“This was probably our biggest digital shot – we spent a lot of time making the elements come together, from the digital fire and trees to the DMP work that surrounds them,” says Kimbacher. “The fire had to look dangerous to make the scene work, while also not completely taking over. It took a bit of fine-tuning across all elements to get that to work, but in the end we locked in a look that made the fire insistently dangerous without going beyond the realms of reality. The more authentic it was, the more intense it felt, after all.”The conflagration remain hot at the heels of Sawyer and family as it chases them up The Pearl’s many floors, working its way from one storey to the next. As the sequence progresses, Sawyer finds himself separated from his family as a sky bridge collapses under the structural damage caused by the raging inferno.Here, Image Engine’s team worked to create the surging flames and added to the on set elements with a variety of 2.5D fire assets.“We worked to increase the pressing element of danger – we wanted to get the audience to feel that inferno of trees in the theater,” says Kimbacher. “It ended up being a combination of asset work and digital matte painting work, as we extended the set in the background as we also added fire to it. On top of that we added smoke, embers and a heat haze, and then did some heavy grading and really pushed the colours, emphasising the ferocity of the blaze surging below the protagonists.”Once again, Image Engine shared the sequence with ILM and Iloura, with shots cutting between work produced across the three separate facilities. As with the previous sequence, the studios kept in constant communication, ensuring that no one asset looked out of place, and that the final edit felt smooth and consistent from start of sequence to end.Reaching the summitSkyscraper presented a technical challenge in more ways than one. Not only did Image Engine need to instil a sense of vertigo in viewers and make them feel the heat of a surging blaze, but needed to do so while considering the work of other facilities in the context of their own shots. Consistency and efficiency were the key driving factors in making the project come off without a hitch.“We had to maximize our productivity and efficiency on this show,” says Anderson. “Working in 2D for many of the shots certainly helped with that, as it streamlined the process and reduced the amount of variables involved.“Nevertheless, sharing sequences with other vendors meant that close collaboration was an absolute must. Thankfully, with our pipeline in place we were primed to execute and edit work at speed, empowering us to take on 178 shots within the eight-week period. We were totally comfortable with executing within the time we had to the quality that was required.

“Overall it was a really great experience,” concludes Kimbacher. “We had the opportunity to meet the director, and it was a total pleasure collaborating with the other studios involved. It was a real team effort – the results of which have made the Image Engine team very proud indeed.”