VFX Breakdown for “The Commuter” from Cinesite

Cinesite collaborated with StudioCanal and Liongate’s to work on “The Commuter” and produced 800 shots for the film, which included digital doubles, continuous action shots, environment builds and a full train crash sequence using CGI. This was not a small project as the workload required a global team working with artist in Montreal and London covering multiple areas of CGI production.

The train crash sequence required a 2km long environment which included a train station, forestry, tracks and industrial detritus. A large amount of visual FX were required to pull of some of the stunning results such as flying gravel, breaking and deforming tracks, exploding sleepers as well as damage to the train carriage. Other effects for fog, dust smoke and fire were also required. This involved death-defying stunts which was done using a digital double of Liam Neeson.

Cinesite were also responsible for earlier footage in the film which showed the continued daily repetition of Neeson’s commute. In a shot of Grand Central Station, multiple iterations of the character’s journey are shown at the same time with the crowds around gradually accelerating while Neeson’s character continues as at regular pace.

To achieve everything for this shot, motion control passes and photogrammetry techniques were implemented and the full production of CGI commuter characters which appear later in the shots which would need smooth transition from CGI to real life character.