The John Wick film franchise has set itself apart by creating some of the most unique and exciting action sequences in recent history. However, for John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum, the movie had to take things to yet another level. It turns out that for the film’s final set piece, that saw Keanu Reeves fighting a small army of martial arts experts in a three story structure made entirely of glass, the decision was made to create everything in VR first. Check out the video breakdown of what happened below.
Concept art and storyboarding are a part of the early production on basically any movie, but they can be especially important in action films to help the cast and the crew get an idea of what exactly it is they want to accomplish before the cameras ever role. However, when concept illustrator Alex Nice found out he had to create concepts for a fight scene in a building made of glass, he felt that simple drawings weren’t going to be enough.
And so it was decided to design the entire structure in virtual reality. in a VR environment, cast and crew could actually step inside the building and move around inside it, getting a real feel for things like lighting and camera placements.
The VR set also allowed for changes as the production went along. According to the video, budget requirements led to the set being redesigned over the course of the production, but the VR set allowed filmmakers to know what they could cut and what they could not by really getting a chance to see the different ideas.
The production used Unreal Engine, which is primarily used for creating video games, but in this case helped bring a live-action film to life.
While VR gaming is more popular now than it has ever been, the concept isn’t quite mainstream yet. Having said that, the same tools that allow you to enter a video game are becoming useful in other industries as well, and filmmaking has begun to adopt these tools in new ways. During the production of the remake of The Lion King Jon Favreau also used VR, as a way for his cinematographer to figure out where he wanted to place his virtual cameras. The actors also used the tools as a way to better understand their characters and better inhabit those roles, rather than simply providing voices.
With John Wick: Chapter 4 on the way, i would guess we’ll only see more of this. The technology is only improving and that means it can help to produce even better fight scenes. They’ll need all the help they can get to top what’s come before.