Various jobs whilst at Glassworks (London)

From August 2015 I spent 4 months working at Glassworks on multiple jobs.  Initially I was brought in to work on a Doir commercial that I believe was aimed at tablet/website style adverts.  I was tasked with the beauty work required on the 3 commercials.  Shortly after this project finished I was moved over to a video for Samsung.  Compositing various greenscreen shots and tracking in screens.  Some of these used camera tracking data to speed up roto work and the placement of said screens.
I was then moved on to a job I had been keeping my eye on, some colleagues around me were working on the new music video for The Shoes titled Submarine.  It interested me because all the VFX work on the people in the video was being done in 2D and had to be very clean as it was mostly slow motion.  I worked on various shots for this video but the one I enjoyed the most was the slow motion punch shot at 3:15 minutes.  The face that gets hit distorts visibly requiring the artwork and paintwork to be tracked and warped very carefully to keep the form of the face.  This video was constantly asking for the highest quality of compositing and there was no room for cheating.  Once the music video was finished I had a quick stint on a PS4 commercial tweaking a shot that the client wanted changes made to.
The final job I worked on during this 4 month period was an exciting Oculus Rift 360 degree VR experience directed by Chris Cunningham.   The job required a fair amount of cleanup work and preparation of animated textures built from live action miniatures, using just small portions of each take.  These were then rendered through Nukes scanline renderer to create the illusion that the elements were locked to the live actions movements.  The piece from memory is over 4 minutes and very quickly become the job that was filling all of Glassworks server and resources.  Hopefully it will be released to the public in the near future and I can highly recommend viewing it when that happens.

Below is a video of The Shoes “Submarine”

Molinare – BBC Two London Spy

I had the pleasure of working with the lovely people at Molinare again recently on the new TV Series “London Spy”.  You can view the BBCs website for it via this link

We had quite a handful of VFX shots to work through for the five episodes this series was running for.  I worked on more than 60% of those shots that were allocated to our small and highly experienced team.

The work consisted of removals, invisible fixes, matchmoving, screen replacements and the part I enjoyed the most was a small motion graphic section demonstrating the voice recognition technology they spoke of during an episode.  This part was done in After Effects using the new facial tracker tools and various scripts, the main bulk of compositing was done within Nuke(X) and using Mocha Pro 4 to assist in tracking.

Below is a clip that shows the cleaned up footage and the section with the graphics, closed captioning describes the work that was required.

The Bank – Lumene True Mystic Volume Mascara Commercial

I was recommend to The Bank by Caroline Matthews (Marketing Director) whom I have worked with multiple times during her time at Airside and Rupert Ray she is now at Koto and it is always a pleasure working with her.  Initially I met with the team and was shown the project.  I loved the concept they were proposing of a continual loop.  We were to start with a sky full of northern lights and the product above the treetops the camera would move down through the trees to reveal the talent applying the mascara, further transitions would happen until we found ourselves again above the horizon viewing the northern lights and the product.  This was an ambitious job for The Bank as it was to be done internally to give them full creative control but they needed someone with the experience to guide the job and work closely with the inhouse talent to produce the final commercial, this was my role.  It was very much a hands on role, I was planning and supervising how we were going to solve each problem and working up shots early on to show timings and how the piece would look before the heavy duty VFX work was to proceed.
Running up to the shoot and during, the initial storyboard concept got diluted a little as you’ll see in the final video.  We did still get to work in half of the video as seamless transitions but the need for locked off beauty shots was strong that it had to change, we were able to end on a similar frame to how we started.

The first 5 seconds of the commercial had a camera solved so we could start to build the environment in After Effects.  The tail end of this 5 seconds was heavily styled to look more magical and lit.  I created a fake zDepth pass to add depth of field to the shot.  The same pass was used to make the cone of light moving through the trees react in a more realistic manner.  We pull further away from the forest out through the pupil of an eye.  The eyelashes don’t yet have the mascara applied as the brush passes through the eyelashes we reveal the now strong vibrant bold black lashes.  This shot required a lot of warping and stabilising to match the two takes together.  There was a lot of detailed beauty work done to the final close up of the eye; removing mascara clumps and smudges that are really now only picked up by the high resolution cameras used in productions.  After the mascara application shot it was mostly beauty work.  Frustratingly it rained a little during the shoot and the water droplets left odd smudges and white spots on the talent, along with those fixes we worked to make eyebrows look tidier and softened off shadows and creases.  We were taking care to keep the original skin texture and made sure the beauty work was subtle and local to the fixes required.  In comparison to the original it made a positive change.
In total including myself we had up to 4 of us working on various parts of the VFX for the commercial predominantly we started off with myself and Luke Doyle.  Luke Doyle, The Banks in house designer (now freelance) had been working on the look for the northern lights and built the product in 3D and animated it.  He took care of the CG compositing for that section.  Luke Carpenter and David Robinson were later brought to complete the team.  Luke Carpenter worked on the final packshot, and put in some R&D for the northern lights (which sadly went the live action route at the very last moment) and Dave Robinson was stellar in assisting me with the beauty work.  I have known both for a long time so knew to expect good things.



Nexus Productions – Johnny Appleseed

Some of this commercial was shot with a motion controlled rig, however it was not very stable nor the move as smooth as we had wished.  My job was to stabilise and smooth the live action and lock the end position in place for the transition into the following shots.  I created various setups that the CG team would use as a reference for matching the animation to.  The bottle also required various cleanup and grading to match the clients taste.

You can view the completed video below.


Flash Man To The Victor The Spoils

You can read a little about the album here

This project was a little outside of Airsides comfort zone in that it was a full live action music video, wanting this piece to be great they brought on board a lot of talent who were very adapt in this area. Directing the piece was Tim Bricknell, and DOP was Carlos De Carvalho who has a long list of feature film work under his belt. I was brought in to head the compositing and 3d work, this involved a mixture of camera tracking, set building in 3d, and a fair amount of keying/rotoscoping. We had a small team of 4 working on the many shots, this video had a fairly quick turnaround and after seeing all the care and attention that had gone into the filming we did not want to compromise on the post production. I had trained an assistant to do some rotoscoping and guided her through her shots. Alasdair Brotherston was a pro and really helped us out in the last week to get the final long shots out.
During the start of the project it was just myself. I was going through each shot preparing the tracks and match moves so that they were ready for background artwork and keying. Once Everything had been setup I started to work on all the keying to a finished standard and adding extra touches to some of the shots, these included a snow storm and some squirting blood. The opening and closing shots were started by Simon Goodchild using Maya, I supplied the match moves and rough geometry in place for him to build the set around. After he finished we had to adjusted the closing shot to pull out from the crowd shot into the gallery as if it were the picture frame. This involved me setting up the camera move in Maya and then exporting it back into after Effects for me to build the crowd scene, this had some extra problems as the shot with the kiss was filmed with a pull out so it first had to be stabilized and then implement it as a 3d plane. The original picture frames were remodeled and a mixture of bump maps and displacement mapping was used to add the detail. I used high res photographs of the frames as the base for my textures, this really helped to add detail and form to the main picture frame that we move through.

Airside also commissioned a making of video for Flashman which can be viewed on Vimeo

The Sweeney 2012

I worked for a month with visual effects supervisor Seb Barker on the upcoming film “The Sweeney”.  I completed 50 VFX shots, and assisted another 10 using Nuke, details of the shots will have to wait until the movie has been released for now enjoy the trailer hosted on youtube

For cast details and other information regarding the film please check out the IMDB link

Heinz Pasta Pouch

This was a job completed at Tandem Films

Work required
I worked on a few shots for this advert, but my main shot starts at about 12 seconds.  In this shot the carrot dives onto the grater leaving specks of carrot on the table for the small brush to sweep up.  The shots were filmed with an Arri camera, and for the stop motion Dragon was used.  I had four shots that made up this sequence, a background plate, one with the tomatoes moving in the bowl, the brush sweeping, and the grater and carrot.  Each item had a metal rig to allow it to be animated these were quite large and had a tendency to cast shadows across the set also making it difficult to isolate the objects shadows.  Rather than the traditional method of removing the rig to show through the clean background I opted to cut out the objects.  This was decided after a quick test, I realized that all the soft shadows from the rigging would also need removing and the two pieces of video were not matching seamlessly.  Once each  item had been isolated, I worked on creating the shadows that were in the original shots.  These were mostly roto’d in using soft masks and an adjustment layer but some original shadows were kept.

Elton John & Leon Russel – If It Wasn’t For Bad

This was a job completed at One Hand Clapping

Work required
Originally the footage was shot with the intention of being rotoscoped for drawn animation ( AHA – Take On Me style) but due to time constraints a different direction was taken.  The edit was created, and I was tasked with rotoscoping the footage that was not shot to be cut out.  I trained an employee who uses FCP to assist in the rotoscoping.  We used Mocha for all the shots.  This was my choice for my assistant as it is very easy to teach him how to use the program and then allowed me to spend more time on keeping his technique to a high standard, he had never rotoscoped till this day.  For someone who is very comfortable with the program it really speeds up your roto work and did allow me to get through the shots very quickly.  There was a few retakes later and some shots were shot on green screen but due to compression and lack of light a good key wasnt always available.
At the start of the project I worked on a scene with the moon in the sky, this was our template for how the rest was to look and be created.  Myself and Paul Chesire worked on the compositing and Chris Holmes created the cgi backgrounds.

Westfields Christmas 2011 TV Advert – Breakdown

The video is a presentation of how two shots were cleaned up and some of the processes I used to speed up my work.

Each toy was brought to life by three puppeteers that required removing in post production. This did involve selectively keeping parts of the background in place or patching in areas that were always covered by the puppeteers as the set was being moved about slightly during each take. Most objects were tracked very roughly to give me the basic motion, this motion was then attached to my mask. this workflow meant I only had to concentrate on how the objects changed shape whilst in motion and not be concerned with the movement.
The shot of the teddy bear that runs towards camera was stabilized first. I tracked the teddy’s movement using Mocha by drawing a shape around his larger areas that had the bulk of the main movement (his head & body). This was imported into after effects and was used to stabilize the plate. I then created my roto’s on a layer above, as the teddy was stabilized I did not need to concern myself with scaling and movement of the mask as much as if it was the original shot. The masked layer then had the inverse stabilization applied (via some scripts) and used as a mask to cut the original footage out. If there had been stronger motion blur on the footage I might not of done it this way, because the footage is stabilized the masks are not moving as much as they really would have so the built in after effects motion blur will not be as strong. I did however apply a gentle reelsmart motion blur to the final matte to help compensate for this.

Mocha Pro – Arm removal

This was a job completed at Be Animation

Work required
This is just one example of the removals that were required in this advert.  I used the imagineer products to speed up rotoscoping and the process of removing any rigging.  We were not exactly sure how much of the drawn Nesquik bunny would cover the rigs so I was removing as much as possible in each shot to give more flexibilty later.  Any matte runs required per shot were rotoscoped and rendered as individual passes.