Tuesday, 2 February 2010


Visual Effects can easily be seen as something only ever used in Sci-Fi and Action films, but the art of Pixel Wizardry can be used in much more subtle ways than sending people into outer space or blowing stuff up. It can enhance any drama by giving the director the power to create or enhance things that he would otherwise have to spend huge amounts of his budget creating in production. Invictus, Clint Eastwood's latest staring Matt Damon and Morgan Freeman, used an immense amount of rotoscoping and crowd duplication to fill the rugby stadiums with the 10s of thousands of people that should be there and the audience doesn't even notice, which is exactly why it is so good.

It's easy to give praise to the obvious special effects (the scene in Avatar where the tree is falling down has to be one of the most visually stunning pieces of CGI I have ever scene) but I think its important to remember that at its heart film making should be an invisible art. It is at its most effective when the audience does not notice the techniques being used and the path between message and mind is unhindered.

The team behind Invictus chose to rotoscope rather than use a blue or greenscreen so that the Director and DOP were not hindered from working in the way to which they are accustomed. Heavy use of blue and green screen work can be a chore on a directors mind and if he is not used to the process, can impede his creative vision. Whilst roto can seem like a pointless and labour intensive task, it allows the cast and crew to work the same way they would on any film. On the first and only film I have taken the helm as director (a short student film done after a few months at Futureworks Media School) I had to tackle a VFX shot in which two actors had to walk towards a lathe. A greenscreen would have made more sense, but instead I chose to rotoscope. I left a table in the position of the lathe which I had to digitally remove aswell. All this led to much more work in post but it meant that I could focus on getting the lighting and the acting right, which is worth the extra hours sat rotoscoping.

1 comment:

  1. Nice stuff! I'll be keeping an eye on the blog!

    I've added a link to this on my blog!