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The camera always lies

For the final Whitechapel episode, Jon East (Director) wanted to create a special POV shot from the Killers perspective. The original idea was a Contra Zoom within an Esheresque landscape. Jon wanted a rooftop view of an urban scene, where the angles could distort warp and move. After discussions with Jon and the production it was decided that a photograph, taken on location, could be camera projected onto 3D objects and animated. This page illustrates how we created the shot.

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The camera always lies Green screen composites are bread and butter for any VFX shop. Prepared and photographed well, they can save a lot of time in the VFX studio. However, there are times when its difficult to create a good green screen environment and working with wild animals is one of those situations. The Fox, pictured below, performed inside a green screen pen created by the art department. Usually, all surfaces within a green stage would be painted green, but this set-up was different. If the Fox stood on a bare green surface he would be easily spooked, so a wooden performance board was used. This created a matte issue for the VFX team, as there was no green to key in this area. That meant our team had to extract the tail and feet by hand, rotoscoping each frame, which can be very time consuming. Another challenge for the 2D team was compositing mixed footage. Two very different formats were delivered to create the second shot below; an Arri Alexa green screen plate and a GoPro background plate. The chal- lenge was making the better quality image sit seamlessly with the lessor quality image. Fortunately it worked out well. However, matching colour, grain, compression and rolling shutter are the usual factors to consider when using the lower end cameras. When capturing Green Screen material we would always recommend using a high end camera and format, enabling greater detail in the keyed mattes.

RIGHT: Fox’s are wild animals, and even film friendly creatures can be unpredictable. That meant Mr Fox was always kept on a leash, which was removed in VFX. Removal of objects from shots can be the hardest shots to deliver..

LEFT: To add character to Mr Fox, Richard (Director) requested that we see the retina reflections. After researching how the light works in these situations, we built elements we tracked and composited onto the movement of the Foxes head.


Whitechapel - Effcts case Study