The Meg's effects skipper talks CG sharks and jawsome film spectacle

CNET | 8/10/2018 | Richard Trenholm
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The Meg is a watery battle royale between action star Jason Statham and a monster prehistoric shark. Believe it or not, one of those two isn't actually real, which means computer generated (CG) visual effects had a big part to play in creating the oceanic showdown.

This digital wizardry was overseen by Adrian De Wet, visual effects supervisor on The Meg. But even before he spent a year overseeing the creation and refinement of the digital imagery, he was in New Zealand for a year preparing for production and shooting the movie.

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CNET: A year in New Zealand seems like a long time. How much of the movie was done for real?

Adrian De Wet: You can only shoot what you can shoot. We shot in the Hauraki Gulf off Auckland, which is an enormous natural harbor where the sea's always very calm, but the weather's unpredictable in New Zealand. So it was good for some wide shots of the boat, for instance, but for the main shooting we built some enormous tanks outside of West Auckland.

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One of them was what we called the ocean surface tank, which was a huge, fairly shallow tank, about 300 foot wide with a massive green screen, six containers high, down at one end. That's where we shot a lot of the ocean stuff that was action-dependent, such as the boat being capsized and some shark attack stuff.

When every shot you shoot for real is in a fake tank surrounded by green screen, you have to digitally replace the background even in the close-up coverage [of the actors]. The bulk of the work in something like that is creating the digital ocean, extending it to the horizon and adding sky. And extending the boat, because the actual piece of set in the tank was only half a...
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