American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 20

Top: Liu Kang tackles Shao Kahn as the two engage in “mortal kombat.” Bottom: Kitana discovers Shang Tsung’s hideous cloning experiments.

Autodesk’s Maya animation software and edited in Adobe Premiere Pro, with Maya also used for special-effects animation. Additional body and hand animation was created using Autodesk’s MotionBuilder. Final material throughout the game was “shot” using a customized version of the Matinee tool (which N etherRealm dubbed “Cinema”) of the Unreal 3 game engine, which essentially functions as a sophisticated non-linear editor that permits artists to assemble and edit animation, visual effects and props, and then shoot that edited data with virtual cameras. N etherRealm customized Matinee to include a user-friendly interface for setting
20 July 2011

up depth-of-field and to create more accurate visual representations of real-world depth-of-field effects. The company also added a “Post FX” tool to enable artists to do basic color corrections to imagery within Unreal. Final scenes ended up in the game in two basic forms — either as scenes that run real time in the game engine at 60 fps to match the game’s fighting sequences, or as pre-rendered movies that are separately placed on the game disc, running at 30 fps in order to fit the additional movie content on the disc. As state-of-the-art as that process was, Cianciolo emphasizes that the nature
American Cinematographer

of the camera movement in the computer was more sophisticated than a typical fighting-genre video game. “Story has always been the key element of Mortal Kombat,” says Cianciolo. “Even when the game was in arcades in the early 1990s, players could read bios of the characters, accompanied by still imagery. Now the fights are separated by traditional dramatic scenes that set up the next fight, and so on, making it a feature-length interactive movie. So we approached the cinematography as though it was a narrative project, and we used all available camera tools in Maya and Unreal to make that work with the same underlying cinematography principles you’d apply to a feature. “I put together a style guide at the outset and outlined the emotional journey of each character, and how that should be reflected in the camerawork,” he continues. “Some chapters have a still [stationary] camera on a tripod, and then we adjust the focal length; some chapters, where there is more action, have a constantly moving camera, and we adjust focal length and framing from there. So, instead of doing highly stylized cinematography, whenever we moved the camera, we treated it as a real camera move. You’ll see Steadicam shots, crane shots, dolly shots and so on during the course of the narrative, but each move is tied to a particular creative point.” Cianciolo says the goal with the



American Cinematographer - July 2011

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of American Cinematographer - July 2011

American Cinematographer - July 2011
Contents
Editor’s Note
President’s Desk
Letters
Production Slate: Larry Crowne • Mortal Kombat
Monster Out of the Box
Ring of Power
Shot Down in Flames
A Cultural Cataclysm
Ascending Cinematography’s Summit
Post Focus: Prime Focus New York
Filmmakers’ Forum: Jim Matlosz
New Products & Services
International Marketplace
Classified Ads
Ad Index
In Memoriam: Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC
Clubhouse News
ASC Close-Up: Bruno Delbonnel
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - American Cinematographer - July 2011
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 1
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 2
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Contents
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 4
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 5
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 6
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 7
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Editor’s Note
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 9
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - President’s Desk
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 11
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Letters
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 13
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Production Slate: Larry Crowne • Mortal Kombat
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 15
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 16
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 17
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 18
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 19
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 20
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 21
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 22
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 23
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Monster Out of the Box
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 25
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 26
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 27
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 28
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 29
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 30
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 31
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 32
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 33
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 34
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 35
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ring of Power
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 37
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 38
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 39
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 40
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 41
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 42
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 43
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 44
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 45
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Shot Down in Flames
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 47
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 48
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 49
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 50
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 51
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 52
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 53
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - A Cultural Cataclysm
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 55
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 56
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 57
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 58
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 59
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 60
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 61
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ascending Cinematography’s Summit
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 63
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 64
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 65
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 66
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 67
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 68
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 69
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Post Focus: Prime Focus New York
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 71
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Filmmakers’ Forum: Jim Matlosz
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 73
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 74
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 75
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - New Products & Services
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 77
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 78
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 79
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - International Marketplace
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Classified Ads
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Ad Index
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 83
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - In Memoriam: Gerald Perry Finnerman, ASC
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 85
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Clubhouse News
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - 87
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - ASC Close-Up: Bruno Delbonnel
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover3
American Cinematographer - July 2011 - Cover4
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