James Rogers, VFX Supervisor bei Postmodern/Sydney. In diesem Interview berichtet er über seine Arbeit an Daybreakers und wie er die technischen Entwicklung im Bereich der Stereoskopie beurteilt… Greenscreen/ Before-After-Shots, Trailer inside….
How did it happen that you and your Studio Post-Modern got to work on the “Daybreakers”?
A director we work closely on commercials with, Lance Kelleher, was developing a feature script. He introduced us to his producers who happened to be making a film called Daybreakers. The script had some huge scenes in it, but the budget meant that we had to find some very lateral solutions to make sure what ended up on screen didn’t look „low budget“. Although we had some film credits as a company, we were still relatively new players in the feature VFX market — and while that could be seen as a disadvantage, a lack of history also meant we could approach things a little differently, which in this case, was a great advantage.
What kind of Visual Effects did You do on “Daybreakers”
We did a lot of different things. From full creatures (mutated vampires called „subsiders“), to burning Ethan Hawke’s character (a lot), to the „blood farms“, digital darts, exploding vampires, digital prosthetics, 3D cars for the humvee chase, set extensions, matte paintings and the opening title design. So a whole gamut, really.
What other Studios worked on the “Daybreakers” and how was the collaboration?
Kanuka studios also worked on it, especially on the opening shots of the burning girl, the burning chain-gang subsiders and Elvis’s car accident. The Speirig brothers themselves also worked on a whole heap of shots — it would be fair to say that they did all their „wishlist“ shots, and probably a few more.
What was the most difficult part in working on the “Daybreakers”?
Probably the most difficult thing was handling the variety of work, as well as the volume of work in a relatively short space of time. When it gets down to it, I often think that the hardest part in all VFX are the logistics. It was especially true in this film. One big advantage to us is that the Speirig brothers are completely digital savvy. There was no need for us to explain things beyond what we intended visually and how we intended to get there technically. They knew that it would or wouldn’t work. So there was a certain shorthand in the way we worked, and I think we got through a lot more material because of it. More recently we worked with Alex Proyas on Knowing, and I found he had a similar approach. It helps when you are trying to contain the budget but pushing the boundaries.
Is there one shot you remember the most, or gave you the most headaches?
I remember the digital subsider shot the most, but probably not because it was that arduous, more because it came together in an amazingly quick amount of time. We were never supposed to create a fully digital subsider, instead, we were just going to create some digital winglets for under the arms and some hand extensions. These were just for safety issues so the stunt guy would not be so restricted by the suit he needed to wear. But there were other issues when it came to the shoot. The harness the stunt guy had to wear was hidden under the suit. Unfortunately, the suit sagged and gathered around his waist (on the harness). On the rushes it looked like he was wearing a nappy. So we added nappy removal to the list. As we started that shot, it became obvious that we would need to create a CG patch to deal with the waist problem. In the end, it seemed logical that we just rebuild the whole subsider digitally. The character took 2 weeks from start to finish, and we replaced the real subsider with the digital one in all the shots in the sequence. We worked on getting translucency and sub-surface properties to the skin just as much as we worked on sweat and veins and other more subtle characteristics. In some ways it was quite a risk to throw away an established (and budgeted) method and go for something a bit more adventurous, to know it succeeded, makes it a relief, but memorable.
How many Shots did You do and how many people worked on the “Daybreakers” at Postmodern?
I believe we did over 300 shots, with about 20 working on the show.