Spider-Man: No Way Home Digitally Recreated a Huge Chunk of New York City

In the year 2022, you’d be surprised at what items in a blockbuster are “real,” and what items are made with computer-generated imagery. Look at Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Pandemic-related travel restrictions prohibited Marvel Studios from traveling to the region to film plates, so a visual effects vendor had to build it all from the ground up. The same goes for Peter Parker’s (Tom Holland) suit in Spider-Man: No Way Home. A design change at the 11th hour meant Holland’s body for the second half of the film was a digital double.

Because of the film’s massive bridge fight sequence, Marvel Studios was also forced to rebuild a substantial chunk of New York City. Some two-and-a-half square miles, to be exact. While some crews were able to fly to the Big Apple and capture reference shots, the entire majority of that scene, bridge, its surrounding area, and all, were computer-generated.

“The bridge itself from beginning to end is very, very accurate, like literally based on a scan, based on textures, kind of a combination of photogrammetry from the helicopter shoot,” Digital Domain’s Scott Edelstein tells us. “As you get further and further away, within that three miles ish is pretty accurate in the sense that it’s based on photogrammetry from this helicopter, it’s based on Google Earth and open street data, like where things are and the height of things and, what building is where. All that kind of stuff is all very accurate.”

He adds that certain liberties were taken, like the location of trees and other natural items.

“We literally started building our world and then every day we would render what we had, and compare it, like AB it, to the real image that we shot,” he adds. “And we just kept going and kept iterating until what we built looked just like what, the image looked like. So we were like, okay, that’s one to one with what the practical environment is.”

Spider-Man: No Way Home is now in theaters and hits digital release on March 22nd.

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