'Avengers': Secrets Behind the Big New York City Battle Sequence (Video)
It's one of the highlights of the film, but when the Avengers assemble to fend off shape-shifting aliens in the middle of the city, the shot -- created from four locations -- had a lot of digital help.
One of the highlights of The Avengers was the battle in New York City toward the end of the movie that saw Iron Man, Thor, The Hulk, Captain America and others assembling to fend off the shape-shifting Chitauri.
While the battle looked as realistic as they come, Industrial Light & Magic has pulled back the curtain on how the sequence was created, revealing the process by which it assembled the footage to form one long supercut.
For one thing, the shot was created out of "four different virtual New York locations that we had to tie in together as Iron Man's flying between them," reveals ILM CG supervisor David Meny. And a lot of the characters in the sequence were done in CG, like Iron Man, The Hulk and the aliens they were fighting -- as well as the New York backdrop. It took 1,200 shots of the city, stitched together, to build out a panoramic image of that location.
One of the biggest challenges in creating the scene was Captain America, as his movements did not match what ended up being used in that specific Avengers scene. So what ended up happening? Bye-bye, bluescreen cap. Hello, digital rendering.
Perhaps the most mind-boggling thing was that one team was assigned to assemble the multiple sections into one cohesive sequence. Massive undertaking is an understatement.
It probably was a good thing Avengers shot on blue- and greenscreen stages and went the digital route for this particular portion of the film. If the New York City destruction depicted in Avengers actually had happened, it would have cost an estimated $160 billion, according to a disaster expert.