San Andreas

In the aftermath of a massive earthquake on the SAN ANDREAS fault line, rescue-chopper pilot Wade (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) makes a dangerous journey across California in order to rescue his estranged daughter.

A young woman driving alone in the Californian mountains is forced from the road by the impact of the first earthquake in the film. Her car tumbles over the cliff edge, leaving her hanging precariously over a ravine before the LA Fire Department helicopter comes to her rescue.

Initial shots of the car leaving the road were achieved using a combination of live action footage with CG landslide, car panels, debris and road barrier. In shots where the car flies through the air, a digi-double was used for the actress.

Cinesite VFX Supervisor Holger Voss flew to the Glendora Mountains in California to capture extensive photogrammetry photography from various vantage points, both on the ground and by helicopter. Geometry was derived from this and used to recreate the location digitally, complete with CG cliff face and vegetation.

Holger Voss: The location was scouted until production found a cliff area they liked. This formed the left side of the cliff in our sequence; the right side was always going to be created and added digitally, to make a narrow crevasse into which the car had fallen. We found another cliff which had enough source material we could use to build the other cliff digitally. In order to ensure a seamless fit, we ended up recreating most of the original cliff too.

Cinesite’s environment had to stand up at many angles, both at distance and close up. The team developed a smart way of pre-caching the geometry. A small library of around 12 plants was compiled and reusing them meant that the geometry didn’t need to be reloaded multiple times.

The helicopter is entirely computer generated about 50% of the time, at other times CG rotors were added to a hydraulic rig filmed with the actors in Australia.

  • Release date: 29.05.2015
  • Studio: Warner Bros.
  • Director: Brad Peyton

Pre & Post Comparison

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San Andreas
San Andreas