Behind-the-scenes-I of Rajnikanth starrer: 2.0

Sam Chynoweth brings a mixture of animation and live action experience to VFX-heavy, Rajnikanth starrer, 2.0
A still from the Rajnikanth starrer '2.0'
A still from the Rajnikanth starrer '2.0'

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One of the more recent movies that you worked on was one of the biggest visual effects movie in the history of Indian cinema – 2.0. Have you ever worked on a Bollywood movie before? What was your overall experience?
Chynoweth
: 2.0 was my first experience working on a big Indian feature and it was an absolute blast! The film-makers wanted to give Indian audiences a home-grown experience, akin to the western spectacles being produced by Marvel and DC. The movie ticked off a lot of firsts for an Indian production, with the largest budget, native stereoscopic acquisition, and the most extensive use of visual effects.
I was brought on right at the end of the three-year production to offer a western perspective. The DOP, Nirav Shah, was keen to give the film a look that would be unique to the Indian market and in line with the ‘Hollywood blockbuster’ theme. The project was definitely one of the tightest schedules I have worked on, with new shots arriving right up until the day of the DCP wrap, just five short days before the film premiered (in three different languages!).
The most rewarding part was seeing the film’s reception - the energy and excitement the fans have is like no other audience I have ever seen.

How did you decide on the look of the movie, 2.0? Was this a collaborative choice with the director and DOP?
Chynoweth
: We took a fairly unusual approach to find the look of the film. I completed my first grading pass with minimal external direction. Nirav sat and watched quietly as I found my way through the footage. He was very keen to look at the film with a purely ‘Hollywood’ aesthetic, free from domestic influences and styles. Once we had a fairly solid pass we stopped and took some time to discuss how we might layer in some of the more traditional Indian cinema attributes to give the film a truly unique feel. From there we went through it together, refining the balance of scenes and the shots within.
We spent a significant amount of our grade time working closely with VFX supervisor, Srinivas Mohan, polishing the visual effects. Shots were coming in thick and fast from a number of vendors across India and
internationally, and for many of them it was their first project using an ACES pipeline, which was a learning curve for them.

Which Baselight tools were particularly beneftcial on this project?
Chynoweth:
We would have been in real trouble without Baselight’s sophisticated colour management tools. I arrived to three years of delivered VFX work as many of the smaller vendors had problems with their implementation of the ACES pipeline. The tight schedule meant we couldn’t always request redelivery, so we used Baselight’s colour space conversion tools to unpick and convert every delivery into a usable format.

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