Cirque du VFX and Vampires
R&H started out on set and tried to be there during all filming or during "a special need for a shot dreamt up at the last moment." For example, they also had to do some set extension work in New Orleans in an old, empty warehouse that wasn't meant to be a sound stage. "It wasn't ideal for shooting a film and led to the camera pointing sometimes in a direction where you shouldn't be, so we would come in and clean that up and extend the set to make it feel like we're actually outside at night at a campground."
Tools consisted of usual R&H proprietary software: Rhythm for character animation and, in terms of choreography and the renderer, a package similar to Houdini. A lot of the atmospherics, in fact, were done in Houdini.
As usual, work was split between L.A. and India, where they are fully integrated into the pipeline and their crew shares digital assets and they video conference daily. "India supplies everything from animators to lighters to compositors. We ship all things in our pipeline back and forth. Depending on our needs, not everything will get done in India. Alexander Ribs' [Orlando Jones] dancing shots were done by the animators in India and they videotaped themselves doing the dancing to get the hip movements right."
"Nowadays, the challenges aren't technical," Shifflett concludes. "What it comes down to is a time crunch or a solution here that we want to try and use but we don't have time for that so we have to go in another direction. Where we may have tried to incorporate motion capture for some of the character animation, we found ourselves not being able to do that and going down a different route. So, it's the bumps in the road that create those challenges."
Bill Desowitz is senior editor of AWN & VFXWorld.