Led by MPC Vancouver VFX Supervisor Mark Curtis and VFX Producer Laura Schultz, this was the third time MPC collaborated on the series, having previously contributed towards Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6 respectively.
MPC were awarded the final act of the movie - a thrilling chase through the heart of downtown Los Angeles.
As the action unfolds, we see our four main protagonists escaping the pursuing bad guys in their own distinctive cars: a Nissan GT-R driven by Bryan (Paul Walker), a Plymouth Barracuda driven by Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), a Dodge Charger driven by Dom (Vin Diesel) and a Chevrolet Caprice driven by Roman (Tyrese Gibson). All cars were recreated digitally for fully CG shots as well as over a hundred in-car blue screen composites, all under the watchful eye of CG Supervisor Bryan Litson.
As we follow our protagonists through the streets, a drone drops from the underside of a stealth helicopter above and erupts into quick pursuit, leaving a pathway of destruction in its wake.
A large portion of MPC’s work focused on the drone and Director James Wan wanted to create an enigmatic and malevolent character that would provide a constant but elusive threat to our heroes. To help conceive, MPCs Art Department - in partnership with Client Supervisors Mike Wassel and Kelvin McIlwain - drew inspiration from the US Military’s Global Hawk Drone, A-10 Warthog as well as WWII era Corsair and Helldivers.
Central to the design of the drone was its VTOL (vertical take-off and landing) capabilities. With rotating turbo-fan engines and oscillating thrust-vector nozzles, the drone was capable of hovering in one place as well as some extremely aggressive and unconventional aerial manoeuvres all of which were expertly animated by Animation Supervisor Catherine Mullan and her animation team.
In its pursuit of the heroes the drone utilized the full breadth of MPCs suite of FX tools including proprietary destruction software KALI. The result was over 100 shots augmented with complex FX simulations ranging everything from water, fire, smoke, and dust, to explosions and disintegrating vehicles, all created under the experienced eye of DFX Supervisor, David Seager and his team
Additional work focused on Bryan (Paul Walker) evading gunfire from the drone by seeking shelter underneath a jack-knifing truck laden with steel pipes. MPCs Animation team added 25 CG pipes to the back of the truck and subsequently sent them tumbling and pin-wheeling down the road. Tire smoke, shattered concrete, dust and sparks were later combined.
Furious 7 was released on April 3rd and has gone on to gross more than $1billion in the worldwide box office.