Directed by Alan Taylor, produced by David Ellison for Skydance Productions, Megan Ellison for Annapurna Pictures, and Paramount Pictures, Terminator Genisys returns to Los Angeles, circa, 1984, and re-introduces an innocent, young Sarah Connor facing-off against an equally re-imagined set of antagonists from the future, and a wrinkle in the Terminator-saga that which catapults the film’s narrative into motion. The film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger, reprising his role as a T-800 killing-machine from the future, and Emilia Clarke as Sarah Connor. Actors Jason Clarke, Jai Courtney, and Oscar-winner J. K. Simmons round-out the cast.
Technicolor and its Academy Award-winning visual effects studio, MPC, served the project as one of the lead VFX-houses. Technicolor teams in Hollywood handled picture and sound-finishing services for the film. MPC created a world-class “synthespian” proxy for Schwarzenegger – for the film’s penultimate fight sequence where an aged Terminator fights his younger lethal self. MPC’s team in Montreal was led by VFX supervisor Sheldon Stopsack, and producer Chad Nixon, whom managed the execution of the synthetic performance delivered by Schwarzenegger. MPC worked closely with production VFX supervisor Janek Sirrs, and the filmmakers, during the development of the VFX work and final delivery, requiring precise coordination between multiple global locations including Montreal, London, and key Technicolor locations in Los Angeles to facilitate the tight delivery schedule.
Terminator Genisys was photographed by Kramer Morganthau, ASC, with principal photography beginning in the spring of 2014, in New Orleans, later wrapping in San Francisco in early August, after stops in Los Angeles, and various northern California locations. Technicolor’s “on-location” services teams handled dailies grading and delivery, led by Chris Van Duyn, dailies producer Denise Woodgerd, Kenny Vicent, Zander White, and John St. Laurent. Elaborating of the production challenges, Van Duyn stated, “Because they had two units shooting 80% of the movie, we set-up our dailies’ teams almost like it was two movies being photographed, by using two full Technicolor dailies systems each with its own crew. One crew/system worked typically Mon-Fri and the other crew for 2nd unit worked mostly Wednesday through Sunday. We also followed them to San Francisco with the primary system and crew, Brent Greer and his assist Robert Barr.”
Technicolor’s Michael Hatzer worked closely with DP Kramer Morganthau, director Alan Taylor as well as producer David Ellison on the film’s final color-grading and deliverable. Ellison brought an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the “literature” of James Cameron’s Terminator history.
Upon seeing the finished film, Cameron recently commented, most favorably, on the newest incarnation of the Terminator saga. Cameron had been consulted by producer David Ellison with the stated goal of presenting a faithful rendition of the original T-800 character created by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, as played-out in the original film, and its stunning sequels: Terminator 2: Judgment Day and also Terminator 2-3D: Battle Across Time.
The sound-finishing for Terminator Genisys was led by Technicolor’s team of Scott Millan and Greg Russell, from the company’s Paramount-based industry-leading sound studio. Millan explained, “Our basic goal was to create a soundscape that was reminiscent of the original Terminator, in reference and tone, but with a completely contemporary approach, with much greater nuances as the narrative unfolds. We had a relatively short delivery schedule, and a fairly modest budget to work with, but during the final mix, we fleshed-out the various concepts, very much aided by Alan and David’s incredible understanding of the material.”