shoot. “It gave us a good understanding of the whole show and helped build a unique collaborative relationship with the filmmakers,” says Bethell.

Setting the tone for the film, the opening sequence reveals Gorr and his daughter wandering in a desert. Artists augmented the production imagery (shot on a set in Sydney) with environment extensions and dust and sand simulations and enhanced Gorr’s practical make-up to create his disturbingly emaciated look.

Gorr arrives in an oasis where his god Rapu is celebrating. RSP created the digital oasis, filling it with plants and trees as well as magical Flower Gods, composed from effects-driven flowers. “Rapu wore an elaborate costume on set,” recalls Bethell. “Our team extracted his facial features and replaced the remainder of him digitally. The character went through several iterations to ensure his look fit with Gorr’s performance and the oasis environment.”

Early on in the film, we witness the legend of Thor montage and get to see baby Thor. This was RSP’s most challenging task. The baby was a digital version of a Marvel executive’s child, created through character animation and artificial intelligence. “The advantage of this technique over standard ‘deep fake’ methods was that the performance is driven by animation enhanced by a learned-library of reference material,” explains Cope. “The result is a full-screen, photo-real Baby Thor storming into battle.”

This sequence also features flashbacks to some of Thor’s previous love interests and Thor taking on a robust exercise routine to get rid of his ‘Dad bod’.  In true Thor style, the workout includes battle chains (from a skeleton cave), pulling a spaceship and throwing a giant boulder. For these shots, RSP enhanced or replaced the background.

In another significant sequence, our heroes travel through space in a boat pulled by goats, on a bifrost path that’s conjured by Stormbreaker. RSP’s work involved creating Stormbreaker’s effects as well as the Goat Boat Space environment, including a pod of Space Dolphins.

In another scene, on a mystery planet, we see our heroes save a village from the evil P-Rex. In a tour de force effort, RSP created the scene entirely in CG. “It includes crowds, environments, effects simulations and lightning,” notes Bethell, “live-action actors were used for most of the scene, but in some instances, we replaced them with full or partial digital doubles with AI-enhanced faces.”

RSP was proud of the creative partnership in writing a new chapter in the legend of Thor. “For years, I’ve enjoyed creating previously unimaginable visuals with Rising Sun Pictures, but on Thor: Love and Thunder they’ve truly raised the bar,” concludes Jake Morrison. “This film is a wildly unprecedented journey across the galaxy with an insane amount of VFX. RSP’s shots literally start and end the movie – with plenty in between. If that doesn’t show complete trust in the team, I don’t know what would!”

Contact Jennie Zeiher
Head of Sales & Business Development, RSP
Visit Rising Sun Pictures

AUSSIE VENDORS

CATO LOCATION SERVICES PROVIDE UNIT MANAGEMENT

CATO provided unit management services for Marvel’s Thor: Love & Thunder. CATO thrives on problem solving and collaboration, and providing last-minute unit management for the highly anticipated Marvel production was no exception.

CATO’s Managing Director Kieran Cato worked as Unit Manager on set, with Unit Operations Manager Kara Eggleston in the role of Assistant Unit Manager. The crew were also supported by two experienced CATO Unit Assistants, a CATO unit vehicle and a coffee van. By increasing efficiency and helping to keep everything running smoothly on-set, CATO provides services that help to reduce the overall cost of production.

CATO’s role on set is to meet every challenge with a seamless solution in order to keep the cameras rolling! 

Visit CATO Location Services

FOX LIGHTING, SHINING A LIGHT ON THE GODS

The dedicated Fox Lighting team provided an extensive range of high-quality lighting equipment on Thor: Love and Thunder. With a wealth of industry experience, the team supplied:

18k Pars & Fresnel
24k Dino
12k Dinette
Arri M90/M40
Big Bees
Kinoflo Image 80/85’s
30k Maxi Pods
35mm Dichroic Lens Kits

Arri Skypanels
Kinoflo Freestyle LED
Litemat Spectrum LED
99k Lightning Strikes
Grand MA2 Lite
RDM Iso Opto
DMX Cable
Rigging

2.4K Dimmer / Switches
Frames & Textiles
Power Distribution Systems & Cabling
Long John Silver Stands
Crank Stands
Cable Ramps
_

Contact Helen Baruch
Client Services, Fox Lighting
Visit Fox lighting

AIR-TIGHT AERIAL CINEMATOGRAPHY WITH HELIGUY

Heliguy provided the aerial perspective across all the epic setups across Sydney on Thor: Love and Thunder. The aerial cinematography specialists filmed live-action sequences on the main unit, stunt set-ups on the second unit and drone assets for VFX components.

A standout location was the huge battle scene on the beach at Kurnell in the south of Sydney, flying low through the smoke and capturing the armies charging across the sand.  The Sydney team used their Heliguy custom-built Turbine heavy lift drones with Panaspeed lenses on the Arri Alexa mini LF. 

The Heliguy crew responsible for capturing the high-action scenes:

Drone Operators: Guy Alexander and Alastair Smith
Drone Camera Operators: Nathan Richards and Ewan Donnachie
Drone Assistants: Camilo Jimenez and David Svec

Contact Guy Alexander
Founder and CEO, Heliguy
Visit Heliguy

PANAVISION, PROVIDING TOP CAMERA EQUIPMENT

Always a reliable source of top-of-the-line tools to capture, Panavision provided camera and lens equipment for the production of Thor: Love and Thunder.

Contact Paul Jackson
Managing Director, Panavision Asia
Visit Panavision Asia

MOVING THE MOVIE STARS WITH SHOW GROUP

As the Travel logistics specialists, Show Group made it easy for the cast and crew to be exactly where they needed to be. Providing the smoothest travel solutions is Show Group’s forte.

Contact Sasha Sherman
Head of Sales, Show Group
Visit Show Group

SPECTRUM FILMS, POST AND EDITORIAL SERVICES

Based on the beautiful tree-line Fox Studios Australia complex, state-of-the-art studio Spectrum Films provided full editorial services throughout 2021 including supplying multiple Avids, screening room facilities and post-production offices at their new purpose-built production suites.

Spectrum Films’ suites were constructed adjacent to the main Spectrum Films office on the Fox lot. Spectrum Films also provided ADR mixing services for key talent in Australia using Source Connect to link the dialogue teams remotely to the Director in various locations worldwide.  

“Being able to house our full editorial team, ADR and screening rooms within a secure facility on the Fox lot was a dream come true! Allowing for swift access from the stages to the post team. Spectrum Films has nailed what the international studios expect.”

Danielle Daly, Post-Production Supervisor

Contact Catherine Armstrong
General Manager, Spectrum Films
Visit Spectrum Films

SOUTH AUSTRALIAN FILM CORPORATION

The South Australian Government provides an incentive for post-production and visual effects completed in South Australia through its 10% Post, Digital & VFX (PDV) Rebate, with Rising Sun Pictures working on this film. 

Contact Julie Ryan
Production Executive 
Visit South Australia Film Corporation incentives page

VICSCREEN

VicScreen supported Thor: Love and Thunder through the Victorian Screen Incentive, with Melbourne VFX studio Luma working on the production.

Contact Joe Brinkmann
Manager Production Attraction Support, VicScreen
Visit VicScreen

WITH THANKS TO