19 photos that show how 'Avengers: Infinity War' looks without visual effects

Marvel, Kirsten Acuna/INSIDERThe ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ cast filmed the Battle of Wakanda on a giant field in Georgia.
  • “Avengers: Infinity War” contains about 2,900 visual effects shots.
  • INSIDER combed through behind-the-scenes videos and photos taken of the set to show the work that went into making Marvel’s $US2 billion box-office gem.
  • A lot of motion capture suits were worn, including one by Josh Brolin, who plays Thanos.
  • Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time.

In order to bring the third “Avengers” movie to life, it took years of work from the cast and crew. On the movie’s special features, executive producer Victoria Alonso says there are about 3,000 shots in the movie. About 2,900 of those are visual effects shots.

INSIDER went through behind-the-scenes videos released by Marvel along with photos taken of the set to compare with final scenes from the finished movie.

While the film has a lot of CG effects, it’s not all blue and green screen. “Infinity War” has more practical sets than you may have expected.

“Avengers: Infinity War” brings together over two dozen characters from across the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

MarvelWong, Doctor Strange, Bruce Banner, and Tony Stark react to a sound outside.

The film includes multiple locations ranging from Wakanda, New York City, and different planets like Vormir and Titan.

While the film does a great job of immersing the audience in these foreign locations, most of them took place in one location.

MarvelThe Guardians of the Galaxy are just on one fancy soundstage.

A lot of the filming took place on stages in Fayetteville, Georgia. Pinewood Atlanta Studios served as the location for many of the sets you see in “Infinity War.”

While it looks like Doctor Strange, Tony Stark, Bruce Banner, and Wong were on the New York City streets at the film’s start, that wasn’t the case.

Disney/Marvel StudiosThis foursome is not in NYC, but it sure looks like it.

The group was outside for a lot of this scene, it just wasn’t in New York.

Production designer Charles Wood retooled a street in Georgia to look like Bleecker Street in NYC.

According to co-director Joe Russo, part of this scene was shot on set with green screen, but the rest was on a real street in Atlanta, Georgia.

“They were gracious enough to let us light it on fire,” said screenwriter Christopher Markus on the movie’s commentary.

Cull Obsidian looked like a formidable threat on screen to Tony Stark and Doctor Strange.

MarvelCull Obsidian (on the left) with Ebony Maw.

He visits Earth near the film’s start to gather the Time stone from Doctor Strange.

But in reality, he was just a man in a motion-capture suit while filming.

Terry Notary also does the movements for Teen Groot in “Infinity War.” He has provided the motion capture for many memorable on-screen characters ranging from Kong in “Kong: Skull Island” to Rocket in the newer “Planet of the Apes” franchise.

When we saw the Guardians of the Galaxy in their space ship searching for the source of a distress call, they really were in a ship.

MarvelA scene from ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ shows Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord react when he sees the destruction by Thanos to the Asgardian ship.

Star-Lord just wasn’t managing the large vessel it appeared to be on screen.

It was just a bit smaller than the one you see on screen.

MarvelHere’s how the Guardians’ ship looked on set.

Space consisted of a lot of blue screen.

Gamora’s father Thanos was a formidable figure on-screen…

MarvelThanos easily crushes any of the Avengers who try to go up against him in ‘Infinity War.’

The Mad Titan towered over every other character in the movie. But that wasn’t the case on set.

Thanos looked a lot less scary when you knew he was just Josh Brolin in a motion capture suit.

MarvelIt’s quite a look.

Brolin was happy to wear the suit, though.

After seeing what Benedict Cumberbatch did with motion-capture technology to bring the dragon Smaug to life in “The Hobbit” movies, Brolin wanted in on “Infinity War.”

“I’d never done anything like that – motion capture,” Brolin told SiriusXM. “I thought I was going to be behind a bunch of lights and a bunch of cameras, but it wasn’t like that. It was practical, working with people. It’s a phenomenal process.”

Sometimes, Brolin’s costume included wearing a cardboard cut-out of Thanos’ head above his own.

MarvelIt had to be a little difficult to act out serious scenes across from Brolin while he was wearing that.

This was so actors had a point of reference while acting opposite him.

You can see more photos of Brolin filming “Avengers: Infinity War” here.

Even this scene with Thanos adopting a young Gamora isn’t purely CG.

MarvelThanos takes Gamora from her home planet.

The men with Thanos aren’t purely CG. There were actors standing in their place.

Josh Brolin and other actors playing his stooges wore motion capture outfits.

MarvelBlue screen filled in the backdrop of the planet they were on, but the ground was really there.

Others were in full costumes and makeup on set. Even the canopy Thanos and Gamora stood under was mostly built for the scene.

When Doctor Strange gets captured by Ebony Maw, he’s suspended in the air as he gets tortured.

MarvelStrange was in quite the predicament.

Though the needles weren’t really there, Strange was really in the air.

Cumberbatch was really being suspended in midair.

MarvelThere’s no stunt double right there. Cumberbatch was held up by strings, at least right here.

In other scenes, Martin de Boer stepped in for Cumberbatch as the actor’s stunt double. You can see them together here on set.

Vision, Scarlet Witch, and members of the Black Order fight on top of a cathedral early in the movie.

MarvelThat’s not just any cathedral.

The two are trying to escape from Proxima Midnight and her husband Corvus Glaive. Proxima and Corvus are trying to secure one of the Infinity stones from Vision’s head.

The team actually filmed at the St. Giles’ Cathedral in Edinburgh.

Courtesy WeAreWireThis is the St. Giles Cathedral.

The crew filmed there in April.

So when you see Corvus Glaive going after Vision on the rooftop…

MasrvelCorvus Glaive is one of four members of the Black Order.

Corvus attempts to remove the stone from Vision’s head.

…that’s actually happening.

Splash NewsMichael Shaw films scenes for ‘Infinity War’ in April 2017.

It was just an actor, Michael Shaw, in a motion-capture suit.

And when you see the group head to the train station, that filming really took place at the Waverley station in Edinburgh, Scotland.

MarvelScarlet Witch gets ready to defend Vision against the Black Order.

Moments later, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon showed up to join the fight.

Production designer Charles Wood built several items, including a coffee shop at Waverley train station.

Splash NewsA scene in Edinburgh Waverley Station that Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ took over for filming in May 2017. Proxima Midnight gets plunged through the fake coffee shop.

The fake coffee shop originally concerned real coffee shop owners at the station.

“What Joe [Russo] wanted to do with the Royal Mile was give it a more kind of Kafka-esque feeling,” said Wood in the movie’s production notes. “On Corbin Street, which is a lovely curved street, we built a bunch of interiors, one of which was a famous kebab that everyone seemed to love. We also did a lot of facades along that street as well. And lastly, at Waverley train station we put more set pieces into the middle of a station, including a coffee shop, which caught the eye of all of the coffee shops in the station who were all up in arms until they realised it would never serve coffee.”

Peter Dinklage played Eitri, the King of the Dwarves, who towered over Thor, Groot, and Rocket Raccoon.

MarvelPeter Dinklage also stars on ‘Game of Thrones.’

Eitri was forced to make Thanos an Infinity Gauntlet to wield the Infinity Stones.

In reality, Dinklage filmed alongside mini cutouts of his co-stars.

MarvelThat’s Dinklage next to a mini Thor, Groot, and Rocket.

According to Method Studios’ visual effects supervisor Greg Steele, Chris Hemsworth would shoot Thor’s scenes on set and then bluescreens would be brought in to shoot Eitri’s scenes before they were married together.

Read more: ‘Game of Thrones’ star Peter Dinklage acted next to small cutouts of his ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ co-stars to look massive in the movie

The giant battle in Wakanda didn’t take place in a building either.

MarvelProduction needed the scenes in Wakanda to feel real.

A giant farm was transformed into Wakanda.

Those scenes were filmed outside in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.

MarvelThe crew was really standing in tall grass waiting to battle.

Specifically, the scenes were filmed at the 8,000 acre farm called Chattahoochee Hills Eventing.

“It was a big ranch in Georgia that we transformed into the fields of Wakanda,” said co-director Anthony Russo on one of the special features for “Infinity War.”

Trees that are more indigenous to Africa were added along with a makeshift river.

MarvelAccording to the movie’s production notes, the river was about 400-feet long.

“Charlie Wood and his art department actually carved an artificial river through the center of this field and we had a gigantic pump that could do like 30,000 gallons a minute,” said Anthony Russo. “It was very elaborate.”

So while you saw the Avengers fighting off a group of aliens…

MarvelAt least 70 extras and stunt people were on set for the Battle of Wakanda.

At least 70 people and stunt performers were expanded to about 500 people digitally. They were fighting about 10,000 digital beasts.

The crew had to fight off rainy days and mud to film the battle.

…they were really fighting.

MarvelKevin Feige says on the movie’s special features that this is the largest battle Marvel has brought to screen.

You don’t see them here, but men in motion-capture suits stood in for the alien beasts called outriders.

Thor really carried around an axe on set of “Infinity War” during the Battle of Wakanda.

MarvelThor travelled to Wakanda to fight Thanos with Groot and Rocket Raccoon.

The axe didn’t light up like Thor’s real Stormbreaker.

It just looked a little easier to carry.

MarvelHis friends Rocket Raccoon and Groot weren’t by his side either.

Any blue screens were replaced with scenes from Africa.

Thanos’ battle on Titan against Tony Stark and the Guardians of the Galaxy was filmed on set in Atlanta, but it wasn’t all green screens.

Disney/Marvel StudiosSpider-Man, Tony Stark, Doctor Strange (not seen), and the Guardians of the Galaxy gather on Titan to try and thwart Thanos’ plan.

When you see Spidey, Tony, Drax, Peter Quill, and Mantis on Titan, they were actually surrounded by a set that looked pretty realistic for the most part.

Yes, there was a green screen there, but the actors had a lot to interact with to make Titan feel real.

MarvelTom Holland on set with Robert Downey Jr., Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, and Chris Pratt.

Anthony and Joe Russo said it took months to plan the sequence on Titan. The background shots you see are actually scenes from Chile that were shot.

When the actors were going up against Thanos to get the gauntlet off his hand …

MarvelDoctor Strange, Iron Man, and more try to pin Thanos down.

Josh Brolin’s character was really in the center of the characters while filming. He just looked a bit different.

… they were fighting a double on a platform.

MarvelDoctor Strange and Drax can be seen going up against the Thanos stand-in.

To get everything just right, the actors looked at how the scenes were envisioned in previsualization. Previz puts together a rough idea of what a big scene is expected to look like when it’s done in an easy-to-view format.

When Thanos blasts Star-Lord, Drax, and Nebula with the power stone, they weren’t just falling in the movie.

MarvelThe three fall to the ground almost instantly.

Thanos stops them right in their tracks.

They did that on set, too.

MarvelChris Pratt, Drax, and Karen Gillan all gracefully fell onto a green screen.

The trio didn’t do all of their own stunts. Chris Romrell filled in for Pratt during the movie while

While Josh Brolin wore a motion-capture suit for much of the movie, Robert Downey Jr. wore a piece of his Iron Man costume.

MarvelTony Stark and Spider-Man strategize with the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Downey Jr. also had a motion-capture suit, but his looked a bit different.

Downey Jr.’s suit helped him look partially like Iron Man on set.

MarvelEverything from the waist up looked like Iron Man.

In the photo above, Downey Jr. is speaking one-on-one with Thanos.

“Avengers: Infinity War” is currently available to stream on Netflix. It’s one of six movies we recommend watching again before “Avengers: Endgame.”

Josh Brolin was really wearing a version of the Infinity Gauntlet when he delivered that life-altering snap at the film’s end.

MarvelThor should have gone for the head!

And Chris Hemsworth really did drive a version of Stormbreaker into Brolin’s chest. The difference is that the real Stormbreaker used looks like it was a foam piece and not the same one Thor had on the battlefield.

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