Working on VFX For a Major Film Production
Working on VFX, regardless of the project, takes a lot of hard work, creativity, and careful planning to get a project from concept to its final version. This is no different when working on a large-scale action-adventure project for a leading streaming service. While working on this production we here at Magic Room had an incredible opportunity to be a part of something special. We overcame unique challenges that pushed our creative limits and allowed us to create best-in-class visual effects.
We’re proud to have had the chance to work on this production, and the work we did for it is among some of our best yet. This was a fascinating project that our experienced and skilled team was more than capable of delivering.
Magic Room’s Work
Magic Room worked for roughly six months on detailed scenes for this production. The scene begins in a forest before moving to a waterfall and ending on a bridge facing a deep perilous canyon.
Our work on this portion of the production had several different aspects to it. One of our main tasks was to take the live-action shot footage of the canyon and completely replace it with CGI. The only remaining live-action elements remaining were the actors standing on the bridge.
Once we had recreated the scene in CG, we composited the live-action footage into it. This involved complex keying techniques which allowed us to make portions of the footage transparent, essentially removing them entirely.
The Finer Details
Replacing a large-scale geographical feature like a canyon with CGI requires a lot of detail that might be hard to spot at first glance. We had to consider the scene’s lighting and to make it look as realistic as possible, we added some lens flare and light streak effects.
We added some additional effects to bring life to the scene. We created dust effects to make it atmospheric, and because of the nature of the production, we included gunshot VFX and blood hit effects.
What viewers might not see at first is the VFX work we completed on the actors in the scene. Some of the most meticulous work we did on the production was creating CGI face replacements for the stunt workers. We wanted to get every detail as correct as possible, and to do that we had to be careful and thorough.
We also went one step further from face replacements and created entire digital doubles for some of the performers. Similar to the facial replacement work we did this required great care to get details, movement, and proportions as correct as possible.
Our team’s main challenge was piecing everything together so it looked like it was part of one take. The difficulty was that almost every shot we worked on had different lighting, camera angles, lens, movement, and actor positions.
To overcome this, we devised a method of using a digital camera of sorts that helped ease the transition between different camera angles. This digital camera would pick up the end of one shot and the start of the next, allowing for a seamless changeover between shots that had the appearance of a single take.
Overall, this was a challenging but exciting project to be a part of. It presented technical challenges but thanks to our experience, we could overcome them with our tools, experience, and innovative techniques.
Tools and Techniques
In addition to the innovative camera technique which we employed to stitch shots together, we used rotoscoping. This is a thorough and time-consuming process but ultimately helped our VFX look better frame by frame and helped us produce realistic-looking action and animations.
We also used water simulation to recreate a waterfall. Just like other large-scale VFX processes, water simulation can take considerable time to implement, but worth it to create as authentic a scene as possible.
For Magic Room’s VFX work, we use Shotgrid, and this was no exception. Our familiarity with the platform helped us produce our visual effects as quickly as possible. Houdini and Redshift were crucial to the project, as we used these applications for CG work, lighting, and rendering. We also used Boris FX plug-ins which greatly benefitted the lighting for the piece.
You can see more of what we do on our website. We have a wide range of services including FX and animation, and you can see more of our work in our portfolios. Be sure to check out our blog and get in contact with us to collaborate!