Behind-the-scenes-II 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 VFX-heavy '2.0'
A still from the VFX-heavy '2.0'


How long were you working on this movie and do you have any anecdotes to share with us?
It was a four-week grade across the feature, marketing, and music video. It was challenging to deal with large sequences of VFX that weren’t delivered until the final days. In an ideal world, another week clear of visual effects deliveries would have given us a good opportunity to review the piece as a whole.
This was my first visit to India and I was very keen to experience some of the amazing cuisines on offer. So, after a long day grading, Nirav stopped off at a kerb-side market stall, where he ordered us a freshly- squeezed sugarcane and ginger juice. I gulped it down greedily, finishing just in time for Nirav to sheepishly inform me that the juice was a fantastic intestinal cleanser. It was very effective!

There is a shot in the ftlm where a man is laying in a bed and the walls of the room are made of cell phones. Could you share with us how you would build the grade of such a shot?
This shot is a good example of how we’re always walking the balance between creating beautiful imagery and communicating the story. It is a visually busy shot with thousands of phones buzzing and vibrating along the walls of the room, breaking away to encircle a terrified businessman in a virtual tornado of cell phones. The screens of the phones all light-up presenting us with the calling card of the antagonist, a small sparrow bouncing around a forest backdrop. That’s an awful lot of information to present to a viewer in the space of a few seconds.
I work backwards with a priority list of story points, and if the viewer only takes one thing away, it needs to be the actor’s performance. I use a lot of incredibly soft, dynamic vignettes to guide the eye to the subject using variations in the luminance and contrast. To improve the recognition that this event was being caused by our antagonist, I shifted the colour temperature of the phone screens closer to a tone used earlier in the film, to help link the events in the viewer’s mind. Finally, I applied some frequency management to the phones surrounding the outside of the room to minimise attention stealing and tiring detail, without eroding the overall separation and impression of the individual phones.

What are your thoughts on HDR?

Chynoweth: It’s a bit of an arms race at the moment. The high rate of variance between manufacturers does make it technically tricky to deliver viewers with a consistent creative vision. On the creative side, I am very excited. I believe the extended dynamic range really adds depth and dimension to an image. I don’t believe it’s a simple step up from SDR and it doesn’t work as a derivative deliverable - it requires a different approach to the management of a scene’s contrast ratio. The sooner the creative team is able to start viewing their footage in HDR the better positioned they are when it comes time to grade.

What’s next for you?
For me now it will be a real focus on developing relationships here in the UK. I’m excited by the prospect of meeting with a new and diverse group of collaborators and to keep making beautiful images. We will also be looking to further develop our pipeline and how we can integrate more
on large VFX heavy shows and stay at the forefront of development.

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