“The footage had a lot of noise since it was shot at night, and the CG had to match the plates,” says Tylevich. “A lot of time went into gamma and colour adjustments to make sure the CG looked like it was part of the environment.”
One of the TV programmes shown is 7th Circle, a banal game show where a contestant has to answer multiple choice questions from a sinister host – with the ever-present implication that if she gets a question wrong, something nasty will happen to her.
In keeping with the game references of the other films, both the host and Oracle hologram are played by actors from the game – with the Oracle’s 3D model (below, bottom) being based on a 3D scan of the actor’s head (below, top).
“The idea was to take something that exists and is familiar, and alter it in a few ways, so that it suddenly appears sinister and absurd,” says director Alexei Tylevich.
“With the animated cloud of topics surrounding the platform, which really provide the set design, I wanted to move away from a Minority Report-type of a virtual data display towards something that would appear physical, with design flourishes and typography made out of metal – something that would go with the idea of the Inferno as imagined by a TV-show art director.” Tylevich describes the style as “not modernist, almost kitsch – bordering on bad taste.”
Logan had to look beyond the Red camera for two spots. The slow-motion sequences in the spots ‘for’ Otselotovaya Khvatka and Pieuvre Armement were captured using the Phantom HD camera, which can capture 2,048-x-1,080-pixel frames at up to 1,000fps.
The Otselotovaya Khvatka spot is Tylevich’s favourite. Otselotovaya Khvatka is a Russian PMC and the spot taps into the country’s history of heroic struggles against almost overwhelming odds.
At its core is a hand-to-hand fight between two cyborgs, which Tylevich describes as “a bleak vision of centuries-old conflict between the state and its enemies”.
They are surrounded by the trappings of Russia’s military history: Mongol horsemen seizing the city of Suzdal in the 13th Century, a flight of military helicopters evoking the war in Afghanistan, and famous buildings such as the aborted Palace of the Soviets – the construction of which was terminated when Germany invaded in 1941, with much of it torn apart to build fortifications against the German army.
To create the piece, actors were shot against a large green screen, suspended on wires that gave them the freedom of movement to fight acrobatically in mid-air. The CG elements were created in Maya, and then composited in Flame and After Effects.
“I think it works both in and out of context of the game. As a subject matter, it’s something that is close to me,” says Tylevich, who was born in the then Soviet Union, “which may be the reason why it feels coherent visually and conceptually.”
Logan has succeeded in creating a series of pieces that both introduce and expand on the world of Metal Gear Solid 4. To achieve this, Logan’s team was in constant contact with Kojima throughout production and post for feedback, and to ensure that the sequences were fully in tune with the game, which was still in development.
Fortunately, Kojima was appreciative of Logan’s work. “Hideo loved what he was seeing,” says Tylevich, “being very gracious in his comparison of the opening to the rest of the game and jokingly saying that now he had to make the rest of the game match the quality of the opening.”
The project involved seamlessly bringing together lots of different elements, including placing actors filmed against greenscreen within a CG world for Otselotovaya Khvatka (above) and adding a giant mantis to a modern Japanese city for Praying Mantis (below).
The commerical for the PMC Pieuvre Armement mixes the styles of a James Bond intro with a perfume ad, plus a dash of Metal Gear Solid’s world.
Project: Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots intro sequence
Client: Kojima Productions, www.konami.jp/kojima_pro
Studio: Logan, www.hellologan.com
Software: Autodesk Maya, Autodesk Flame, 2d3 Boujou, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop, Apple Final Cut Pro, Apple Shake, Maxon Cinema 4D XL, Pixologic ZBrush
Hardware: Red Digital Red One, Vision Research, Phantom HD