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Ready Player One Inside the Oasis

Digital Domain (DD) handled principle motion capture and over 300 visual effects shots outside the Oasis. Their team was headed by Digital Domain VFX supervisor Matthew Butler. In addition, Scott Meadows, Head of Visualization at DD was the previsualization supervisor on the whole film and Gary Roberts handled the motion capture.

DD not only worked with 35mm film plates, scanned by the production at Warner Bros., but the live action was shot anamorphically, making tracking and vfx decidedly different from the clean computer generated world inside the Oasis. The lenses were all mapped individually (down to the their serial numbers). DD built a complex model of each lens across the range of f-stop and focus, and this helped enormously with tracking and matching the renders for compositing. A small number of elements were shot digitally, such as the destruction of the stacks was shot on the Alexa, as it had a taller aspect ratio which would allow for later reframing. DD matched the Alexa footage to match the film footage. With a film camera, DD got no meta-data from the camera, so Butler made sure everything was meticulously recorded on set.

In a pivotal sequence converging the real and virtual worlds, Sorrento invites Parzival to a meeting, and then transports him instantly to his office in the form of a hologram. Butler explains, “So you have Wade’s avatar manifested in the real world. We had to be consistent with ILM’s design of the character while giving it a holographic appearance. We’ve all seen holograms and there is an expectation of what that’s going to look like. As a visual effects person, you don’t want to be derivative, but at the same time, you want the audience to recognize what it is. Coming up with something fresh was a tricky thing to solve, but I was very happy with how it came out.” As was the director. "Digital Domain accomplished one of the greatest effects in the entire picture,' Spielberg attests. "The work they did with the hologram was amazing."

FX Guide: Ready Player One Inside the Oasis