The crew behind Furious 7 worked tirelessly to make Paul Walker's final film a fitting legacy and a well-documented aspect of the process was using body doubles and VFX to complete unfinished scenes featuring the late star.
The incredible work that the special effects team managed to pull off with the help of Paul's younger brother, Cody, as a body double, is truly impressive, so much so that many fans are none the wiser about which scenes are work of this state-of-the-art visual trickery.
But, if you've ever been curious about which scenes are the results of after effects alchemy and which ones are 100 percent Paul, a Imgur super fan has compiled a handy list so you can really scrutinize the VFX shots.
Below I have compiled a list of shots featuring the incredibly realistic 'digital double' that was created along with some more information about just how this groundbreaking technological feat came about.
Brian and Mia Have a Serious Discussion
In order to honor Walker's legacy, the VFX team was determined to retain as many close up shots as possible that would show his character's personality. This means that many scenes you might not expect were given the VFX treatment, for example the serious scene between Brian and Mia above. Joe Letteri, the senior VFX supervisor for the movie explained:
"We had to complete a performance — what Paul Walker would have done if he’d been able to continue. And it had to be his performance, there was no way to do this without closeups because anything else would have shortchanged his performance and the film."
Brian and Dom Kick Back in Dubai
Although it was the use of VFX in action scenes that grabbed the column inches, it was really the more slow paced conversational scenes that stretched the technological limits. Visual effects supervisor Martin Hill explained that the bus sequence got a lot of media attention, but it:
"Paled in comparison to scenes such as Paul sitting still, or delivering dialog in closeup, because you don’t have the action and the kinetic cutting to help distract from the effects."
That Driving Between Buildings Scene
The digital models of Paul Walker included extensive work on Walker’s hair and skin. For example, how his facial muscles moved, how he would blush after exertion or how his hair color changed depending on the light. VFX designers even worked to make sure he blinked in character when they noticed Walker blinked less when he was playing Brian O'Connor. Hill explained how his desire was to create a photorealistic human, but he admitted this was exceptionally challenging:
"That’s a high bar in itself, to create that. Beyond that, this actor was known to millions of fans, and this had to be Paul Walker — more specifically, Walker in character as Brian O’Conner."
It wasn't just clever computer programming that bought Paul back to life in Furious 7 though, there was also a huge human effort from Paul's brothers Cody and Caleb who were motion captured acting out various roles so that the digital model could be applied.
Cody told E! News that he was exceptionally proud of his work, he explained:
"Of course [he'd be proud]. It's the best one yet, there's no doubt. It was a bit of a rollercoaster being part of that, but I got to do it with Caleb…that made it an easier process."
Brian Tools Up for Action
Digital effects coordinators acknowledged that working on Furious 7 was a sad experience at time, but Hill says it was "the high point of my career." He went on to explain that his team stayed motivated through grueling deadlines because:
"We knew we were doing something special for the filmmakers, the fans, the family — and for Paul’s legacy. We wanted to give him the sendoff that he deserved.”
The Last Goodbye
I think all true Fast fans will agree, there is no arguing with Hill's words when you view the truly emotion last goodbye that they managed to craft so beautifully.