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Extensive, invisible wire removal shots for ALIEN RESURRECTION were handled by the Taiwanese company, Vertex International. Henry said, "We would just send them Exabyte tapes of the shots that we had scanned, and they would do their work, and send tapes back, and that was it. It really worked well, and I would recommend them for any production looking for good quality wire removals. The thing about most wire removals is that creatively, there isn't much a director or supervisor can inject into the rotoscoping; more often than not, the wire removal is either right or dead wrong. And they did a terrific job. Sending it overseas wasn't a problem at all."

The HGI miniature observation post, built in 1/6 scale, was to be a part of the originally planned opening shot of the film.
Time and budgetary constraints led to the cancellation of the originally proposed introduction to the film. Many people involved with the planning and eventual execution of this shot were very excited to work on it, due to its massive scale and interesting dynamics.

The first shot of the film was to have begun in the macro world inside the eye of a creature. The camera pulls back to reveal what appears to be a grotesque monster that lets out a nasty roar. The camera continues to pull back, which shows that the monster is actually a little insect. A huge finger fills the frame and squashes the bug. The camera pulls back even more, and you see one of the scientists in the movie inspecting the bug's corpse; he loads it into a straw and launches it out like a spitball right at the camera. It splashes against the window of the room he's in, which is revealed to be an observation tower on the exterior of the Auriga. The camera continues to pull back until you see the full width of this 12,000 feet long ship.

The shot was to have been completed using CG animation, full size, real time motion control, miniature photography shot motion control, along with a great deal of complicated compositing. Erik Henry said, "We had tested and worked on it so hard, Ian Hunter and all of us were both disappointed and somewhat relieved that the shot couldn't happen."

"When they showed me the boards and told me what was needed to be done with it," Joe Lewis remarked, "I kinda sighed and thought, 'Why do I always get the hardest shots?' There would have been so many elements all put together into this one, long shot, which would have made it really special. It's a shame that we didn't get to go through with it, because it would have been quite amazing."

Even with all the obstacles put in the way of the visual effects crews for ALIEN RESURRECTION, the experience seemed like a special one for all involved. Kerry Shea said, "I'm amazed that we got so much done in the timeframe that we were given. Keep

"Although the movie has a wonderful soundtrack, you could turn off the sound on this film, and it would still be enjoyable."

Matthew Gratzner
on the visuals of ALIEN

in mind that THE CITY OF LOST CHILDREN, Jenuet's last film, took two years to complete, start to finish. ALIEN had less than one."

Matthew Gratzner calls director Jeneut "quite a visionary--he had a lot of interest in our work and was always making sure that everything matched the main unit. Although the movie has a wonderful soundtrack, you could turn off the sound on this film, and it would still be enjoyable."

Joe Lewis summed up his time on ALIEN: "It was a very good experience overall, and a lot of us who shot the miniatures and dealt with our motion control setups will remain good friends. There were a lot of good times, and everyone was very professional. You remember experiences like this, because more often than not, the work becomes an ordeal for many, many different reasons. But on ALIEN, a lot of us were wishing that every shoot in the future could be just like what we had."

Special Thanks to:
Tamela Michaud, Julie Haddon, Danny Williams,
Shannon Blake Gans, Alison Brown and Jim Dobson.

. . VFX HQ Produced by Todd Vaziri . . . . e-mail: . .
All text Copyright © 1998 Todd Vaziri, unless otherwise noted