Reel FX Creates 3-D for Radio City Christmas Spectacular
Using a LIDAR scan of the interior of Radio City Music Hall, Griffin translated the values of the scan into Autodesk Maya to determine the precise position of each dancer onstage as well as to pinpoint key seats in the theater for evaluation of the stereo elements. In doing so, he was able to establish the exact placement of the zero parallax to achieve the desired stereo effect. Based on Griffin’s calculations, Haberman adjusted parts of the Rockettes’ choreography to accommodate the specific parameters determined for certain shots. The process was a fluid progression of give-and-take between the demands of the live show and to take full advantage of the scope of stereo.
Digital Supervisor Glo Minaya describes the stereoscopic progression of the piece: “During every stage of production—from layout to final delivery—we evaluated and refined the stereoscopic properties of each asset and every visual effect, not just the camera. This was key to successfully executing the 3DLive immersive experience.”
The 3DLive approach to “Humbugged” presented unique technical developments to work within. Massive CG environments, including a forest, castle and a gingerbread village, required an incredible amount of detail to achieve the look of “stylized realism” and to build great depth into the scene. To produce the fine detail on the numerous trees, the team developed an entirely new proprietary “fur” system for the project, using it to generate pine tree needles which could interact with onscreen stimuli like snow and other assets. Another scene was completely comprised of ice, including a giant CG Ice Monster character. Since many of the environments were created in Houdini and most characters were established in Maya, inter-software shot lighting required finessing to ensure assets matched their environments seamlessly.
Producer Greg Lyons summarizes the overall experience, “From our studio’s interdepartmental collaborations, to the creative partnership between MSGE, Linda Haberman and Reel FX, ‘Humbugged’ is a testament to teamwork, cooperation and artistic synergy across the board. Reel FX is proud to be a part of such an iconic American tradition.”
Reel FX VP of Business Development Chuck Peil adds, “We can’t wait for audiences to experience this groundbreaking 3DLive event. Our objective was to deliver a seamlessly integrated mix of visual technology and story with the incredible Radio City Rockettes as the centerpiece. We are confident that guests will feel as passionate about the unique immersive visual approach as we do.”
Toolkit: SideFX Houdini and Mantra, Autodesk Maya and Renderman, Adobe Photoshop, Pixologic ZBrush, RoadKill UV, Headus UVLayout, The Foundry Nuke and Avid Symphony Nitris
About Reel FX
Founded in 1993, Reel FX (Dallas/Santa Monica) is an award-winning creative studio that produces animation and visual effects-driven content from “script to screen” for blue chip Entertainment and Commercial clients. The studio is known worldwide for its ability to craft innovative solutions, as well as the breadth of its capabilities which also include motion design, editorial and audio work. In addition, Reel FX develops original, multi-platform content for feature films and film franchises, and supports its creative endeavors with cutting-edge, proprietary technology. Reel FX is home to a roster of top creative talent, with a diverse and experienced team of almost 300 production executives, artists and staff who work between its Dallas and Santa Monica studios.
Senior VFX Supervisor Augusto Schillaci
Digital Supervisor Glo Minaya
CG Supervisor Mike Fortner
Producer Greg Lyons
Production Manager Jasmine Johnson
Post Production Supervisor Tim Archer
Modeling Supervisor Henry Darnell
Rigging Supervisor Kyle Wood
Texture Supervisor Todd Harper
Shading Supervisor Marlin Rowley
Look Development Lead Francis Wu
Layout / Stereo Supervisor Troy Griffin
Animation Supervisor Dave Vallone