Monday, October 03, 2016

VFX Performance Enhancement

Actors in Westworld have gotten a little digital help.

Westworld takes place in a twisted theme park populated by incredibly lifelike androids and presided over by their morally compromised human creators. It can be hard to tell which characters fall into which categories until something breaks, which is where the computers come in. There are subtle tricks — twitches, stalls, inconsistent expressions — used to show what happens when robots perfectly designed to imitate humans malfunction and artifice can no longer obscure their nature. ...

In the first episode in which Old Bill, a first-generation robot at the park, drinks with Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) [the performance] wouldn’t have been possible without significant editing. Old Bill is rickety and moves like a looped Pirate of the Caribbean at Disneyland. While actor Michael Wincott has years of experience bringing characters to life, the VFX crew had to step in to help him give a believably “fake” performance.

“We changed his performance entirely, but it’s really subtle,” Worth says. “We gave him these little stopping and jerking things, his eyelids and hands and arms and how he moves. ...

With the heightened reality every self-respecting big-budget screen extravaganza is expected to deliver in the current era, it's unsurprising that Westworld 2016 have moved several leagues past Westworld 1973. Did it occur to anyone to put James Brolin into the Anthony Hopkins role? Would have presented a nice echo to an earlier, simpler time.


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