The Da Vinci Code’s Virtual Location

Watched the Da Vinci Code on MNET last night. On a second viewing, I thought it was pretty good – better in fact than the book which I found a bit obvious (my dog is sharp enough to have guessed the clues.) But it’s still a solid, well made Ron Howard movie that presses most of the right buttons.

I mostly mention the Da Vinci Code because of the massive tourist interest that’s resulted from the film. Just Google it – you’ll find tens of websites promoting guided tours, walking tours, virtual tours of the locations included in the film.

As I was reading about it though, I came across an interesting piece by Emile Lorditch at the American Institute of Physics about the location of Saint-Sulpice Chapel. The location, which is pretty pivotal to the plot, is a historic site that saw the actual baptisms of the Marquis de Sade and Charles Baudelaire and the wedding of Victor Hugo. It was not made available to the filmmakers, who instead, the team turned to technology to solve their problems:

To recreate Saint-Sulpice Chapel artists applied photo projection technology in 3D. First, the compositors started by looking at still photographs taken from inside the chapel. But Mathew Krentz, lead compositor at Rainmaker Animation & Visual Effects, discovered a challenge right away. “All the reference images were taken during the day and the scene was happening at night.” Krentz and his team were able to digitally darken the scenes and even add in moonbeams later to the film to give a dark and shadowy effect. Once the reference images were ready, Les Quinn, lead 3D artist at Rainmaker Animation & Visual Effects, and his team used Lightwave software which uses geometry to create a 3D version of the chapel.

Da Vinci Code Saint-Sulpice Chapel 2

You can read the full story here

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