Outstanding Effect Shots, part 16 of 24

Welcome to the Single-Minded Movie Blog advent calendar. Between the 1st and the 24th of December every day will bring you a short post about a classic or not so classic shot from the golden era of visual effects.

The credit sequence
- from Dick Tracy (1990)

The colorful world of Dick Tracy is one of the best (and last) examples of how matte paintings can be used to create an entire world.

The opening credit sequence was designed to ease the audience into director Warren Beatty's vision, and it was one of the film's most challenging shots - and not just because Beatty changed his mind constantly, or because he refused to give any concrete directions to his artists.

The now defunct Buena Vista Visual Effect group produced the effects for the film, with matte artists Michele Moen and Paul Lasaine handling the majority of the 55 paintings used. Veteran matte painter Harrison Ellenshaw was even pulled in to lend support along the way.

The painting that form the base of this shot was 24 feet long, several times longer than a standard painting. David Mattingly headed up the job, but as the deadline approached the entire matte staff gave a hand. Even Ellenshaw's father Peter - the legendary matte wizard - helped with the marathon effort.

To give depth to the shot two sections of miniature buildings were added - built by Stetson Visual Services, and shot by The Chandler Group. Final touches also included smoke from chimneys, and a small image of Beatty getting ready to go out at the very beginning.

In the end the shot does exactly what it was supposed to do: It perfectly establishes the wonderful, magical, cartoon universe of Dick Tracy.

No comments:

Post a Comment