Recently I was invited to visit the set of the new Uwe Boll film “Far Cry” which is based upon the popular video game by Ubisoft. Filming at Bridge Studios outside of Vancouver B.C, the set for the film was located near where the popular Stargate television series are filmed.
Upon arriving on set, I was given a tour of the production office, and introduced to many of the crew. Uwe was not on set the day of my visit as he had been called away to speak at Comic Con. His assistant Tanja, introduced me to many of the key people in the production, and I was allowed to watch filming, listen in to the creative process, watch effects being rigged, and much more during my visit.
Prior to the start of shooting, I was decked out in Mercenary gear to get a feel for the film. The detailed costume and weaponry was heavier than what I had in the Air Force, and looked great, and was more comfortable than I expected on such a warm day.
With Uwe in San Diego, the work was handled by the second unit, and the first shot of the day involved an action sequence with a Hummer and Helicopter where Emmanuelle Vaugier playing Valerie Cardinal reacts to an intense action scene.
After filming was complete, I was able to watch the playback on the monitors and see how each camera recorded a different perspective of the action. The scene will later be paired with a composite shot and I was able to see how the final shot will look when completed.
During the setup for the next scene, I was able to explore the lab set, and was able to wander the lab corridors of the soundstage. It was amazing to note that on the soundstage there were control rooms, a lab, corridors, observation decks, and mutant cells, and this did not even cover half of the space on the stage.
The next shot I watched was a simulation of a grapple being fired into the bottom of a helicopter. A piece of blue metal was used to simulate the helicopter, and when the FX technicians were ready they fired a cable into the metal. After that shot was complete, the technicians worked to do a follow up shot of the hook being pulled, and needed the metal to give in order to show line tension. It took a couple of tries, but the crew found a very creative way to accomplish the shot.
The next shot of the day was a bit trickier as an electronic control box was wired to explode. The segment in the film covers the aftermath of a firefight where a stray series of shots hits a control box and unlocks the cells holding the mutants.
The box was rigged to show bullet holes and explode, but the tricky part was to blow the box in a way that had the lights flash from the red locked position to the unlocked green.
The scene was intense as it required ear protection and debris guards, but came off without a hitch.
During a break between filming, I was informed that the look and tone of the game was duplicated as much as possible but due to certain restrictions in the rights, some things had to be changed.
For example, the film does have the rights to use the mutants from the game but they are not able to use the same name for them. It is details like this I was told are common when adapting a video game as many times the rights obtained by a filmmaker only cover certain names, and situations, and prohibit others such as plotlines, characters, and locales.
After lunch the action heated up as we were equipped with assault weapons and I was invited to join in on one of the scenes in the film. The scene was an intense shootout, and I was amazed at the amount of ammunition being spent as we filmed.
After completing the scene we went to a control room, where I joined a couple of mercenaries and got out of the combat vests for some light duty monitoring the security controls in the lab.
The set was a lot of fun, and I enjoyed the creative and professional manner of the crew as well as the numerous amounts of information they shared with me during filming. While it is impossible to judge the final product based on one day on the set, it was clear to me that alot of time, and attention has been put into the production, and fans of the game should be happy with the final product when it arrives in 2008.