Christian Cardona and the VFX of Bones
DS: What would you say are the most challenging aspects of the work?
CC: Well, I think through the course of the season, the most challenging aspect of what we do is [deal with the fact that] 50% of our visual effects weren’t even planned to begin with. So, we’ll get in post and the Executive Producer wants to add something else or for whatever reason the scene wasn’t working, so they have asked us to change things.
That can create complications, because it wasn’t shot properly or it affects our schedule, because we didn’t plan on having shots added. So, it kind of creates conflicts as far as are we going to be able to deliver the show on time with this kind of unexpected scene. That’s actually one of the main challenges.
Some things require a little more prep than others. Sometimes the complexity of the shot, the post process could be more stressful and time consuming than the prep or obviously the shooting of it as well.
The shooting schedule always stays the same. They don’t really change schedule for shooting VFX for us. We shoot an episode in eight days and there are two pages worth of VFX [in the script] and they are going to give us the same amount of time as they would to any other two pages. So that’s where the prep really becomes important as well as having a good plan of attack. We have to be efficient when we are on set, with a plan that doesn’t eat up a bunch of time.
DS: How early in the process do you get involved with the writers or directors to determine what’s even feasible for that episode?
CC: That probably depends on the work needed for that episode. Initially, we’ll get a script. If they think there is going to be a sequence where they have to rely heavily on visual effects, they do a really nice job of bringing me in quite early, essentially when they are doing the first draft of that script, to discuss what is and what isn’t feasible.
Then, I can essentially walk them through the steps of what we can do, what we can’t do, and roughly what the budget would be. That’s when they determine whether to move forward or maybe change the direction they will go in the script. So, it’s a real nice collaborate effort.
DS: Do you guys get an opportunity to do any previs? How relevant is that to your process and are you able to or required to do any?
CC: Yeah, we are required to do it if there’s a lot of 3D work, just because if we don’t we’re really flying blind. So, I take that upon myself, to get something close to what they are asking for. We do have a limited amount of time. So, the extent of the previs is fairly limited. It’s essentially photographs, a little bit of concept work, storyboarding and some camera moves.