Adding to their rapidly expanding feature film credits, global design, animation, and VFX studio,
recently contributed extensive effects work to Dimension Films’ latest project,
. The film, starring Samuel L. Jackson and Bernie Mac, centers on the plight of two backup soul singers who reluctantly reunite after 20 years for a reunion concert to honor their recently deceased lead singer. Malcolm Lee (Spike Lee’s cousin), who directed the dramedy released nationwide November 7th, worked closely with rhino in a collaborative effort, as the company finished over 90 intricate effects shot in a very short time window from their feature film-focused Connecticut studio location.
The film’s production was able to take advantage of the tax credits available from having the VFX work done from rhino’s Connecticut studio. Seamless rendering and sharing between rhino’s two locations also enabled the entire team to instantly upload, transfer, view, and manipulate the shots. This cooperative infrastructure dramatically increases the company’s bandwidth, resources, and capabilities, allowing them to efficiently complete highly-technical projects. The company’s evolving technological capabilities also enables them to quickly make shot revisions and post them for review and approval by the production team in NYC. VFX Supervisor Jim Rider elaborates, “The challenges of this project called for heavy artist involvement with contributions across our resource and talent pools. Being brought in at the tail end of production meant we had to work closely with Malcolm’s vision and get creative with some of the shots-doing it all very efficiently and under some pretty tight timelines. Our internal collaborative system really made it easy to review, deliver, and get quick approvals for all the shots, leveraging both our Connecticut and New York studios.”
For the film’s finale, a major concert at the famed Apollo Theater, the rhino team put together an entire shoot, completely constructing the exterior and entry shots of the theater. This entailed the cloning, repositioning, and blending of the entire approach to the theater to create a large-scale event feel. Arman Matin, VFX supervisor for the shoot, explains, “To create an entire exterior scene, we actually took a group of extras to the Apollo and shot the entrance sequence. By manipulating and cloning the shots that show the marquee and the crowd outside the theater, we were able to make it look like a major crowd and event. We also used spotlights, cloned and composited across the shots, to build the environment of major movie premiere and the perception of event-style lighting. This was a significant moment in the film and we were able to work with Malcolm to really create the right mood as the crowd entered the theater. In addition, the crowd inside the theater was cloned and positioned to provide the frenetic atmosphere that the scene demanded.”
The nearly 100 VFX shots required very technical work with countless fixes, tweaks, and adjustments to deliver a high-quality realistic visual feel. One scene, which showcases the two lead characters’ trek across the country in a convertible, includes about seven minutes of detailed driving sequences, all shot on a green screen. The footage was shot separately and had to be adjusted to create the right lighting and match up the foreground and background using detailed rotoscoping, masking, and color correction.
Rhinofx continues to solidify its position as a leading provider of engaging design, animation and VFX across all media platforms. Expanding upon an array of commercial projects for brands such as K-Mart, Verizon, Mercedes, Subway, Toyota, and Cadillac, rhino most recently completed the Ricky Gervais feature,
. In addition to
, rhino is currently working on
, a historic romantic drama based on the novel by Bernhard Schlink, which is set to be released in early 2009, and
I Love You Philip Morris
, a dramatic comedy starring Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor, also scheduled for a 2009 release.
Production Companies: Dimension Films, Friendly Films
Director: Malcolm D. Lee
Writer(s): Robert Ramsey, Matthew Stone
Visual Effects: rhinofx
Visual Effects Supervisor: Jim Rider
EP: Camille Geier
Producer: Cara Buckley
VFX Motion Picture Photography: Arman Matin
Flame Compositor(s): Micky Gorenstein, David W. Reynolds
CG Supervisor: Yuval Levy
Modeler: Ashley Lomax
Lighter: Michael Viscione
VFX Designer: Hili Tsarfati
IT Engineer: Paul Tsung
Flame Assistant: Anton Anderson
Production Manager: Lauren Montuori
Since its launch in 2000, rhinofx has created award-winning visual effects, design, and animation for commercials, VFX for feature films, episodic television, webisodic mini-series, and videogame cinematics. The company’s principals and artists have also led the industry’s exploration into the boundless potential of branded digital content. By cultivating extensive relationships with key brands, advertising agencies, and film/TV studios, rhinofx utilizes its creative directors and artists to develop and execute powerful branded entertainment to build both identity and awareness. The company’s principals include: CD/Director Vico Sharabani, CD/Director Harry Dorrington, CD/Director Arman Matin, CD/Director Natasha Saenko, COO/EP Camille Geier, Managing Director Rick Wagonheim, and CEO North America Zviah Eldar.
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