Framestore partnered with ad agency 72andSunny, Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and RSA Films to create the visually intricate trailer, mixing live-action with cinematic CG and visual effects, based on the characters and worlds created by Bungie.
In Destiny 2's heroic live-action two-minute trailer, Cayde-6 rallies three Guardians (“Do it for the puppies!”) into a battle to defend Earth against the evil invading Red Legion, all set to “Sabotage” by Beastie Boys.
Destiny 2 is a first-person action game and the evolution of its award winning, internationally acclaimed predecessor, Destiny. In Destiny 2, humanity has fallen to an overwhelming invasion force, led by Ghaul, the imposing commander of the brutal Red Legion. To defeat the Red Legion and confront Ghaul, Guardians must reunite humanity’s scattered heroes, stand together, and fight back to reclaim our home.
The live action trailer connects today’s world with the Destiny 2 universe, by having the audience imagine themselves in a situation like the Guardians’ own experience.
The trailer was scripted and strategized by ad agency 72andSunny, while Framestore was responsible for bringing the CG and visual effects elements to the level of a cinematic feature trailer.
The project was a huge undertaking led by Framestore’s Los Angeles facility. In addition to some background replacements for the live-action scenes, the visual effects pros worked with Bungie to produce digital doubles, full CG characters, environments and compositional elements like explosions as well as lots of particle and destruction work.
In the opening scene where Cayde-6 rallies his three guardians Titan, Hunter and Warlock, Framestore created a street aesthetic to sure a futuristic dystopia with a combination of neon signs and ruined architecture using a 2.5D matte painting projection technique. The team extended the entire street scene to add depth and the caged “Traveler” in the background with red accents to showcase the enemies’ master plan at work. In the background Framestore detailed additional battle space ships, explosions and atmospheric considerations like smoke, embers and ash using a combination of Nuke, Maya and Houdini renders.
Space scenes were completed by Framestore’s New York facility including the intro sequence and a fully CG space environment where the new villain of Destiny 2, Dominus Ghaul, is detailed whilst his ships descends into action.
Weapons and Effects
As fans will know each gun in Bungie’s Destiny produces unique flares and qualities such as the new Wardcliff Coil rocket launcher, which produced drunken missile flare. Framestore also converted the original 3D assets from Bungie into high-resolution CG characters and weapons for the cinematic film. Environment effects like ash and embers add depth and atmosphere.
CG weapons, effects and volumetric muzzle flash libraries for each gun were created to correlate with the game character’s weapons of choice, including a fully CG Psion character and gun. Framestore designed CG versions of Hunter’s staff, Warlock’s sword, Titan’s shield and a fiery sword at the end. During the live-action production these weapons were represented by LED lights with specific colors. This ensured accurate interactive lighting and reflections during the shoot to facilitate the integration of the CG weapons in post-production. Other weapon effects included CG lasers and speakers in addition to the continual aesthetic of smoke and embers.
“My favorite sequence is the backlit melée,” says Framestore Creative Director Alex Thomas. “I love the coherence of the sequence, with action taking place across multiple floors, linked by characters across these divides. But in particular I love the silhouettes against the LED screen.”
CG Villains and Digital Doubles of Guardians
Framestore created digital doubles of the Guardians Titan, Hunter and Warlock based on motion capture. In concert with Bungie, the villains and quadruped beasts were drafted from Destiny 2’s 3D assets. Framestore married two live action plates for another complex sequence that included a digital breakthrough moment for Titan.
Framestore’s ever-evolving creative solutions included the crafting of new pipeline and plug-in tools specifically for Nuke software to deliver the cinematic quality lens effects needed for this film. There was a high emphasis on creating and reproducing the optical and photographic qualities of anamorphic lenses during the shoot. As digital cameras become more and more perfect, filmmakers are looking for VFX and old, vintage lenses to add character, imperfections and charisma to their images.
The color grade was completed in-house at the Los Angeles office as well, colorist Jonah Braun created a unique and distinctive look under Beau Leon’s supervision and the director’s discerning eye.
Director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Live Action
Destiny isn’t just one of the biggest names in gaming, it’s also one of the biggest names in entertainment. For the upcoming release of Destiny 2, Activision has teamed up with creative agency 72andSunny, production and direction from RSA Films and visual effects from Framestore to launch its first live action trailer titled “New Legends Will Rise.”
To produce the theatrical live-action trailer, Bungie, Activision and 72andSunny enlisted Kong: Skull Island director Jordan Vogt-Roberts and Framestore’s VFX team. Vogt-Roberts, who has worked in comedy, dramas and action-packed blockbusters, purposefully approached the production as a feature film, which was shot in his hometown of Detroit.
The Beastie Boy’s “Sabotage” was added as the track to the live-action trailer, bringing added entertainment and raw energy to the film.
RSA Films and Framestore captured LIDAR scans on set during the live-action production giving Framestore the ability to scale accurately and know exactly where to cast elements within the frame.
Roberts framed live-action plates to consider the significant amount of visual effects and CG overlays that would be included within the film. Framestore completed 75 complex shots combining live-action with CG including fully CG villains fighting real-life characters whilst hand animating chase scenes.
Vogt-Roberts adds, on working with Framestore: “The dedication from every member of their team spoke volumes about their commitment and professionalism. All of this is made even more impressive by how quickly they turned around all of these shots and helped me realize the vibrant world of Destiny 2.”