Meet Dave

ROLE: Flame Artist | VFX Compositor
VENDOR: Hydraulx
CLIENT: 20th Century Fox
DIRECTOR: Brian Robbins

Without a doubt, Eddie Murphy’s sci-fi comedy “Meet Dave” was a far more challenging production than anyone could have realized. The concept was silly. Eddie Murphy plays the captain of a team of very tiny aliens, who travel in a very human-sized robotic spaceship named Dave, which, not-coincidentally, looks exactly like Eddie Murphy.

Essentially, this involved miniaturizing Eddie, and co-star Gabrielle Union, for many, many shots. Straightforward enough, with the exception that all the greenscreen photography was evenly lit, almost 70s sitcom-style, not acknowledging any given shot’s lighting conditions. Add to that Eddie wearing a pristine white suit, which notoriously captures green spill, and you have a recipe for a lot of challenging and time-consuming hard work.

I touched a number of shots from the New York sidewalk sequence, where a recently marooned miniature Eddie and Gabrielle attempt to return to starship Dave, who’s walking through the busiest part of downtown. This involved greenscreen comps of Gabrielle getting blown through the air and landing in a wad of gum, a CG Eddie and Gabrielle landing on Dave’s shoe, and a greenscreen shot of a dog relieving himself on a fire hydrant, with Eddie and Gabrielle narrowly escaping.

I also worked on the finale’s Liberty Island escape, where Dave attempts to elude capture by blasting off. This consisted of compositing smoke and fire exhaust from Dave’s feet, adding a CG net to ensnare him, and removing rigs to simulate take-off.

Lastly, I contributed work to the final views of Eddie and Gabrielle successfully leaving Earth, viewing the planet through the shoe’s window as they depart in celebration.