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32TEN Studios Provides Practical Effects For Pacific Rim

ILM’s John Knoll, director Guillermo del Toro, 32TEN Studios’ Tim Partridge.32TEN Studios, a practical effects company based in San Rafael, Calif., provided a number of practical effects for Pacific Rim. From Warner Bros. and Legendary Entertainment, Pacific Rim, directed by Guillermo del Toro, is a sci-fi feature about a war between humankind and monsters from another dimension.

For the film, 32TEN Studios worked on behalf of client Industrial Light and Magic, reporting directly to ILM VFX Producer Susan Greenhow. The shots were supervised by ILM VFX Supervisors John Knoll and Lindy DeQuattro. Since the film was converted to 3D, 32TEN Studios was asked to shoot its contributing shots in 3D. Red Epic cameras on 3D rigs were utilized by 32TEN to shoot various scenes of destruction.

The primary scene produced by 32TEN was one in which the interior floor of an office building, filled with fully dressed office cubicles at ¼  scale, was destroyed by the fist of a "Jaeger" robot. The fist travelled through the office floor, destroying everything in its path, and was followed by the 3D cameras on a separate pneumatically controlled rig.

Another shot produced by 32TEN was of several rows of seats in a soccer stadium being blown apart as a "Jaeger" lands in the stadium – the ¼ scale seats were blown apart by air cannons. Additionally, 32TEN provided several practical elements for ILM's compositing team – these included dust clouds, breaking glass and water effects.

Lindy DeQuattro, co-visual effects supervisor, ILM, on Pacific Rim, said, "The key to successful effects work is to use the right tool for each job.  We love to use practical effects whenever it makes sense because the inherent serendipity in special effects work gives us a level of realism that can be difficult to achieve in CG. The team at 32TEN Studios built beautiful models for us and then utterly destroyed them. The results were spectacular and the blending of these practical effects with our CG work brought the entire project up to a higher level of realism."

The 32TEN FX team involved with Pacific Rim included: model supervisor Nick d'Abo, FX DP Marty Rosenberg, and practical FX supervisor Geoff Heron. Pictured above, left to right, are ILM’s John Knoll, Director Guillermo del Toro, and 32TEN Studios’ Tim Partridge.