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The Testaments

The Testaments is a special-venue Biblical epic, shot on 65mm film. Matte World Digital created several establishing shots of Mayan cities using digital matte painting techniques as described below.

The live-action portion of this shot was filmed in Hawaii, and included a partial set. The extras seen above were then walked to the right side of the frame and re-shot. The two plates were then combined to create the larger crowd visible in the final shot below.

The final shot seen here includes the matte painting, a moving sky, a cloud shadow that passes over the large pyramid in the foreground, 2D-warped moving trees, several CG people, CG water in the distant lake, and a few CG birds (not seen here) thrown in for good measure.

Here we see some on-location photography.

The pyramids seen here in the final shot were created in MWD's model shop, and augmented with digital matte painting. All the canoes on the river and their occupants are computer-generated.

Here we have actors shot in bright daylight against a bluescreen.

MWD turned the scene into a dramatic night shot of the Mayan city's destruction. Many of the temples are miniatures, again modified with digital paint. The fires are all practical elements filmed at the site of a large fire at a tire recycling plant, though much of the smoke was digitally painted and animated in 2D. The water was completely computer-generated to reflect the fires along the shore.

This is on-location photography. The huts on the far shore were part of the set.

The final shot was actually a tilt down, framing the sky with the bright star and moving down to a boy running up the path and into a hut. Here we see the entire height of the shot, before the tilt is added.

Here we see an actor shot in front of a blue-screen.

The final shot includes a digital matte painting based on miniature photography, an animated sky, and 2D morphed trees swaying in the breeze.

In this live-action photography, the actor portraying Jesus is standing on a small hydraulic platform that decends a couple of feet during the shot.

Here we see the final shot, which shows Jesus decending in an animated "beam of light". The light was created using in-house software written specifically for this shot.

Film Credits

Film Credits