HimAnI Productions, a VFX studio in Southern California, believes that visual effects, whether for major motion pictures, independent films, or for television should be budget conscious without sacrificing quality or design. Primatte Keyer played a key role in helping meet technical challenges and maintain budgets. The hard work paid off at the 2005 Emmy Awards, where the Lost VFX team (including Kevin Kutchaver, President of HimAnI Productions) won the 2005 Creative Arts Emmy Award for Outstanding Visual Effects for a Series.
The Lost VFX supervisor, Kevin Blank, came to HimAnI Productions with an interesting challenge. He was shooting a new TV show with some tough compositing issues and on an 18-day turnaround for FX delivery. The shots consisted of some unknown monster moving through the jungle King Kong style, pushing trees down in its wake.
Shooting in Hawaii gave Blank the opportunity to shoot real trees and foliage shaking and falling in an outdoor bluescreen set-up. The shoot was broken into two groups. The first takes were shot under an overcast sky, which matched the daylight requirements, and the second group under strong sunlight, to simulate a moonlit night.
"Blank shot footage of a lot of these trees. Really, I mean - a lot! As we started to put the composites together, we were glad he did, because what at first seemed like a wealth of editorial takes and material soon was not quite enough as we planted (or comped) each tree, one by one into the mountain plates editorial had chosen. We needed more layers to be able to see the forest through the trees, and all we had so far were just some trees," continued Kutchaver.
"Thanks to the intuitive real-time interface of the Primatte Keyer 3, we were able to layer hundreds of these bluescreen trees together in precomps. With this many layers of small branches, leaves and blurring, moving trees, we had to have a keyer that could deliver fast, clean matting results that would retain edge detail, but still stack up outdoor bluescreen layers like we have never done before," said Kutchaver.
"For several shots our foreground elements were large bluescreen night shots with the principal actors watching the jungle shake and quiver in the distance. And yes, of course, one of the actresses was a fair haired blonde in front of a bluescreen while a tracking focus pull was occurring. Once again, Primatte, and the edge tools in Key Correct enabled us to maintain a natural look on the big, layered composites all while keeping render times manageable," continued Kutchaver.
About HimAnI Productions
Kevin Kutchaver, an alumnus of the School of Visual Arts in NYC, has been involved in creating, designing and producing FX for blockbusters films including: Return of the Jedi, Ghostbusters II, The Addams Family and its sequel, along with all three Robocop movies. In 1995, Kutchaver formed Flat Earth Production , Inc. The company's seven year run with Hercules and Xena helped set the standards for television effects. Now, as president of HimAnI Productions, Inc., Kutchaver has once again set his sights on pushing the envelope for feature and television animation.