The Limitless zoom

The amazing new movie Limitless, starring Bradley Cooper, has a lot of jaw-dropping visuals. Boiled down, the story is about the consequences of suddenly becoming very, very intelligent, through taking a pill. The feverish excitement and stimulation of this condition is brilliantly conveyed through the so-called “fractal zooms” which are seen at various points in the film. Basically, it’s an infinite zoom down Manhattan streets, as Cooper’s character powers through the night. It baffled me how this could be done.

As you scroll down these screen grabs, watch for the visual links. Then read below or go to the fxguide siteto see it happen in motion.

Look Effects visual effects supervisor Dan Schrecker describes the process:

The ‘infinite zooms’ that were shot at 4K using a three-camera RED rig with short, medium and long lenses. One major zoom, for example, follows Eddie as he runs across New York, parties at a nightclub and ends up on the Brooklyn Bridge.

The camera’s not moving through this space so much as it’s a zoom … As you push into the first one we begin to bring in the second one and it goes on and on and on, without losing the resolution because we used these long lenses.”

“It was a light rig on a tripod,” says Schrecker, “so we could literally drive around to find our spot, hop out of the van, shoot some stuff and go to the next one.” Look artists then used After Effects to control the speed and scale of the final zooms create appropriate seams.

See www.fxguide.com for the complete article, and especially to see the above zoom in real time. You won’t regret it.

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