How The Irishman’s Groundbreaking VFX Took Anti-Aging To the Next Level | Netflix
DELETE ME It was like the army you followed orders, you did the right thing you got rewarded. The film takes places from 1949 to 2000 and it goes back and forth in time. The problem is by the time I was ready to make the film Bob De Niro and Al Pacino and Pesci could no longer play these characters younger in makeup.
I was shooting ‘Silence’ in Taiwan and Pablo, of ILM, came up to me and said, “I think I can make them look younger.” And I said, “I don’t know. I can’t have the actors talking to each other with golf balls on their faces.
It maybe gets in the way with the actors, and the kind of film this is they need to play off each other.” Would you like to be a part of this history? So I just kind of took a breath and I said, “You know, we’ll develop the technology.
” One thing that was very important was that Marty would not feel restricted in any way. We understood what the challenges would be, meaning no markers or facial headcams or things like that. De Niro says to me, “I just want to work on set with the real lighting, with the other actors who are going to ad lib a lot, who are going to play a lot, and I just don’t want any interference with the performances.
” So we immediately divided into two groups: One that was developing the camera system and the other one that kept working on the software. We developed this new rig which is the camera surrounded by two, what we call, witness cameras which are infrared cameras.
If you were to take a look at those infrared images, what you would see is that there is no shadows. With the complication of this technology we had to test different rigs, different materials, cables.
It was called the three-headed monster. It didn’t look like a monster to me though it was kind of nice. The software is called Flux. The ‘F’ stands for ‘facial’ and ‘lux’ is for the lighting component of it.
With Flux what we were trying to do is capture the facial performance of the actors. It’s able to see how the face is shaded and how the lighting is hitting it and generate a lot of detail to incorporate this into our 3D model.
We went through an entire library of scenes extracted from all of their past films across a spectrum of ages to try to distill what their younger selves looked like in this film. It becomes a matter of taking all of these different tools in our pipeline and putting them together and put them on their younger selves to make really dramatic and amazing performances.
Everybody’s gonna appreciate it. It’s a good thing. I think I would want this to be a referendum on technology.