Building Digital Worlds For Blockbuster Movies Using Photography

I had to watch this video three times. It simply blew me away. For years movies have been created using green screens, as is the case here with the 2012 hit "The Avengers." The part that amazed me in this behind the scenes video is the amount of detail that is captured to perfection by the digital artists and how they team up with photographers to recreate reality spheres to insert the actors. Read on to check out some of the facts on how it was created.

Check out these facts about the movie pulled from the the video...

- While the movie plot takes place in New York, all but the aerial footage was filmed elsewhere.

- The shots of the actors down on the streets of New York City was actually captured in New Mexico on a green screen set and parts of it in streets of Cleveland.

- A CGI playground covering 20 blocks of the city had to be recreated.

- The team photographed 7 miles of streets, from cranes, on top of 35 different buildings, from every angle possible shooting a total of over 250,000 photos.

- From the photos they recreated over 2000 different reality spheres which were projected onto the geometry of the buildings in the computer and used to recreate New York City.

- The team had to then paint out all the trees, cars, and people from the photos to then recreate digitally so they could show movement.

- For the night shots, they used photos of their own office building rooms and used those to recreate offices lit up in the buildings at night.

Mind blowing! It makes you wonder what the team at Industrial Light and Magic are dreaming up next.

[Via Engadget]

Trevor Dayley's picture

Trevor Dayley ( was named as one of the Top 100 Wedding Photographers in the US in 2014 by Brandsmash. His award-winning wedding photos have been published in numerous places including Grace Ormonde. He and his wife have been married for 15 years and together they have six kids.

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Movies have become video games

Far from, these shots probably took hundreds of years of render time if rendered on one computer. Video games are about creating things in real time. Still amazing what can be accomplished with the right talent and hardware!

No argument regarding rendering time. However, with all those special effects, the art of storytelling is getting lost. I've become so numb to SF that any crap movie w/ mildly solid story line just blows me away. And I also don't find it amazing anymore. Its rather granted that a team of many people w/ lots of computers can do anything. 

Yeah I hear ya. Well at least we can appreciate the extremely talented artists and programmers that create this stuff. It's no easy task!

Amazing stuff.

VFX has the capability to expand a story beyond just sets and some props.  But if the story is shit, then no amount of VFX will save it *cough Star Wars EPIII cough* 

Take Game of Thrones for example, you really have to look hard to figure out what is real and what isnt. Its intended to supplement a great story. 

Moral of the story. Place your story in less recognizable city so your effects team won't hate you

Where do you even start?! The sheer volume of work and detail not only baffles me... it quite frankly scares me a little too! Absolutely amazing!! 

this is WOW!