DF: Could you tell us how Fido Film got involved in this project?

JT: Fido Film were brought in early on in the production as we were not only the lead vfx-facility but we were also one of several co-producers of the movie. The shooting of the movie took place both in Kalix in northern Sweden and in Ystad down in the south. In Kalix we shot both exteriors and interiors, all of the exteriors were shot at night with the temperature crawling down to around minus 20 degrees celsius. At times the cameras broke down due to the cold... fortunately for us all of the VFX-shots were scheduled to be at the beginning of each take so they were usually taken care of before it got to cold. In Ystad there were all set?s that we worked on so there we had more control over the shots, even though time was always a concern as the production deadline came closer and closer

Fido were also involved in doing a pilot for the film, used to raise money and also to do a proof of concept to try out some ideas the team had on the digital as well as on the prostethics and make up work that had to be done. When the production finally got a go and the post production were about to start none of the digital artists involved in the pilot were still at the company though. But that?s not necessarily a bad thing, since me and the new crew could reference the work that had been done for the pilot with fresh eyes and use that as a springboard to push things even further. On top of this we also put in some of our own ideas into the mix as well.

DF: How many people work on the digital VFX shots?

JT: Our core team on the digital side looked like this:
1 (and a half :)) modeller
2 animators
2 texturing and rendering artists
2 compositing artists

The team grew and shrunk according to the needs of the project. On top of this we also had our creative director and two persons working full time making sure that everything ran smoothly, made sure the scheduling worked out and that shots were delivered on time. I don?t think we could have done this without the meticulous planning they set up.

DF: How many time did you have to finish the shots?

JT: We began the digital production in October. Prior to that our workshop had been busy designing and creating a lot of cool and gory stuff to be used in camera. After getting some precious extra time for the final shot we delivered the final frames in mid January. Just days before the final act was going to print... So all in all it was a pretty tight time schedule.

DF: I wonder how you manage to track and substitute the faces of the actors for the digital ones, could you explain the process.

JT: The tracking was solved by making a 3d-reference object in REALVIZ ImageModeler, based on notes from the shoot with measurement references, matching the tracking markers on the actors? face as closely as possible. With one vertice at every tracking marker correctly placed in 3d-space we could then use this mesh in MatchMover Pro with the ?elastics? tool to lock the 3d-mesh to the actor?s movement. This track was then brought into Maya where we could do some additional adjustments and tweaks where needed.

After the animation, lighting and rendering was done it was all put together in Shake. The actors faces were warped and painted out were needed to reveal more of the background, since in most of the shots the CG faces were more narrow and ?sunken in? than the actors. For one shot we also replaced the whole head (the shot of the old guy leaning towards the fence), so there we had not only a full CG head but full CG hair as well. While on the shoot we made sure to get clean plates for all of our VFX shots so that we easily could replace any part of the original plate with one without the actors in it. The blend between the CG and the live action plate were achieved with some clever masking techniques taking the best from both worlds, rendered 3d-masks were refined and perfected with the help of Shakes 2d-masking tools. Careful attention were then made to make sure that the colors of the CG face blended in with the rest of the make-up that the actors had on set.

Digital Head Replacement | Original Plate

Digital Head Replacement | Wireframe mesh

Digital Head Replacement | Final Shot

DF: How many VFX shots were on the movie?

JT: Fido Film did 55 digital vfx shots, then there were additional digital work done by another studio in Russia as well. Fido Film did all of the character based shots.

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