One of the most welcome surprises of Avengers: Infinity War was the appearance of Game of Thrones star Peter Dinklage as Eitri, king of the Dwarves. The character is introduced about halfway through the Marvel blockbuster on the space forge Nidavellir, where the Emmy-winning actor towers over Chris Hemsworth's Thor. Method, the visual-effects studio behind the sequence, has now revealed how Dinklage's performance was filmed.
"A section of the forge surrounded by a massive blues creen was built to shoot as many of the Thor, Rocket and Groot plates as possible," VFX supervisor Greg Steele explained to Art of VFX. "It also allowed the staging of Eitri and Thor’s interactions. For those shots, because of time challenges with the talent, the directors were willing to restrict themselves to nodal camera moves, which would allow us to quickly move through fairly simple forced perspective setups of the A and B sides of the shot."
The plates Steele refers to are shots originally filmed on blues creen that have new background images added during the post-production process. The plates inserted Nidavellir, along with Thor, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, into the environment around Dinklage while being filmed at forced perspective to further the illusion.
"We would shoot the A side with Thor, then in the same place on set and in the same lighting conditions, we would bring in some portable blue screens and shoot the Eitri plate, accounting for the scale differences by scaling down the camera relationship to the origin point that Eitri was standing on," Steele continued. "For wide shots of the characters moving through the environment with Thor, we used a digi-double of Eitri so we had more flexibility with the camera motion." The wider shots of Eitri interacting with Thor had Dinklage's character completely digitally reproduced.
Method has helped to bring to life the worlds and fantastic powers of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy. The studio returned to work on 2015's Ant-Man, 2016's Captain America: Civil War and 2017's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
In theaters now, Avengers: Infinity War is directed by Joe and Anthony Russo and stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston, and Josh Brolin.