Modus FX Brings Human Touch to Digital Workflow for Parker
Montreal -- For visual effects supervisor Wayne Brinton at Modus FX, the secret to doing great work is great relationships. That means that the first task in every job is to put a face to the name. Not only does work move more smoothly that way, but for Brinton, even a short period of time together on set can save days of work back at the studio.
“Everything starts and ends with people,” said Brinton. “Sure, you can talk about a project over the phone, but clients only really get to know you, and the skills you bring to their film, when they meet you and see you in action. The dynamic changes from a business relationship into a working partnership. That’s why it’s important for me to interact directly with our clients in Hollywood.”
The most recent example of this came with Brinton’s work on the set of Parker, starring Jason Statham and Jennifer Lopez. Until Brinton was able to visit the director, producers and editor in Los Angeles, he was just a voice on the other end of the line and Modus FX was a facility in a faraway place.
“I went down to LA and met with the director, Taylor Hackford, the postproduction supervisor, Lisa Dennis and their team. I introduced myself, told them about Modus, and explained how we’d approach the work. Once you’ve met, and are comfortable with each other, you can do anything.”
“Wayne’s style of dealing with people captures the way Modus approaches work with our clients,” said Yanick Wilisky, co-founder and VP production at Modus FX. “They have to have faith, not only in the quality of work coming out of the studio, but in the people who work here. With Wayne, they quickly gain confidence that he will support them to do their job on set and that Modus will deliver the work the way they want it.”
On set, Brinton can see live what’s being shot and what the CG artists will be working with. Since he knows the visual effects tasks exactly, he can anticipate challenges before they happen. Sometimes it might take five extra minutes to reshoot something, but it can save days of CG work. This happened with their work on Parker, where Modus worked with the second unit.
“A few of the shots were bigger than they had anticipated,” Brinton explained. “I went to LA to set up shots with the director. We helped Taylor with camera set ups, angles and framing for the shots. I was only there for one day, but it made all the difference when we got to post.”
One gruesome scene in Parker shows a hand being stabbed. The original plan called for doing the whole shot with a prosthetic hand, but Brinton could see it wasn’t going to end up looking realistic enough without a real hand.
“I explained that they could shoot the actor’s hand instead and then use the prosthesis only to show the knife being pulled out,” Brinton said. “Then we could take the blade, the wound and blood spurting out, and comp it onto the real hand. I could only do this by being on set. I’m guessing we saved three days of compositing on this shot alone.”
"Modus was called in to help out on Mirror Mirror and we had only eight weeks to do almost 200 shots,” Brinton said. “The most rewarding part of that job was turning out such a large number of shots in such a short time. We accomplished it all without any stress on the company. Everyone worked extra hours, but we came out of it smiling.”