- “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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Space consisted of a lot of blue screen.
Gamora’s father Thanos was a formidable figure on-screen…
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.
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.
This was so actors had a point of reference while acting opposite him.
Even this scene with Thanos adopting a young Gamora isn’t purely CG.
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.
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.
Though the needles weren’t really there, Strange was really in the air.
Cumberbatch was really being suspended in midair.
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.
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.
The crew filmed there in April.
So when you see Corvus Glaive going after Vision on the rooftop…
Corvus attempts to remove the stone from Vision’s head.
…that’s actually happening.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The giant battle in Wakanda didn’t take place in a building either.
A giant farm was transformed into Wakanda.
Those scenes were filmed outside in Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia.
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.
“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…
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.
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.
The axe didn’t light up like Thor’s real Stormbreaker.
It just looked a little easier to carry.
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.
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.
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 …
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.
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.
Thanos stops them right in their tracks.
They did that on set, too.
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.
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.
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.
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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