UHQ Still of Edward & Bella + MTV Interview w/ Bill Condon

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Bill Condon talks w/ MTV about Breaking Dawn‘s PG-13 Rating as well as getting stuck on Isle Esme while filming in Brazil:

Though director Bill Condon couldn’t confirm the R rating when MTV News recently spoke with him on the phone, he did reveal the approach necessary to earn a more teen-friendly PG-13 for the November 18 release. 

“It’s almost clinical the kind of strict guidelines [the MPAA] have about anything that appears to be — how do I put it delicately? 

That appears to be, let’s call it thrusting. In fact, you know, it was so much more about romance than it was about hot-and-heavy action, so it was a very kind of simple adjustment to make.” 

If filming the infamous sex scene was one of the simplest items on Condon’s honeymoon to-do list, one of the most difficult was scouting the location: the secluded Isle Esme owned by Carlisle Cullen. 

“We went to Brazil where it was at, that felt important to us,” he said. “There are very few houses built on the water because it’s against the law. So they’re mostly built up, so it was hard to find a house that was like that. It took us — wow — we were five hours outside of Rio and then a boat trip of 40 minutes to get to this one island that had the house that we wanted.” 

It was a good thing Condon was satisfied with the locale seeing as he and the crew spent several unexpected extra hours there. 

“We spent four days there and one night, when we had this incredible hurricane and couldn’t get off the island,” he said. “Eighty of us slept in the house on the floor and in bathtubs. It was incredible.”

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Modus FX Crafts Subtle CG for Breaking Dawn – Part 1

This is a very neat article about how Modus FX Crafts Studio worked on the visual effects for Breaking Dawn, including making Bella’s baby kick and move inside her belly.

Press Release from Modus FX: 

Montreal, Que: Oct 20, 2011… Montreal-based studio Modus FX recently delivered invisibly integrated visual effect shots for The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. The latest installment in the wildly popular romantic vampire series based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer opens in theatres on Nov 18. Incorporating a stylized look as a visual expression of the more-than-human qualities of the characters, the film required seamless CGI and a refined aesthetic. 

A team of 12 artists at Modus had six weeks to complete 42 shots for the film, which included creating a pregnant belly for lead actress Kristen Stewart, digitally removing a wrist brace she was wearing in another sequence and a variety of subtle cosmetic refinements. 

Yanick Wilisky, visual effects supervisor and co-founder of Modus FX, described the challenges of creating organic CG. “We are all so used to seeing organic objects and surfaces. If something is just slightly off, you know it’s fake – even if you can’t put your finger on exactly what the problem is.” 

Making Stewart look pregnant was one of the tasks assigned to Modus. “They wanted the baby to kick and move inside her belly,” said Wilisky. “We had to match the camera moves, the lighting, even the film grain, along with the subtleties of her skin.” 

In fact, according to CG supervisor Martin Pelletier, “The two hardest things to work with in CG are water and skin.” 

“For this project, we had to be really quick in terms of turn around,” he explained. “We made use of very complex lighting from the set, adding 3D layers, and a matchmove of her stomach, to make her look pregnant. We took our time at the start to get the recipe right and that paid off in efficiency once we got going. We were soon able to turn around several shots each day.” 

“Hand-Crafted” Visual Effects 

In one central sequence – the wedding of Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) and Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) – the camera pans around the newlyweds as they embrace. However, due to a minor wrist injury, Stewart was wearing a brace on the day of the shoot. Naturally, the brace had to be removed in post. 

“Matchmoving a close-up is a good example of the challenges of organic CG,” said Pelletier. “We started with a CG model of the hand and then carefully crafting the rig to create natural motions. Once we had that, every minute movement of the hand had to be matched exactly.” 

The shot, which is over 300 frames, called for extensive camera tracking and object tracking. Lighting artists at Modus rendered the actor’s hand with subsurface scattering to capture the partial translucence of skin and make it look believable. 

“Tracking was particularly challenging, because when they were shooting it, they weren’t thinking about it as an effects shot. There was no camera metadata for the sequence,” Pelletier explained. “The solution was to do a series of careful manual adjustments until we had correctly replicated the light sources on the set. For work like this, it really takes the eye of a skilled artist to get it right.” 

“Bella is moving in the shot as the camera circles around her,” Wilisky added, “She’s holding Edward’s hand, so we needed to recreate parts of his hand, along with some of the background. It was a highly technical and complex shot, but no one will see any of that when they watch the movie.” 

The Modus Pipeline 

“We have developed a very efficient pipeline for visual effects in live action shots, particularly for aspects such as motion tracking,” said Wilisky. Along with in-house proprietary technologies, Modus uses tools such as PFTrack, Mocha Pro and the Nuke 3D package. “The shots we delivered on Twilight are similar to the type of invisible effects work we’ve done in the past on films like The American, Barney’s Version and Jane Eyre. The studios recognize that we have a strong pipeline and that we know how to deliver.”

Directed by Bill Condon, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1 will be released Nov 18, 2011 by Summit Entertainment. The film stars Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner.

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NEW Access Hollywood ‘Breaking Dawn’ Special

Access Hollywood: Access takes you behind the scenes on the set of “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1,” where Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart talk about filming the wedding and honeymoon scenes. Plus, Robert and Kristen discuss the emotional struggle surrounding Bella’s pregnancy.

Updated: NOW IN HQ

New Video showing Bella’s baby bump:
(Aww)