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An Inside Look at How MPC Crafted Visual Effects for Oscar Nominee 'Napoleon'

2024-02-12
Trending | Top News
VFX

The film 'Napoleon' has made a strong showing in the 96th Academy Awards (The Oscars 2024) nominations recently announced, receiving nods for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, Best Achievement in Production Design, and Best Achievement in Costume Design. In addition to this, the film was also nominated for four awards at the 2024 EE BAFTA Film Awards, including Best Achievement in Special Visual Effects.

A visual spectacle from the exquisite lens of director Ridley Scott, 'Napoleon' is an intense action epic, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the formidable Napoleon Bonaparte and Vanessa Kirby as his wife, Joséphine Bonaparte. The film roughly encapsulates Napoleon's journey to the helm of French power, both militarily and politically, while providing a deep examination of his volatile relationship with his wife Joséphine.

Image from MPC

Image from MPC

In pursuit of unparalleled realism, the filmmakers ventured to shoot on location, utilizing authentic sets, horses, and props whenever feasible. But it's not enough. Under the capable supervision of Production VFX Supervisor Charley Henley and MPC VFX Supervisor Luc-Ewen Martin-Fenouillet, the MPC team flawlessly executed 250 shots for this cinematic masterpiece. Recreating the monumental battles led by Napoleon demanded intricate coordination between SFX and VFX, truly showing the word 'epic'.

One of MPC's most challenging tasks was to meticulously recreate the historic Battle of Waterloo for the film. With expertise and precision, MPC's skilled artists constructed expansive environment extensions for both the French and British camps. Going above and beyond, they also “brought to life” the entire Napoleonic armies, with every rank accounted for, from drummers to generals. 60 unique costumes were faithfully reproduced using actor scans to achieve a diverse and realistic visual. With remarkable attention to detail, MPC digitally rendered marching and charging armies, including the majestic cavalcades, amplifying the epic scale required for this biographical film. Additionally, the MPC VFX team injected further realism into the scenes by incorporating simulated rain, stormy cloud plates, compositing patched sunlight moving across the landscapes, SFX-generated elements of smoke drifting through the frame and flags fluttering in the wind.

According to MPC, in addition to footage of the Battle of Waterloo, they also remade sequences of the Tileries Palace, Moscow (including Red Square,) and the Siege of Toulon. For a more in-depth understanding of their work, MPC's informative VFX breakdown reel for ‘Napoleon’ can be viewed below.

Source: MPC


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