Directed by Jan De Bont

Visual Effects Produced by:

INDUSTRIAL LIGHT & MAGIC, Supervisor: Stefen Fangmeier

RHYTHM & HUES STUDIOS, Supervisor: Bert Terreri
Rhythm & Hues Crew List

Jump to SPEED 2 visual effects stills

The Ship - The Prop - The Tanker

Nominated for one 1997 VFX HQ Awards: Best Miniature Pyrotechnics.

Sandra Bullock and Jason Patric star in SPEED 2, the followup to Jan DeBont's 1994 action flick. Although they did not work on the original, ILM and Rhythm & Hues produced the remarkable visual effects sequences. The supervisor of ILM's effects is Stefen Fangmeier; ILM handled numerous shots of the cruise ship in various, highly dangerous situations. Visual effects sequences dealing with underwater shots, explosions and other shots were handled by Rhythm & Hues, under the supervision of Bert Terreri.

SPEED 2 takes place on a cruise ship as the lovebirds Bullock and Patrick go on a romantic cruise together, until Willem Dafoe hijacks the ship and, put simply, wreaks havoc.

ILM contributed some fantastic sequences, placing the cruiseliner in highly unlikely situtations. A highly photorealistic CGI model of the cruise ship was created by the ILM CG team. Its intricate detail vastly supersedes any CG vehicle ILM has ever created, including the CG helicopter and train models created for MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. Hundreds of glass windows cast really nice reflections.

ILM's match-moving comes through once again--the CG ship appears as if it actually existed within the background plate. The best of the CG ship shots appear as the ship crashes into an island's portside town, destroying a dock and numerous buildings in the process. Although many shots were accomplished with enormous full scale mockups of the ship's bow smashing into buildings and cars, ILM's CG ship was composited into many shots.

Overall, the CG ship fit appropriately in each of its shots, although the dock sequence contained better shots than the tanker approach sequence. The interaction between the water and the ship and tanker in the tanker sequence was sometimes inconsistent--the splashing of the water against the tanker, as well as the sparks caused by the crash appeared bit synthetic at times.

One of my favorite shots contributed by ILM is the final shot of the tanker sequence. The cruise ship just scrapped along the hull of the tanker, and steers clear of the tanker, revealing the cruiser's damaged port side. The shot was taken from a helicopter at an extremely low angle, with the background plate moving and shaking violently. Everything matched in the shot, and it appeared quite realistic.

My other favorite shot is actually the last shot of the movie. The shot is a helicopter 'crane' shot--the camera begins at nearly sea level, tight on our heroes, and the camera slowly climbs hundreds of feet into the sky, revealing the 'docked' cruise ship right in the middle of town. The match moving on this shot (as well as another earlier helicopter crane shot) is impeccable.

Rhythm & Hues contributed some fine visual effects shots, as well. As Jason Patric dives under the speeding ship to disable the cruise ship's propellor, Rhythm & Hues went into action, providing computer generated propellors, bubbles and a massive amount of bubble erasure. The CG murk and matchmoving prowess of R&H artists give these shots a great deal of realism. There aren't any visible indications of digital manipulation of these shots--although in one wide shot of the propellor, the Jason Patric foreground element moves at a slower frame rate than the background plate, blowing the illusion of the shot.

R&H also provided some all-digital underwater shots, including an underwater porthole flyby, revealing the starboard motor. Another digital shot featured the cruisers' anchor flying by the camera--R&H created the CG anchor, as well as the surrounding bubbles and murk.

Computer effects continue through SPEED 2 as Patric fires a spear at Dafoe's plane; R&H modeled and animated a realistic CG spear and rope for a few shots. R&H also modeled Dafoe's plane in CG for some harrowing sequences as the plane crashes into the aformentioned oil tanker. The plane's explosion is mesmerizing, and was executed with both CG and practical explosions. Although the firey explosion of the plane doesn't look 100% organic, it is colorful, unique and visually stunning.

R&H and ILM have created some fantastic shots for SPEED 2, an average action film. Jan DeBont has not broken any new ground with his newest action flick. Although SPEED 2 contains a bit more drama than DeBont's last effort, TWISTER, it is incomparable to his directorial effort, the original SPEED. DeBont is emerging as the new Renny Harlin of Hollywood--a director with a keen eye for action and color, but a complete disregard for engaging characters and inventive storylines.

Jump to SPEED 2 visual effects stills

The Ship - The Prop - The Tanker

Official Web Site: http://www.speed2-cruisecontrol.com
Check out Rhythm & Hues Studios' SPEED 2 Site
Check out Cinefex 71.

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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