Projects / Crowd Simulations: 22 Jump Street and Selma

Crowd Simulations: 22 Jump Street and Selma

Columbia Pictures and Cloud Eight Films

Crowd simulations can be as difficult or as easy as you plan for; regardless Shade is equipped to tackle the challenge. Take for instance the Academy Award nominated feature Selma, following Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s historic marches in Selma, Alabama.

Taking It To The Streets

But what is a historical march without the throngs of people behind MLK and his top cohorts? In order to create the power behind such pivotal scenes as the arrest at the courthouse in Selma and the marches across the Edmund Pettus Bridge, we had to composite the crowds from fifty or so to hundreds, requiring us to challenge ourselves to come up with creative, off-the-cuff solutions. We shot actors on our in-house green screen, sporting signs and outfits picked up from local thrift stores, and seamlessly integrated them into the scene.

Packing The House

It isn’t hard to imagine how the likes of Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill could pack a stadium, which is exactly what we were tasked to do for the 22 Jump Street, the anticipated sequel to the franchise of just one digit minus.

With a well-prepared VFX Supervisor like Edwin Rivera on hand, the 22 crew prepared the stadium perfectly. Phil Lord and Christopher Miller shot 10 to 15 people against blue screen, committing a variety of action including jumping and applauding. From there, we built custom software to populate the stands with the actors in 3D, creating an algorithm in which the director could command an action from them and our composited actors would react in kind. Imagine an incredibly art-directable and customizable audience (down to the color of their shirt to the expression on their face) – without the actual audience. Best yet, these technology and algorithms are built and ready to be used again!

Flip through the before and after photos above. While you’re at it, you can check out further crowd simulations accomplished by Shade on projects like Million Dollar Arm and Annie.