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Mr. X Provides Explosive VFX For Resident Evil: Apocalypse

Talented effects team provides more than 250 VFX shots for hit sequel (September 17, 2004)

? 2004 Constantin Films/Screen Gems Inc. and Mr. X, Inc.

  2004 Constantin Films/Screen Gems Inc. and Mr. X, Inc.

Mr. X has been generating a great deal of excitement in the film industry, creating innovative visual effects for recent films including 2004's hit DAWN OF THE DEAD, which debuted as the #1 movie in North America. Now Mr. X continues to break new ground with the fall movie season's highly awaited horror sequel: RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE. Mr. X contributed over 250 vital visual effects shots to the finished film, including its rousing finale.

"Our creative team was thrilled to be able to contribute to this project," comments Mr. X founder Dennis Berardi. The Mr. X team was chosen for its "partnership approach" with filmmakers, as demonstrated in the making of such films as Dawn of the Dead (2004), Wrong Turn, and Ararat. Adds Berardi, "We went into this project with the goal of giving Resident Evil fans something they haven't seen before, while building upon the style established so effectively in the video games and the first film."

RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE continues the intelligent suspense of the original film, picking up the story right where it left off. After narrowly surviving the laboratory horrors she endured in Resident Evil, the film's sequel finds Alice (Milla Jovovich) waking up in the middle of Raccoon City, which is now a city of the dead. Alice must escape Raccoon City before the evil Umbrella Corp.'s newest creation Nemesis finds her -- and Nemesis is on the hunt.

Working in collaboration with the film's Visual Effects Supervisor Alison O'Brien, Mr. X not only provided the bulk of visual effects for the project, but also produced the miniature unit as overseen by Mr. X VFX/Miniatures Unit Producer Eric J. Robertson. "Although many members of our team have worked with miniatures," Robertson comments, "this was the first time Mr. X has produced a fully autonomous build/shoot solution." Led by Robertson, the miniature team created a 44-foot replica of Umbrella headquarters down to the smallest and most painstaking detail -- and then gleefully blew it up. The team also created six 1/8th scale models of the Umbrella helicopters for use and destruction in key climactic action sequences.

Mr. X also provided digital 'face replacement' in shots where filming would have posed a life-threatening risk to star Milla Jovovich. The Face Replacement Team, headed up by Compositing Supervisors Aaron Weintraub and Noel Hopper, and CG Supervisor Sean Cohen, worked to integrate Jovovich's face with the body of her stunt double. This was accomplished by using a 3D digital scan of Jovovich's head, which was then digitally tracked onto the stunt double's body. The resulting image was rendered in 3D and composited to blend seamlessly into the scene. This process helped to remove the limitations often experienced in film when selecting camera angles for complex action sequences.

Mr. X's other contributions to the film include bringing to life a prosthetic face created for Nemesis by Paul Jones FX Studio. Through a series of digital enhancements performed on the mask, the skilled team at Mr. X was able to bring a sense of frightening believability to the character, allowing him to express a wide range of emotions through realistic facial expressions. Mr. X also provided 44 different 'Screen Design' shots, in which the screen graphics played a prominent role in the progression of the film's story, such as the three-dimensional map of Raccoon City. Finally, Mr. X's visual effects creations added a sense of epic-scale devastation to the riveting ending sequence of the film.

Ultimately, Mr. X's contributions to RE2 illustrate the company's dedication to being an integral part of the filmmaking process. The future looks bright for Mr. X, as it is currently contributing its inventive filmmaking style to a number of feature film projects, including 2005's THE ICE HARVEST, starring John Cusack, and the remake of John Carpenter's ASSAULT ON PRECINCT 13, starring Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne, and slated for release early next year. With a bevy of refreshing projects currently in-house, the team at Mr. X will only continue to create remarkable visual effects and even more industry buzz.

To create its effects contributions for RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE, Mr. X's creative team was led by Visual Effects Supervisor Dennis Berardi, and included Visual Effects/Miniatures Producer Eric J. Robertson, Visual Effects Coordinator Sarah McMurdo, Compositing Supervisors Noel Hooper and Aaron Weintraub, CG Supervisor Sean Cohen, as well as a team of talented VFX compositors, 3D Animators, Motion Graphics specialists, and many more. The team worked closely with Director Alexander Witt as well as an array of other talented creatives in order to bring the film's exhilarating effects sequences to life.

A deadly virus has been unleashed on the population of Raccoon City, setting the stage for one of the most anticipated horror sequels in recent history: RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE. A terrifying adventure, the film once again stars Milla Jovovich (5th Element, Dummy) as Alice, one of the two survivors of the contained biochemical disaster whose events are described in the 100 million-plus hit film Resident Evil. Genetically altered by the vast Umbrella Corporation, Alice is now endowed with super-strength, sense, and dexterity -- skills she will need more than ever to survive the dangers before her.

A film that also stars Sienna Guillory, Sandrine Holt, Oded Fehr, Mike Epps, and Zack Ward, RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE was directed by Alexander Witt, and written by Paul W. S. Anderson (who also authored the first installment). RESIDENT EVIL: APOCALYPSE is scheduled for release on September 10, 2004.

Who is Mr. X?
Bringing together a unique mix of artists, filmmakers, VFX supervisors, and programmers, Mr. X specializes in partnering with filmmakers to provide story-driven visual enhancements. The artists and creative minds at Mr. X are known for their superb, photo-realistic achievements in CGI, their skills in digital matte painting, VFX compositing, and Post/VFX supervision, as well as for their realistic digital creations of epic-scale and otherwise impossible stunts. With a studio equipped with a rare mix of the latest imaging technologies, the team at Mr. X is committed to pushing the limits of the digital realm, and in making the impossible, possible.

With credits on dozens of distinguished projects including DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004), WRONG TURN, BLIZZARD, ARARAT, THE SWEET HEREAFTER and many more, Mr. X helps to define the very look and feel of a film.

For more information on Mr. X, please visit their website at, or for pictures or interviews, please contact Dennis Berardi at (416) 595-6222, or via e-mail at [email protected].

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Related Keywords:Mr. X, Resident Evil: Apocalypse, VFX, Dennis Berardi, Alison OBrien, Eric J. Robertson, Milla Jovovich, Aaron Weintraub, Noel Hopper, Sean Cohen, Paul Jones FX Studio, Alexander Witt,


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