Executive Producer Julian Levi and Previs Supervisor Duane Floch offer pre-production services, including previsualization and visual development, to the film industry from MPC LA.
The Santa Monica studio is a hub for MPC's global facilities. Whether work is being produced in London, Vancouver, Montreal, or Bangalore, India, it comes together and is presented in Santa Monica. The facility features an MPAA approved previs artist workspace and a screening room with 3D stereo, HD, and 2k projection, offering 2k synced reviews, TVIPS video feed, and polycom video conferencing.
MPC’s involvement in projects starts early in the production. MPC collaborates locally with directors and VFX supervisors who can then further utilize the MPC team in all other phases and locations of production (whether on location or at an MPC site in Santa Monica, Vancouver, Montreal, or London).
We won’t create anything in previs that can’t be recreated on the day of the shoot. We stay true to scale and use real-world camera moves and lenses. Our work reflects the visual aesthetic of the Director and the DP with regard to composition, timing, shooting style and what is physically possible.
Each shot is approached in the context of the surrounding shots and the overall arc of the sequence. MPC previs artists output 3-5 shots per day focusing on storytelling, timing, blocking and continuity. The previs artists work together in dailies sessions, editorial reviews, and ongoing collaboration to build the overall sequences.
Our work serves as a first pass in the layout phase of visual effects production. The work we produce will withstand the rigorous demands of any final vfx vendor’s production pipeline; on films where MPC is the previs and finals vendor, we closely collaborate with our visual effects supervisors, layout and animation leads to design and execute a large variety of challenging visual effects shots.
Our workflow is predicated on the idea that our previs will be used in a finals pipeline - ideally in our London, Vancouver or Montreal facilities. The goal is for our work to be used as a cost-saving first phase of finals VFX work. For Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters we folded our third-act postvis into the VFX pipeline in London, working alongside with our London VFX supervisor and layout team. The same happened in Vancouver for Night at the Museum 3. The process is ongoing for our current projects: the Finest Hours, Man of Steel, Goosebumps, Terminator: Gensys and Jungle Book.
We have a dedicated previs development team that’s constantly adapting tools from MPC finals to work in the previs environment so there’s no need to create everything from scratch. We’ve developed proprietary workflows for Maya, Photoshop, Nuke, and After Effects. Our tools facilitate naming conventions, directory/database structure, character rigging, and animation import/export.
Different levels of previs aid different stages of a production, starting with traditional previs for blocking based on the script and the storyboards. It doesn’t have to look polished - just enough detail to clarify cameras, blocking, and story. Then there’s pitchvis, in which animation, rendering and audio are fine-tuned so the director has a polished product to show the studio. Next is techvis - where critical technical data is extracted from the previs to facilitate the shoot. Finally, there’s postvis in which previs elements are comped into the plates to fill the cut and inform the final vfx vendors. We have MPC’s Bangalore facility available for roto and match-move allowing our postvis team to focus solely on story, animation, and compositing.
MPC Film creates previs and postvis from it’s office in Los Angeles and travels its talent and “previs in a box” technology to locations around the world when needed. These networks easily integrate with production servers and networks to facilitate data-sharing with all departments. We often complete postvis while embedded with editorial on a studio lot, allowing for quick turnarounds on any needed revisions.
When previs is split between multiple locations (a common occurrence when we deploy an on-site team yet maintain support in Santa Monica), we seamlessly integrate the workflow between sites for a cohesive look and feel. Assets, environments, props, characters and animation cycles - are regularly updated and shared from either location and daily phone calls and cineSync sessions between locations is a standard part of our process.
Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Night at the Museum 3
The Finest Hours
The Jungle Book