Geon Studios Pvt. Ltd. recently delivered some breathtaking visual effects for the Hollywood Western “The Warrior’s Way”. A movie with great sword fighting, thrilling scenes and power packed action, VFX was always going to play a major role. And Geon did deliver in great style!
The story of The Warrior’s Way revolves around a warrior assassin who in order to do what is ethically right has to face up to an entire clan thirsting for his blood on one side and Confederate soldiers trying to terrorize the town he escapes to on another side. To be named Laundry Warrior originally, the movie is an action fest sparkling with gunfire and swordplay. There are warriors and soldiers in mid-air combats, classic stills and great stunts all woven wonderfully together by some high end visual effects experts, one among them being the Geon team, led by the VFX Supervisor Madhu Sudhanan and VFX Producer Asmita Bharrati.
Geon had artfully contributed to about 150 shots in the film extending over a period of 6 months in two to three phases, with a gap in between. What deserves a greater applause is the fact that a movie depicting such great action scenes was entirely shot within the four walls of a green room in Auckland. Asmita speaking about this revealed in the fact that there was some great guidance that helped pull this off. “Every single shot speaks a story in itself. Thanks to Jason Piccioni (VFX Supervisor for the entire film) and Arnon Manor (VFX Producer for the movie), the breathtaking visuals could be conjured from our imagination and depicted on screen. Kudos to the entire GEON team of artists and Supervisors for pulling it off. It is no mean effort to make such realistic images coming out very well as invisible effects, which is what GEON always aims at!”
Also speaking at this occasion was Madhu, who says, “There were some very interesting sequences involving matte painting, split composites, muzzle flashes etc. What is so heartening to note is that the hard work has indeed metamorphosed successfully on the big screen and the visual effects has received tremendous applause from all ends. At the end of the day, we were enthusiastic about the opportunity and happy to have lived up to the occasion.” Yes, truly the visuals, if anything were beyond expectations; so Madhu could be considered modest in his assumption.
It is incredible how a green wall could be transformed to reveal a beautiful background with partying folks and lot of fun in the air. Capturing this dance sequence was all the more stunning with so many rapid camera movements. Matching the background with the live camera to the 3D camera deserves applause in itself. What is even more incredible to note is how wonderfully the lighting has been adjusted to ensure the right ambience has been brought out without dominating the characters on the forefront. In a way, the lighting ensured that there is a subtle backdrop for the characters’ dance sequence, which is noteworthy considering that there was a green wall in the original place.
A combination of key and roto, with paint was used here and there along with matte webbing was done for this scene. Background blending had to be done carefully along with the right usage of matte paint and grains for integrating the shot. It wasn’t easy to track a rapidly moving camera on a background that was defocused.
Clean up: Prop Removal
This is another of the various visual effects brought in to accentuate the mood created in a scene. Madhu comments, “The director wanted the doll prop to be removed from the shot as it didn’t seem a good fit on the scene, being a very modern day doll, while the place is a fantasy kind of land and in time. The prop was removed to instead reveal the blanket, making the shot more consistent and moving.”
Visual Enhancement: Insert Paper
This is another example of a shot where the audience’s attention has to be pulled to arouse curiosity. In this shot the paper was visually enhanced to lend more prominence as opposed to the dark backdrop. The visual enhancement of the burnt parchment was able to lend more credibility to the scene too.
Wire removal and Background Replacement
The GEON Team has highlighted how it so important to visualize every frame in the mind and then magically conjure it. A lot of scenes involve the characters flying high and low with the help of wires. At the same time, the shots were given a surreal look through intense observation and due diligence ensuring that the background is indeed picture perfect for the scene. The subtleties in the background including bright lights peeping through the slits were well taken care of. Taking care of the flying hair is especially tough to match even as the characters were rotoscoped and then composited over the clean plates. Matching the grains involved working on the shots, sharpening them a wee bit and then adding the grains back along with re-timing. Rotoscoping the slits for the light could be a tedious job involving re-timed shots.
Visual Enhancement: Creating Grubby and Grungy Teeth
Gory and ugly images could often be tougher to create than stunningly beautiful visuals. Some of the characters had to look tough and others ugly. Special make up blended well with the efforts at introducing visual effects to enhance bloody teeth and ugly features in order to accentuate the intensity of the scene.
Madhu especially thanked Barrie Osborne and Michael Peyser, the Producers of the movie, to give GEON such an amazing opportunity to work on the show.