Arrival VFX: Rodeo FX shows how it turned gravity upside down

Rodeo FX - the VFX company who worked on the epic Battle of the Bastards on Game of Thrones season six and Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them – has released a breakdown reel for their work on the Oscar-nominated film Arrival.

The sci-fi film explores the rather confusing idea of time acting in a non-linear manner, a message brought to humans through the visitation of aliens. Linguistics professor Louise Banks, played exceptionally by Amy Adams, along with theoretical physicist Ian Donnelly (Jeremy Renner) and US Army Colonel GT Weber (Forest Whitaker) seek to discover the intentions of aliens who have planted spaceships across the earth.

Watch the breakdown below.

Directed by Denis Villeneuve – who is currently working on Blade Runner 2049 – and shot entirely in Quebec, Arrival is based on Ted Chiang’s novella Story of Your Life.

What makes Arrival so impressive – and probably why it received eight nominations for the Academy Awards – is how subtle yet important the VFX are to the film’s narrative. You’ll be amazed at how much of this film is cemented in visual effects –multiple aircrafts, digi-doubles of actors and even the orange spacesuits worn by the characters before entering the alien spaceship.

A team from Rodeo FX completed 60 shots while working with VFX supervisor Louis Morin. Rodeo FX worked on CG aircraft exteriors and interiors, including fighter jets in flight, a helicopter taking off and landing, and the spaceship interior. 

The VFX company says the most difficult and technically challenging sequence involved Louise and Ian entering the alien ship for the first time through a tunnel in which gravity disappears.

The film shows the characters walking vertically up the shaft, but to do this, Rodeo FX had to create full digital doubles, including the orange hazmat suits.

Rodeo FX is no stranger to working with Hollywood studios for films. Already this year Rodeo FX has been nominated for five VES awards for their work on Game of Thrones season six and Black Sails Season three. Earlier work has earned them two VES awards for Game of Thrones and Birdman.

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