Brien is an award-winning director from Los Angeles best known for his visionary cinematic work on the HALO franchise.
Inspired by contrasts, Brien juxtaposes human-driven stories against expansive worlds – exploring both the personal and the epic. Whether directing Nathan Fillion and Mike Colter as Spartan super-soldiers for Microsoft, or Samuel L. Jackson as a foul-mouthed, A.I. for The Video Game Awards, Brien balances the incredible amount of pre-vis and planning that accompany VFX, CG and Virtual Productions with spontaneous, on-set, actor-performances.
Outside of commercial and cinematic work, Brien is currently in development and attached to Direct the recently announced, GROUNDED Animated Series, based on the popular video game from Microsoft and Obsidian Entertainment.
For Microsoft’s HALO 5 Guardians, Brien and his team were asked to create an aspirational, action-packed, pre-release film to introduce the game’s newest character, Spartan Locke as well as showcase various new ‘Spartan Abilities.’ The final CGI film was created in collaboration with Platige Image and Warner Bros. Audio.
Here, we pull back the curtain to take a behind-the-scenes look Microsoft’s HALO 5 opening sequence featuring Nathan Fillion and Mike Colter. Fillion, Colter and others were digitally scanned for exact facial likeness. Brien then directed the character performance capture and stunt reference shoots at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank. Brien and the internal 343 team collaborated heavily AXIS Studios for several months to complete the full CGI production.
For the Video Game Awards Show (VGAs), Brien and 343 Industries created a comedic, alternate take on the traditional AI assistant. Brien and Frank O’Connor collaborated with Sam Jackson’s writers to develop the AI character and final script. Brien then Directed Sam in a live-action, green-screen shoot in Los Angeles. Jackson’s performance was then composited into Halo game engine footage to create the final piece.
For HALO 5’s closing scene, Brien once again directed the ensemble cast in several multi-character, performance capture shoots. All motion capture and performances were completed at Warner Bros. Burbank. Brien and his team collaborated closely with Stuart Aitken and AXIS Studios to complete the sequences from pre-vis through final. Brien also worked with composer Kazuma Jinnouchi and the Warner Bros sound team to help bring the entire sequences to life.
For the HALO 4 Prologue film, Brien directed an intense, character-driven interrogation scene that revealed dark moments from each character’s past. All 1 st unit performance capture was completed at MBS Studios in Los Angeles. Brien and his team collaborated closely with DIGIC Pictures in the creation of the full CGI film.