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Inside "Quantum of Solace"

"Quantum" Effects
Daniel Craig leaps across a fire escape in “Quantum of Solace.”
Daniel Craig leaps across a fire escape in “Quantum of Solace.”
Quantum of Solace © 2008 Danjaq, LLC, United Artists Corporation, Columbia Pictures Industries, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

While director Forster wanted to do as many scenes practically as possible, roughly 935 of the film's nearly 1,300 shots have a visual effects component. That took a lot of advance planning, including pre-viz (animated storyboards), crucial when you have a limited 12-week post-production window. "Visual effects is a plan-and-execute kind of thing; you find yourself far enough down the road and you can't turn around without massive consequences," comments Haug, whose four-time previous collaboration with Forster helped on that score.

"Practically everything has a visual effects component, but there may be only 10 that you could call pure visual effects shots," offering an example necessitated by angles and proximity: "There are half a dozen airplane shots that don't have any real airplane or background in them."

­For Haug, executing the skydiving portion of the aerial sequence, blending the Bodyflight wind tunnel footage with plates of the sky was the biggest challenge on the film. "The problem with shooting in a wind tunnel is you can get close-ups out of it but the lighting is very difficult to control and you can't get medium or wide shots. We ended up with 16 cameras in an array, which gave us a virtual camera that's able to be any length and distance away, like we were shooting air to air. We call it Event Capture," he explains. CG also altered the lighting and augmented real fire footage in the explosions in that and other sequences.

Sky matching was the major issue in the Panama water chase. "Some days the weather changed every few hours. We made it look like it was all the same day," says Haug. Crane and safety wire removal were his biggest task in the Siena rooftop sequence, and in the "Tosca" scene, making 1,000 black tie-clad extras look like 7,000. "We shot them in small groups and populated the whole place with those people," in post-production. "The big crowd-cloning was in Siena," he notes. "We couldn't shoot when the race was actually going on, so we shot lots of plates and populated it with footage shot beforehand."

In the opening car chase sequence, "The main visual effects component is whenever you see Daniel he's on stage at Pinewood. He never went to those locations or drove those cars," Haug reveals. "When you can see inside the car, we replaced the stunt driver's head with Daniel's head. When you're inside the car with Daniel, the exterior is based on a plate we shot in Italy. The cars bashing into each other -- that was shot on a big blue screen set."

The incendiary final fight sequence was a blend of footage shot on several stages at Pinewood and exterior plates from the desert location in Chile, a two-hour daily trek from production's base camp on the coast. "It's a full-scale explosion on a full-scale set that was four stories tall but only about a hundred feet long," Haug describes. "We mostly used real ­fire elements and did a few things to enhance that, moving them around and multiplying them. When we got very close to the actors, we added a lot of heat distortion and steam, coming off clothes. They were always very close to the fire, but not enough to hurt them. We just brought the fire in that extra couple of feet."

­A VFX team at MK12, which worked on "Quantum's" title sequence, created the Internet-enabled computer table and wall seen at British Intelligence's HQ. On set, "It was a white light table with fluorescent tubes in it. They had pieces of acetate with dots on them that they could slide on the table. And the wall had Xs on it for the actors to look at," Haug outlines. "It was all added later."