When Loki creates a psychic link between himself and Valkyrie during Taikia Waititi’s Thor: Ragnarok, he’s given the briefest glimpse into the warrior’s past. He witnesses the time when she and all of Asgard’s other Valkyries fell in battle against Hela. Though the scene was shot in live-action, it looks and feels like an epic painting in motion, and Waititi shared some behind-the-scenes visuals of it on Twitter.
Dozens of people put thousands of hours into creating Ragnarok‘s breathtaking visual effects, but last night the director took to Twitter to call out Carlo Van de Roer and Stuart Rutherford, the two founders of Satellite Lab, the New York City-based studio that built the camera technology used to film the flashbacks.
It’s called DynamicLight and even in its earliest stages, Satellite’s camera rig was able to capture the depth of shadow and blinding brightness at high speeds so that when slowed down all motion takes on the dramatic weight of the scene in the film. They write: “When using a high speed cinema camera and light sources moving at over 3,048.00m per second, this technology creates the ability to move light sources within images frozen in time.”
Take this video of Waititi jumping around with trash and cinderblocks, for example. Mundane, but also majestic:
My dear friends @carlovanderoer & @stuetr from @TheSatelliteLab created the look for Valkyrie's flashback in Thor: Ragnarok. It's the first time in cinema that this technique has been used. Here's an early development test from a few years ago. #NZbrainsRule pic.twitter.com/7PvLi7vgrQ
— Taika Waititi (@TaikaWaititi) January 26, 2018
It’s creative camera techniques and vision like that which gave Ragnarok the distinctive visual language that made it so fun to watch. Hopefully more filmmakers will use it in the future (in their own ways) to keep Marvel’s comic book movies evolving.