By integrating Quadro professional graphics into their creative pipeline, the Sony Pictures Imageworks team was able to layout and render truly complex action sequences. One of the most challenging was the first attack by Grendel in Hrothgar’s mead hall. With over 70 characters and one moving camera battling it out in the hall, Zemeckis decided where the camera would be and how the action would play out after all the data was integrated into the real-time 3D scene. Only a small portion of the total action is shown in the final camera field of view, but the performance of Quadro graphics allowed him to layout and render all of the characters before deciding where the camera should be placed for the final shots.
Beowulf pushed the limits of Quadro performance throughout the film’s production. One of the most challenging shots was a 107-second shot that started with approximately 60 characters dancing in the mead hall, which then moved to the roof of the hall, across four miles of countryside, and concluded in Grendel’s cave. With characters, props, and terrain rendered in real time with full lighting and textures, the shot was divided into three sections for real-time pre-viz then edited back together. Zemeckis, however, was still able to visualize it appropriately and the full shot appears unbroken in the final film.