The Batman Had Way More Visual Effects Than You Think

While most of what’s in Matt Reeves’ The Batman seems practical, a new VFX video pulls back the curtain on the DC movie’s impressive visual effects.

A new VFX video explains how The Batman was able to bring his gritty, atmospheric city of Gotham to life through the increasingly popular set known as The Volume. Upon its release earlier this year, The Batman was praised by many critics for creating a city of Gotham that was dark, modern, and visually impressive. Matt Reeves became the latest director to reboot DC’s famed Batman, and with his film he strove to create a grounded version of the character that stood apart from the DCEU. The Batman has won over fans and critics, and a sequel is already in the works.

The Volume, which was first used to film Disney+ The Mandalorian, is a relatively new technology that involves filming on a soundstage almost entirely surrounded by LED panel screens and a ceiling. It is most often used in place of a green background; The main advantage of The Volume is that, because it is digital, it can react to camera movement on set by adjusting lighting, perspective, or the entire image in the panels while filming. Numerous replicas of The Volume have already been built around the world for other film and television productions, including the recent Thor: Love and Thunder.


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In their latest video, The Corridor Crew and Oscar-nominated visual effects supervisor Joe Farrell explain how The Volume was used to create some of the The Batmanthe most crucial scenes. They specifically watch the emotional rooftop showdown between Batman (Robert Pattinson) and Catwoman (Zoë Kravitz), explaining that the entire cityscape of Gotham was created on a soundstage using The Volume. However, they also note that the ominous reflections on the two characters’ costumes and faces were likely created by shining real studio lights on each actor, in addition to The Volume’s LED lights behind and above them. . Farrell also explains all the work involved in ensuring that the virtual reality displayed by The Volume is right before filming:

“To create this [set] which runs on the game engine which works in real time, it requires three months of a team of 20 people working on it. The problem is that when you create it, it has to fit the camera du jour. If you haven’t done it right for the day, you can’t change it because it’s built in. So let’s say you realized, ‘Oh, the building has changed.’ Well, you burned it, and now you have to rotate it. You’ve spent an awful lot of money to get to this point with The Volume, and now you have to do it again.

Catwoman talking to Batman.

It’s hard to believe that The Volume has only been used for a few years (and on a particularly small number of productions), simply because the effect it creates, when done right, is so realistic. The reviews of The BatmanVisual effects were sparse when the film was released, making the reveal that parts of it were shot digitally rather than practically all the more impressive. Even significant parts of the chase scene between Batman and the Penguin (Colin Farrell), one of the film’s most intense and technically complicated moments, were done using The Volume. Considering all of this, the possibilities for Reeves for the upcoming sequel are truly endless.

More often than not, practically shot films tend to look better. That said, Reeves and the visual effects supervisors of The Batman have proven that going digital doesn’t have to come at the expense of quality. Not only that, but time and care (and, apparently, The Volume) can even make audiences totally oblivious to the fact that they’re watching something almost entirely computer-generated. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, The Batman filmed for over 18 months, not counting the months of post-production which further transformed the film into the visual spectacle it has become. Although longer than expected, no one can deny that it produced impressive results. If the sequel is anything like its predecessor, Reeves and his team can take all the time they need to complete it.

Next: The Batman Has Already Set Up The Sequels’ Comic-Accurate Costumes

Source: The Corridor Team

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Briana R. Cross