Interview: Eric Saindon, VFX Supervisor, Alita: Battle Angel

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The Visual Effects of Alita

ABA_096_CWS_0490_v0407.87435 – Rosa Salazar stars as Alita in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

THS: Going back to the visual effects. Again, some of the big landscape shots like Iron City itself, there’s so much hustle and bustle going on in the city. How much work goes into making a shot like that look alive? It almost feels like you have to take like a magnifying glass just to start surveying all the small little things that are going on.

Eric: It’s funny because we always work under the impression that people are going to take a magnifying glass to it. So when you see a wide shot of the city if you zoom into the market of the city you’ll see fruit on the stands, on the tables. I mean we really do try to, sometimes probably a little bit over the top, but we really do try to go all the way down to those those tiny moments when you can zoom all the way into a market and see the fruit on the table or you can see the paper on the ground or you can see we fill out the city with thousands of extras, walking around having conversations, all those things. But it’s exactly that right. Like if you if you are missing any of those things and you looked at one of those wide shots it would look like a matte painting and I mean not that looking like a matte painting is a bad thing. We didn’t want our city to look like a matte painting. We wanted them to look like they were alive. So we always had moving things. We put windows in on rooftops. We put blowing cloth in on balconies. We put people, we put all these extra bits of motion into our cities so that you always got that detail. Sometimes it was never more than a couple pixels moving in the background but it does have a life.

THS: It’s a fortunate gift to be able to tell a story and to bring emotion and create an experience for people. And I want to thank you again for spending the time talking about this and also for all the great work you’ve done and I’m looking forward to everything else that you’re going to be doing in the future.

Eric: Yeah, thank you very much. It’s been fun talking.

THS: I will be there this week to see Alita again.

Eric: Excellent. I hope that the world goes to see it and we get to make Alita 2.

Alita: Battle Angel opens February 14th.

Keean Johnson (left) and Rosa Salazar (center) in Twentieth Century Fox’s ALITA: BATTLE ANGEL. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox.

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