THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER VFX Supervisor Reveals The Clever Special Effect We All Missed (Exclusive)

Thor: Love and Thunder VFX Supervisor Jake Morrison reveals that a new technology was used on the movie that proved pivotal to that memorable battle on the Moon of Shame. The kicker? We all missed it...

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There was a time when visual effects could be a distraction in a movie, but as they've improved, so too has the way they're utilised. We've reached a point where it can sometimes be impossible to figure out what is and isn't real, with VFX utilised in sometimes the most unexpected and minor of ways. 

That could be to tidy up a superhero's costume or take out an errant member of the crew who has wandered into a shot, but Thor: Love and Thunder made use of a brand new technology that could be a game-changer. 

Talking to us about the Marvel Studios movie's upcoming release on 4K, Blu-ray, and DVD, VFX Supervisor Jake Morrison explained how new lighting rigs were created to make what we eventually see on screen more realistic (all while eliminating a common issue with effects-laden blockbusters like Thor: Love and Thunder). 

"There's something that we did which is brand new technology. It's based on some research that was done years ago. There are all sorts of interesting ways to work with lighting, and what I was trying to do on this one was…there's a lot of lighting that tends to be slightly non-committal in superhero films, just because you never really know quite what the environment is going to be like," he explains. "With the best will in the world, you get some concept art on set, the director of photography does their best and guesses, ‘Well, the sun is probably going to be here and the Moon there…’ The criticism of superhero films is that they are relatively homogeneous from a lighting point of view."

"The bold moves are hard to do because they're usually wrong. If you do these really really hardcore lighting choices, they're often wrong in the editing suite," Morrison continues in the video below. "On the Moon of Shame, the bit that I'm most excited about is where we used, and it’s never been used in film before, this incredible technology that lets you light an actor or an entire stage with effectively six completely different lighting sources simultaneously and shoot the thing just like you're shooting it with a normal camera. You do all the normal camera moves and then strip out every single light that you've got there and put them all in a separate little bag."
 


"Now you get six different layers of identical footage, but all of it lit from different sides. What that meant for me was as the edit changed, if Taika wanted just this bit of Gorr coming in and running off again, because we're on the Moon of Shame and the lights wheeling and going crazy, there was no way that I could do that on a set and get that right every time because you just don't know what the edit is. This way we were able to actually then layer with our VFX vendor and mix between all those lights, one after another, and then build the CT environment that supported that move. You've got the actors really lit with real light, and you're choosing it later."

"And then just as a bonus, if somebody's firing lightning, which they do all the time in these films at somebody else, the influence of that light, If it's coming from you to me, you literally just pull that light source, and then you key in the bit of the real light that you would have had on the active," the VFX Supervisor adds. "It's such a perfect interactive light if that really happened, and I'm excited to do that, because, in a counterintuitive way we're not relying on CG heavily, we're relying on the actors. I guess from a VFX point of view, that sounds simpler, but it was so much harder to do than it would be to just go the CG route."

"I'm really proud of that sequence. The Moon of Shame is a really beautiful sequence to me. It stands out like the Valkyrie Flashback did in Thor: Ragnarok and we worked with the same team on that. It's just a generation ahead in terms of our lighting technology," Morrison concludes. "A lot of people just wouldn't think of it. They just go, Oh, it's a cool back and white sequence, and the light just moves left to right.'

Crazy, right? We know that Thor: Love and Thunder also made use of The Volume, but this technology looks set to be every bit as game-changing for VFX-heavy sequences moving forward. Be sure to watch our interview with Jake above to hear more about Mjolnir's new abilities, Eternity's comic-accurate appearance, and how that Hercules post-credits scene was shot. 

Thor: Love and Thunder is now available on Digital and will be available on 4K, Blu-ray and DVD September 27.
 


 
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