SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN
Mirror Man and Enchanting Creatures
of the Epic
The dwarves were not
the only characters upon
which several department
heads had to collaborate.
While Sanders likes to keep
as much of his shooting in
camera as possible, there are
many things that need the helping hand of visual effects
wizardry to enhance and elevate a character or scene. To
create Sanders' vision of the world we see in Snow White
and the Huntsman, the director and executive producer
Borders enlisted the help of eight accomplished vendors
from across the globe.
Visual effects producer Thompson discusses what
drew her to such a massive labor of love: "I remember
my first meeting on this film was with Rupert and
Cedric Nicolas-Troyan about the tone poem that Rupert
wanted to put together. It was a sales tool in a sense,
but it wowed the studio because it was a great tonal
guide and an insight to what Rupert wanted to achieve.
Honestly, it was amazing. It really excited me about the
movie and whilst I had planned to just prep the movie,
I found that I couldn't stop working on it because it just
blew me away."
Given her time frame, it was important for Thompson's
team to have different vendors concentrate on each area.
They were able to divide up the work fairly easily, as the
film naturally splits by characters and areas of expertise
from different houses-all picked because of their
reputations for being top of their game. These included
such work as the creation of the dwarves, the Enchanted
Forest creatures, the good fairies, the dark fairies, set
The Duke's army prepares its attack on Ravenna's castle.
extensions, face replacements, character aging and
transformations and, of course, the Mirror Man.
Under the supervision of VFX supervisors Nicolas-
Troyan and PHILIP BRENNAN, the houses achieved
the following: Rhythm & Hues accomplished work
on the dwarves, Enchanted Forest creatures, CG
good fairies, CG bridge troll, CG magpies and CG
ravens; Double Negative Visual Effects helped to
create Dark Forest creatures (including dark fairies)
and the intricate shard visual effects when Ravenna's
Shadow Army splinters; Pixomondo worked to create
Ravenna's Shadow Army, as well as assisted with crowd
duplications and set extensions; The Mill developed the
Mirror Man; BlueBolt crafted King Magnus' castle (and
the castle it becomes under Ravenna's rule), as well as
coordinated set extensions, digital matte paintings and
CG fireballs during Ravenna's attack on an advancing
army; BaseBlack conducted digital matte paintings
and set extensions; Lola VFX helped to imagine the
dwarves, coordinated Ravenna's face aging and face
replacements and VFX of Snow White in her frozen
state; and Hydraulx created CG swords and conducted
work on Ravenna's transformations.
Within Ravenna's mirror chamber is the
iconic magic mirror resting against the wall.
This cherished-but-cursed relic has, over
time, grown to become a physical entity.
Ravenna is so obsessed with her own image
that the mirror reflects a manifestation of
her soul and her dark subconscious. Indeed,
it allows the mirror to reveal what Ravenna
truly has become. The mirror tells her what
her subconscious knows and reveals a truth
that she lets no other person witness.
The inspiration for Sanders' Mirror Man
was a sculpture called "Face-Off " by the
talented London-based Irish artist KEVIN
FRANCIS GRAY. "As we needed to capture
Ravenna's reflection in it on the camera, we
had to create a fake standing Mirror Man so
that she could see herself in it," explains Nicolas-Troyan.
"It's entirely computer generated by a team at The Mill,
and he's never fully solid and never fully liquid. That was
on purpose to reflect Ravenna's character that is always
changingâ€¦and not necessarily in a good way."
For the Mirror Man scenes, Theron actually acted
opposite a figure with a RED camera built into it so
that it could record what her reflection would look like
during the actual scene. At the same time the voice of
the Mirror Man (CHRIS OBI) was just off set feeding
lines to the actress.
So, does the Mirror Man actually exist? Is Ravenna
the only person who sees him? Sanders and the producers
would like for the audience to believe what they choose
The eight houses weren't the only ones with tricks
up their sleeves. Special effects are stamped all over
the film, especially in the wintery world of Ravenna's
creation. For example, for the drops of blood spilled
upon the snow by Snow White's mother, Sanders thought
the fake blood looked too fake. An easy solution? The
director had the FX guys actually draw his own blood to
use as the blood that appears on the snowy land.
Snow White leads her people into battle.
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