March 31, 2017

Creating the Immersive Cyberpunk World of Ghost in the Shell

Technicolor and MPC’s work on Ghost in the Shell pays homage to an anime classic.

  • Adapting the original to live-action required expertise in creating photo-real worlds and cyber-enhanced characters.

Ghost in the Shell, based on the Japanese manga by Masamune Shirow, is one of the most revered anime films of all time. Cognizant of this rich legacy, the filmmakers of Hollywood’s live-action adaptation assembled a team – including Technicolor VFX and the VFX studio MPC – that would go to great lengths to recreate its immersive world and the cyberpunk characters that inhabit it.

The director Rupert Sanders, along with cinematographer Jess Hall, BSC, had an ambitious vision which they set out to achieve with the film’s production-side VFX Supervisors: Guillaume Rocheron – who won an Oscar for his and MPC’s work on Life of Pi – and John Dykstra – the VFX visionary who first made a name for himself on the original Star Wars film.

The MPC team – under VFX Supervisors Asregadoo Arundi and Axel Bonami – worked closely with these filmmakers on the project’s animation and other unique challenges, including: creating the film’s photo-real environment and elaborate CG flyovers; cyber-enhancing its hybrid CG/live-action character; and developing new shooting techniques and tools for its complex computer simulations.

Technicolor completed picture finishing on Ghost in the Shell, with supervising digital colorist Michael Hatzer. Hatzer and his team of Chris Jensen, Jason Myres, producer Bob Peishel, and colorist Jason Fabbro (who handled the 3D version) provided a myriad of HDR deliverables for theatrical and home viewing, and like the rest of the production their work reflects the knowledge that they were not only adapting what has been called “a groundbreaking visual masterpiece” – but adding to its legacy.

“The film had a progressive workflow, from the detailed control Jess had on-set, to the wide array of color and visual effects options we gave him in the DI,” explained Hatzer. “We focused on guiding each scene into place within Jess's vision for the film and recreated a palate of 28 hues drawn from the original anime.

Additional visual effect work was handled by Technicolor’s VFX team led by Doug Spilatro.

Get ready to be amazed by Ghost in the Shell in the official trailer from Paramount Pictures.