WHITE HOUSE DOWN: Martyn Culpitt & Mark Wendell

VINCENT FREI | ART OF VFX | SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 | Original Article

Martyn Culpitt started his career in visual effects with the LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, then he worked on films such as VANTAGE POINT, INVICTUS and THE GREEN HORNET. He joined Image Engine in 2012.

Mark Wendell is in VFX for over 20 years. He worked on films like SHREK, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, SPEED RACER or PROMETHEUS.

What is your background?

Martyn Culpitt – Visual Effects Supervisor // I have been working in the Industry for over 20yrs. I initially started my career in film set construction at Marmalade Vision in Wellington, New Zealand in 1992. I soon realized I was more interested in the digital world so changed my job and worked my way through the editorial department of the company, becoming Senior Editor within the first few years. Following my interest in visual effects, I moved to the TV, film and visual effects industry as a 2D artist working on films such as THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, TROPIC THUNDER, TWILIGHT, ANGELS & DEMONS, INVICTUS, SALT and THE GREEN HORNET. I was asked to join Image Engine to work as the Compositing Supervisor for R.I.P.D. in 2012. I had always wanted to work on creature films and it was a great opportunity to expand my experience even further.

Since I started in the industry, I have always tried to push my work and keep learning every project, my goal was to one day become a Visual Effects Supervisor. When I was given the opportunity to work with Roland and the Team at Uncharted Territory as Visual Effects Supervisor on WHITE HOUSE DOWN I was thrilled.

Mark Wendell – CG Supervisor // I’ve been in the vfx and animation biz for over twenty years, wearing many hats, including CG supervision, lighting, compositing, pipeline, fx, tools development, layout, and I even have an ‘animation supervisor’ credit! That’s one of the things I like about CG supervision, frankly, is that it’s an excuse to do lots of different jobs throughout the pipeline. I started in this business back when there weren’t any schools for learning CG, and in fact I have a biology degree, so everything I know about CG was self-taught and learned on the job.

How was the collaboration with director Roland Emmerich?

Martyn Culpitt – Visual Effects Supervisor // Our collaboration with Roland was a very smooth process. Working through Marc and Volker we had direct feedback as soon as we needed it, so there was no wasting time. Roland always gave concise feedback and direction, but he would listen to us and appreciated our ideas, which helped us take the shots to the highest level we could together. It did honestly feel like a collaboration rather than Roland just giving notes.

What was his approach to the visual effects?

Martyn Culpitt – Visual Effects Supervisor // Roland, Marc and Volker had done a lot of previs for the film; most films do as it saves a lot of time in the end. On WHITE HOUSE DOWN, It felt like Roland took it to the next level where he would sculpt and design each camera and shot in previs and even further with the team at Uncharted Territory once they had completed filming, before passing it off to us to create the final shot. By the time we started working with them they had pretty much locked down every camera angle and shot. This gave us time to work on the more important details of each shot and given the time constraints we had this was ideal.

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