Pacific Rim: Uprising – How the VFX team drifts with cineSync

Customer case study

The brief

We were asked by our client, Cospective, to create a piece that highlighted the use of their award-winning cineSync software in Legendary Pictures, Pacific Rim: Uprising. This virtual effects-laden sequel required some heavy-duty work from studios all around the globe, but how could they ensure all of these shots matched the creative vision of the director? Enter cineSync, the world’s most trusted remote review, and approval system.


The story

Pacific Rim: Uprising is a sumptuous, visual effects-laden feast with work from a range of incredible studios such as ILM, Atomic Fiction, and Double Negative; it's nothing short of an enormous achievement. This feat couldn’t have been achieved so cohesively without a single mind directing the film’s vision. Using cineSync, Chiang collated work pouring in from all corners of the globe, ensuring shots from multiple international studios matched director Steven S. DeKnight’s bold, singular vision. The result is an electrifying experience, one in which every sword slash and booming Kaiju slam lives up to fans’ expectations for the epic sci-fi sequel.

Legendary Entertainment enlisted Chiang for the VFX supervisor role on Pacific Rim: Uprising, knowing his creature feature experience on films such as John Carter and Godzilla (2014) was perfectly suited to this sequel. With almost every shot containing some form of visual effect, Chiang needed to work closely with DeKnight throughout all stages of the production.

With numerous facilities working on the project presented a similarly international affair. From previsualization to final delivery, Chiang oversaw all work and delivered clear, actionable feedback via cineSync, ensuring all ideas made their way from concept to reality without deviating from the initial vision.

“Once I’ve translated what the director wants, I need to wrangle the studios to make sure that they’re moving in the right direction and delivering what the director wants to see,” says Chiang. “There’s a limited amount of time, and if we wander too far, we’ll just chew up that time and the quality of work will suffer. cineSync keeps that from happening … We would do video conferencing and cineSync reviews constantly, ensuring the visual effects were constantly moving in the right direction, through every iteration.”

"For me, there’s no other option out there at the moment. I love cineSync and I always work with it. Every film."

Chiang would present work-in-progress shots to the assembled directors, producers, and coordinators in each cineSync session, gathering feedback while drawing directly onto shots using his Wacom. “I’d stop sequences, draw around robots or sketch in arrows to showcase movement and illustrate what I’m thinking. Everyone involved, from the artists to the director and the producers would instantly understand what everyone else was thinking. It’s impossible to overstate how valuable that is.”


Once a session was over, Chiang would share the automatically generated PDF of all notes, forwarding them to vendors as a critical reference. “The cineSync notes would be used as a blueprint for VFX production on Uprising,” he says. “We’d also video record the session, so that we had a video account of what was discussed. Confusion is anathema to VFX production. cineSync ensured it never enters the process by keeping communications clear.”

Over the years the industry has grown worldwide, and for Chiang, solutions like cineSync are not only handy, they are absolutely essential. “cineSync is the core tool that has enabled us to be anywhere in the world and still have creative discussions. cineSync has made the world smaller, in the best possible way."

"I love cineSync and I always work with it. Every film. We’ve become dependent upon cineSync to be stable and work in a particular way – and I work in a particular way, so I need something tailored to my needs. cineSync is just that. It’s a totally global, totally universal tool.”

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