FX Review

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As soon as we were brought into the past, the audience is shuffled into the present via another complicated Digital Domain transition, where the camera dollys in tight on Rose's eye, only to be transformed into old Rose's eye. The drawbacks of the shot are that the young Rose camera move is incredibly smooth, which was a little jarring

Download a Quicktime movie of this shot. [~1.1MB]

Young Rose becomes Old Rose in this complicated morph, completed by Digital Domain using Avid's Elastic Reality.
following the frenetic shots of Jack drawing on his paper--and that young Rose is *completely* still, whereas she has been squirming and adjusting herself throughout the scene. During the zoom in on young Rose's face, also, the edges of the frame slightly strobe. Besides this, the morph is impeccable, with the subtle change in lighting, eye shape and the surrounding tissue transforming.

The finest evening at-sea shot takes place as the camera, situated at water level and travelling parallel to the ship, tilts up from the reflection of the ship's lights in the water, to the ship itself. Following this is a terrific multi-axis crane move outside the ship, revealing the water, hull, and a porthole with Jack peering outside.

At this point in the film the style of the visual effects change dramatically; whereas the first half of the film depicts the ship in all its beauty, the iceberg collision and sinking sequences depict the ship with deep strokes of nightmarish imagery.

"Iceberg, Right Ahead!"
The iceberg approach shots, taken from the POV of the Titanic's bridge, composited by Digital Domain and Light Matters, are absolutely chilling. The miniature iceberg element, eerily lit by the Titanic's own light fixtures, is shrouded in shadow, looming as a massive monster in these shots. The best of them all is a hurried, over the shoulder handheld shot of an officer running to the bridge's deck to take a look at the oncoming iceberg. The iceberg scrapes against the side of the ship, right near Jack and Rose, where the miniature iceberg was augmented by DD with CG chunks of ice in a dazzling tilt down, then up shot of the 'berg passing the characters.

Because the live-action shoot took place in Mexico, and not in icy waters in the Atlantic, breath vapor was not visible, and for over 100 shots, VIFX composited practical cold breath elements shot against black into first unit photography. At no point do the digital breath elements call attention to themselves, or reveal themselves as illusion.

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. . VFX HQ Produced by Todd Vaziri . . http://www.vfxhq.com . . e-mail: tvaziri@gmail.com . .
All text Copyright © 1998 Todd Vaziri, unless otherwise noted