“David had the picture of the movie in his head”

Kevin Tod Haug, the VFX supervisor of ‘Panic Room’–the film is now two decades old–shares key moments from its production.

Ian Failes
March 30, 2022
befores & afters

David Fincher’s Panic Room turns 20 years old this week. The film starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart featured a somewhat memorable troubled production history, partly because the original principal actor Nicole Kidman had to pull out of the project after shooting had began, among other events.

From a visual effects perspective, however, the film is memorable for different reasons. One is the incredible approach taken to extremely long takes inside the main location–a New York brownstone townhouse built on a stage in Redondo Beach–featuring ‘deliberately’ impossible camera moves. These were the result of meticulous previs, motion control and other camera work and a photogrammetry approach to VFX orchestrated by BUF, which had done some similar work on Fincher’s Fight Club.

Another memorable aspect of the film is its unsettling opening titles in which cast and crew names appear as giant lettering framed within New York buildings and locations. The work here was done by Picture Mill and ComputerCafe.

Overseeing those two key visual effects components of Panic Room was visual effects supervisor Kevin Tod Haug, who had also worked with Fincher on Fight Club. He revisits the production in this anniversary chat with befores & afters, looking back at the planning, previs and shoot, and the approach to those impossible camera moves and the unique titles.

Read the full interview

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