The Monuments Men

George Clooney heads a team of historians, architects and other experts on a mission to track down stolen masterpieces in MONUMENTS MEN. Set during World War II, they are in a race against time to find and protect the artworks before Hitler’s “Hero Decree” destroys them.

A key sequence in the film takes place in Merkers Gold Room, where Bill Murray turns on the lights in an underground salt mine to reveal a vast array of gold bars in bags and cash in boxes, stretching back as far as the eye can see.

The original set was only about 20 feet wide and deep, with the actors filmed in front of a green screen.  It was important to ensure that the environment looked as 3-dimensional and vast in depth as possible.  Cinesite used photogrammetry photography to capture objects on set as reference for generating CG textured models; these included rail tracks, trolley, end stop, gas canisters, bags of gold and boxes of cash. These models were added to a Maya scene with a lighting rig, replicating a continuation of the set lighting.

An image was rendered from a fully raytraced, global illuminated scene, with all the lights switched on. It was important not to lock down the sequence in which the lights could come on, so the team rendered an occlusion pass for each spot light. A script was set up in Nuke where the light passes could illuminate the background in any order by bringing through the beauty pass and adding proper directional shadows. Grain and anamorphic lens flares and aberration completed the photo realistic look.

Other shots which Cinesite produced, including those in the Streets of Siegen sequence, required the creation of a battle devastated city, merging into the forest and hills behind the foreground action.  Again, photogrammic reference was used to create ruins and piles of rubble.  The shots were laid out in Modo to give a full CG scene with an epic sense of parallax.

  • Release date: 07.02.2014
  • Studio: Sony Pictures Entertainment, 20th Century Fox
  • Director: George Clooney

Pre & Post Comparison

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Merkers Gold Room
Destroyed City
The Monuments Men