Wes Ball’s The Maze Runner features complex maze environments and even more complex creatures – all requiring meticulous planning to bring to the screen. Previs and postvis would help the filmmakers prepare for the live action shoot in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and then aid Method Studios and other VFX shops in creating intricate visual effects shots involving the moving maze and the mechanical Grievers. We talk to John Griffith, who was previs director at 20th Century Fox on the show, and Jourdan Biziou, The Third Floor’s previs supervisor, about the film.
Griffith worked early on with Ball and his visual effects team on exploring ideas for the Glade and the Grievers, using a game engine approach. “It was the perfect film to put Crytek’s Cinebox software through its paces,” says Griffith. “I had been developing it for almost four years prior, having developed it on Dawn of the Planet of the Apes. By then the pipeline had become a very smooth process. It has sped up the process of creating previs and added a whole other level of quality and realism to the work we produce.”
Wes Ball is incredibly knowledgeable for a ‘first-time’ feature director. Being a CG artist and animator himself, he knows what can be done and strives for the results he wants using real-world industry knowledge. The Maze Runner is a story brimming with visual opportunities for Ball to stretch the pixels.
Sue Rowe was brought onboard as VFX Supervisor for The Maze Runner at the very beginning of production, after leaving Cinesite about two years ago. Her history spans thorough some great work on The Golden Compass, John Carter, Troy and X-Men 3. Part of her job was to pull in some of the other key leads for the work at that stage being considered for Method as the sole vendor for The Maze Runner. There was another company that Method outsourced a number of cleanup shots but Method created the 530-odd shots that were in the movie.