DOUBLE NEGATIVE WIN VES AWARD FOR THE DARK KNIGHT
Double Negative's visual effects work was honoured at the 7th Annual Visual Effects Society Awards, which took place in Los Angeles on 21st February 2009. The award for Outstanding Created Environment in a Feature Motion Picture went to the Double Negative team for the Gotham City landscapes they created in Chris Nolan's The Dark Knight.
The Double Negative award winners were CG Supervisors, Peter Bebb and Philippe Leprince, 2D Supervisor, Andrew Lockley and Sequence Supervisor, Stuart Farley.
In Batman Begins, director Christopher Nolan had established Gotham City as a living, breathing environment, which, whilst fantastic in scale and character, was very definitely rooted in an observed reality that made it instantly compelling for the viewer. The Dark Knight took this further, using IMAX to explore new areas of the vast metropolis and revealing intricate layers of previously unseen detail. Says Lockley, "Working on the huge IMAX sequences was literally the biggest challenge and a first in the vfx industry. We had to completely rebuild our pipeline to handle it. The great results are a credit to the expertise and creativity of the team that pulled it off. So a big 'thank you' to all of them."
The bulk of the work in The Dark Knight was made up from close up environments during the Armoured Car Chase or the Canyon Drop at the end of the Penthouse Party sequence. The detail in the CG had to be pushed to the highest possible level to stand up to this degree of scrutiny, which was only heightened by the use of 5.6K and 8K IMAX. Says Bebb, "Right from the start, the biggest worry was living up to the full scale IMAX and a lot of work and research went into making it possible, everyone on the team was fantastically committed to doing the best work possible and they all deserve this award."
Despite or maybe because of the huge technical challenges presented, the project was a pleasure for the team to work on; says Farley, "The real enjoyment in this kind of environment work is the faithful reproduction of something people are used to seeing every day, a contemporary, busy, bustling city, rather than some fantastical world where all the rules are made up. To put something like that up on the screen, in IMAX and pull it off feels like a real acheivement."
The Dark Knight opened in the US on July 18th and in the UK on July 25th, 2008.