WETA Workshop

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Weta Workshop is a physical effects company based in Miramar, New Zealand, known for producing effects for television and film. It was to have been responsible for producing physical effects for the theatrical Halo film, and provided the physical props used in the Landfall shorts directed by Neill Blomkamp.

About Weta Workshop[edit]

The fully functional, full-scale Warthog built by Weta Workshop.

Weta Workshop is situated in Wellington, New Zealand and is a comprehensive film and television effects facility that houses a large and varied skill base of creative technicians. Best known for their work on major film productions such as the Lord of the Rings film trilogy and Avatar, Weta Workshop is a four time Academy Award winning company that offers services to all aspects of the creative industry including design, special make-up effects and prosthetics, creatures, armour, weapons, miniatures, prop building, large scale sculpture, display work and costuming.

Weta Workshop is co-owned by friends and colleagues Richard Taylor, Tania Rodger, Peter Jackson and Jamie Selkirk. They have gathered around them a like-minded team with a level of experience, enthusiasm and flexibility that enables Weta Workshop to tackle almost any creative challenge. Weta Workshop is closely associated with Weta Digital (three time Academy Award winning company) and their complimentary relationship is reflected in their integrated approach towards solving specific film making issues and challenges. Weta Workshop also has a successful merchandising business, a chain mail making business and is currently producing its own television series.[1]

Weta Workshop is a 65,000 square foot facility in the suburb of Miramar, five minutes drive from the city's airport and 15 minutes from central Wellington. Weta Workshop is only a few minutes from Wellington's largest studio complex and affiliate business Stone Street Studios, and other associated film production services, including Weta Digital and Park Road Post, are also located nearby.

Weta Workshop is well known for their use of "Bigatures," models of places so large that using the term "miniature" is an oxymoron. Such places include the Helms Deep set and the Minas Tirith set (constructed for the Lord of the Rings films, both built in the same exact place. It may have been that bigatures would have been created of areas on Halo for the film.

Halo[edit]

Bungie employees "hunting cougars" outside the studio building with WETA-made replica weapons.

WETA Workshop produced weapon and equipment props for the Halo: Landfall short films, including replicas of the Battle Rifle and Gravity Hammer. A few of these replicas were auctioned off on eBay in July, 2011.[2][3] In early September 2009, a Bungie employee was carrying the replica Sniper Rifle in public. Mistaking it for an AK-47, a well-meaning bystander called the Kirkland police, leading to a temporary lockdown of Bungie Studios. This incident led to the Bungie.net homepage joke "we promise to keep our sniper rifles off the street."[4]

Weta Workshop also designed several Halo: Reach Mongoose ATVs for the Mountain Dew Honor The Code promotion.

Warthog[edit]

Weta Workshop's perhaps most major Halo-related product is an operational Warthog replica created for Halo: Landfall. Described as a "fully-functioning, four-wheel steering, powerful, off-road vehicle with a machine gun on the back", it is complete with raised suspension and is able to support an armored "marine" manning the chain gun, though it is difficult to stay in due to the lack of support. It is superficially near-identical to the actual Warthog, although the vehicle's suspension architecture is more conventional than that of its fictional counterpart due to obvious real-world engineering constraints involved with replicating the pre-2554 model's futuristic suspension. In their January 2009 issue, Official Xbox Magazine covered a story on editorial contributor Alistair Wallis, whom they sent to WETA Workshop to drive the Warthog. Alistair commented that "the windshield is game-accurate... with poor visibility."

As the only official Warthog replica in existence, it was reused in Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn with minor superficial modifications.[5]

Gallery[edit]

Sources[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.wetanz.com/
  2. ^ eBay: Bungie: Original Halo Weta UNSC Marine Armor
  3. ^ eBay: Bungie: Original Halo Weta UNSC Battle Rifle
  4. ^ Bungie.net: Bungie Weekly Update: 09/04/09
  5. ^ YouTube: Halo 4: Forward Unto Dawn Behind the Scenes - "Shooting the Warthog Chase"