The Vatican wouldn't let the Da Vinci Code filmcrew film inside one of Paris' most ancient churches, so to complete 'The Da Vinci Code', with the miracle of Computer Graphics, they made their own - inside Shepperton Studios.
The Real inside of Saint-Sulpice
Click to enlarge: The Virtual inside of Saint-Sulpice
Saint-Sulpice was an equally mighty fortress for The Da Vinci Code director Ron Howard who wanted to film a night scene there. The Catholic Church, which has denounced Brown’s Da Vinci Code book, refused to give the film crew permission to shoot inside the famous Parisian church.
Moreover, the church is not open at night. But audiences who attend the Sony Pictures film will still see the pivotal scene. Rainmaker Animation and Visual Effects solved the mystery of how to shoot the scene without filming inside. They used a greenscreen set and digital set extensions, of course, but the answer isn’t as simple as that.
Greenscreen, to allow space for computer generated backgrounds
The set, which was built inside a 40-foot, 360-degree greenscreen, had a tiled floor, some chairs, pillars, and candles – the lighting replicated a nighttime scene. Because a one-to-one scale wouldn’t fit on the largest stage at Shepperton, the set was 15% smaller than the real church. To extend the set, Rainmaker brought a wireframe model and a computer system that fed the CG model into the 35mm camera. “They could point the camera somewhere and within two minutes the camera operator could see the arches and the angles they would see in the real church,” says Breakspear.
Read more about it at CG Society.