‘Challengers’ VFX Team Reveals the Creation of the Tennis Ball POV Scene

Challengers, the tennis movie starring Zendaya, Mike Faist, and Josh O’Connor, might not initially seem reliant on visual effects, yet it extensively incorporates them. Notably, a mesmerizing 24-second shot follows a volley from the ball’s viewpoint, achieved through a mix of digital and practical visual effects, as revealed by VFX supervisor Brian Drewes on X.

The shot was captured using an Arri Alexa LF camera on a 30-foot technocrane, requiring five hours of shooting with stunt doubles. This was followed by stitching together 23 distinct shots to craft the final breathtaking sequence.

Advanced LiDAR and photogrammetry techniques captured the tennis court for precise modeling. Over a hundred actors and extras were also scanned to realistically fill the digital crowd.

Subsequent CG work refined the camera movements and adjusted for time-of-day variations. The stunt doubles’ faces received enhancements via a blend of fully CG heads and supplemental photography, according to Drewes.

The purpose behind these efforts was to vividly capture the sport’s intensity, turmoil, and fervor, reflecting the film’s central motifs. Ultimately, it serves as an innovative and dynamic method to present an otherwise standard tennis match.

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