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Oscar-winning The Shape of Water used Applied Precision 3D’s expert team

For almost two decades, Applied Precision 3D has applied its expertise in 3D high-tech metrology to helping engineers, architects, designers and manufacturers. Now and then, we also apply the science of 3D metrology to support artistic endeavours. Last spring, one of those projects, Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water, took the Oscars at the Academy Awards for best picture, director, production design and original score.

Applied Precision 3D provided the LiDAR scanning of the sets in director del Toro’s magical realism masterpiece. The scans we provided were used by Toronto-based digital studio Mr. X, whose stunning visual effects transformed sets in Toronto and Hamilton into cold war-era Baltimore and impeccably blended magic with realism.

“It was an honour to be one of the many Toronto area companies that supported the making of this beautiful and powerful film,” says Robert Bell, Applied Precision 3D’s president. “We congratulate Guillermo del Toro for the 13 Oscar nominations and the four Oscars. We also congratulate all the other local first-rate companies and professionals who worked on this production, including the talented team at Mr. X.”

Del Toro’s two-hour movie features the unlikely love story between Octavia Spencer, a mute cleaner at a secret US government laboratory played by Sally Hawkins, and a mysterious amphibian humanoid creature portrayed by Doug Jones. About an hour’s worth of the movie contains Mr. X’s breathtaking visual effects that used point cloud data provided by Applied Precision (click here to watch a video on the making of The Shape of Water’s visual effects).

The sets Applied Precision scanned in the fall of 2016 when the movie was filmed include such locations as Toronto’s City Hall, Massey Hall, Elgin Theatre, Lakeview Restaurant at Dundas and Ossington, as well as a home on Hamilton’s McNab Ave., which was used as the exterior of Octavia’s apartment. At Cinespace Film Studios, Applied Precision scanned the sets of the interior of her apartment as well as the lab where she worked and the creature was held captive.

“The sets were beautiful and really well done,” says Julia Husted, Applied Precision’s project manager for 3D services and a seasoned expert for the art and heritage communities. “I was very impressed with the way they mixed and matched sets for the interior and the exterior scenes in the movie and just overall, they did an amazing job.”

That everyone did an amazing job is not surprising. At last year’s screening of The Shape of Water at the Toronto Film Festival, del Toro described Toronto as one of his homes and a city with technically and artistically top-notch professionals who can deliver for any movie on any scale needed and effectively compete globally. The Shape of Water’s success is testament not just to del Toro’s talent and vision, but also the accuracy of his perception of Toronto.