The Hunger Games Control Room FUI from Concept to Final Result

By Sajeeth Cherian posted Aug 01, 2013 09:00AM

One of the biggest changes in the film adaptation of The Hunger Games was the addition of the Hunger Games control room. Since book is told from Katniss' point of view, Seneca Crane, the head Gamemaker of the 74th Hunger Games, plays a much smaller role compared to the film and the control room is never seen in the book. Director Gary Ross and VFX Supervisor Sheena Dugal came to the realization that the control room could useful as a storytelling device and have the added benefit of showing how the gamemakers control the Hunger Games.

After working with more established concept artists and not getting the desired results, Sheena hired a young artist named Reid Southen to help realize her vision. Reid came up with concept art for the control room, the control desk, the fire interfaces and the Muttation interfaces which can be viewed in detail on his deviantART page. Once completed, this concept art was then passed on to VFX studio Hybride during pre-production phase of the film.

Rather than just letting the Gamemaker actors do random stuff with their hands, Sheena wanted their performances to be more believable so she had Hybride create a series of concept animations, seen in this behind the scenes YouTube video. These animations were used as a performance reference for the actors prior to shooting the control room scenes. The final screen designs seen in the movie were created in post-production to match the actual performances of the actors with input from Gary on screen content.

In addition to creating the concept animations, a team of over 80 people at Hybride were responsible for the visual effects in the Control Room scene and a number of other shots throughout the movie. The FUI designs in the Control Room scene were the work of a single designer, who was working with Hybride, named Paul Beaudry. Paul's past credits include designing FUI for Spy Kids 4 and working on the Ops Center FUI in Avatar.

In the end, the original concept art and concept animations were tossed aside and Paul was tasked with redesigning all of the user interfaces found in the control room. Not only was this a large amount of work but the team encountered other challenges like dealing with curved interfaces while tracking the movement of the 48 different hands. Over a period of several months and the use of Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema4D, these challenges were overcome and the spectacular final result can be seen throughout The Hunger Games.