Bruno Banani returns for a second tour of his laboratoire in this latest instalment brought to us by Friend director duo Tim & Joe for Grey London. In this film the essential oil extraction process has been ramped up to a new level. As a leggy trolley lady leads us on our journey through the lab, we take in an Anti-gravity peppercorn selection chamber, an infinitely tall microwave storage shelving facility and an automated laser powered bottle-sculpting robot – amongst other things. Rushes design team headed up by Domhnall Malone worked closely with Tim & Joe in designing the robot with reference to the villain restraint rings from Superman 2. I supervised the VFX shoot out in Vilnius, Lithuania and led the team for the post process back at Rushes.
Laser Robot – Dust, smoke, dry ice, laser and glass elements were shot on set against a black background. The robot and glass shard were modeled in Zbrush by Nimesh Patel and animated in Maya by Craig Travis. The smoke and dust elements were simulated in Phoenix FD for Maya by Chris Lumsdale. I composited all shot and CG elements together with additional sparks, glows, lens flares and molten glass and dirt textures in Flame.
Infinite Ladder – The girl was shot on set from a low angle stood on a short ladder against a small section of shelving. The camera slowly dropped a short distance in order to create a change in perspective of her body. The girl was then keyed and rotoscoped from this background. The new extended camera move was previsualised in Flame and then exported to Maya. Extensions to the shelving and ladder were modelled in Maya by Rob Millan along with a model of the girl which was re-projected with the re-sped shot texture after a pickup point part way into the shot allowing for the extended camera move to take over for the long drop. The drip from her pipette was created as a cloth simulation in Maya. All elements were then composited in Flame.
Anti- Gravity Peppercorns – This scene was shot on a Steadicam with peppercorns on the table to serve as both a lighting reference and as tracking markers. Additional tracking markers were added to the walls in order to ensure a solid camera track could be achieved. The hero peppercorn pincered at the end was rigged on garden wire to provide a target for both the girl and for the focus pull. All rig and tracking points were then painted out, and the new floating peppercorns were modelled and animated in Maya. The final comp was completed in Nuke by Sarah Breakwell.
Other VFX in the film included adding logos to doors, background replacements, set extensions, general cleanup to walls and floors, adding cinnamon dust, steam plumes, condensation on visor, colouring and animating drips, CG augmentation of glasses and animated graphical readouts and lasers for the microwave and robot.
It was a pleasure to once again work with Tim & Joe and the creative team from Grey London for this project.