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Whodoo Helps Perfect Stepford Wives

Whodoo EFX recently completed vfx for THE STEPFORD WIVES. Led by president/digital effects artist Helena Packer and exec producer Mark Ritcheson, the Whodoo EFX team collaborated closely with famed comedy director Frank Oz, Academy Award-winning visual effects supervisor Richard Edlund and Award-winning art director Terry Windell.

According to Edlund, Packer traveled to New York with him in fall 2003 to work closely on-set with Oz and the cast. Although the film started out having just a few visual effects shots in one sequence, the visual effects portion of the project expanded to more than 85 shots over the course of the collaboration. Whodoo's Packer and Ritcheson led a team of 12 digital artists. Together, they completed the design, graphics, 3D and compositing throughout winter and spring 2004, finishing all of the visual effects just before the film's release in early June.

Edlund and Packer have enjoyed a long-term collaboration with their working relationship dating back 15 years to feature films, including THE LAST OF THE MOHICANS and AIRFORCE ONE, as well as commercial projects via Edlund's former Boss Films. Edlund credits Whodoo for the company's talent and flexibility. "Movies sometimes have a life of their own," notes Edlund, who served as visual effects consultant on THE STEPFORD WIVES. "With this project, the visual effects sequences expanded in scope, but the film's release date remained the same as it usually does. So the challenge was being able to roll with the punches, which Helena and her team definitely did. She is able to communicate very well to her artists. I have great respect for her talent and she has marvelous taste. I would be very happy to work with her again on a long feature project at the drop of a hat."

"Not only was this the largest motion picture project we have taken on to date in terms of the number of visual effects shots," explains Whodoo's Packer. "We were also responsible for a lot of the design of the visual effects. Working hand-in-hand with Richard and the director was exciting and rewarding, because we were able to be part of the process from the beginning."

In addition to Packer, who served as visual effects supervisor on the film for Whodoo EFX. The team was led by Robert Skotak, who completed a series of matte paintings of the idyllic village of Stepford, Connecticut, as well as the design of the "neuro net" in the complex laboratory sequence featuring Matthew Broderick. Jay Roth served as CGI supervisor, and was responsible for the 3D realization of Skotak's design. Richard Lieu was lead compositor on numerous driving sequences, greenscreen shots and the laboratory scene. He also completed color correction on exterior shots. Marla Carter served as visual effects artist.

Edlund also brought Terry Windell (POLTERGEIST, STAR TREK) onto the film to serve as visual effects designer. Windell storyboarded and completed the animation design for the lab sequence. The visual effects completed by Whodoo worked in tandem with the prosthetic special effects completed by the Phil Tippett Studio in Berkeley, California.

Santa Monica, California-based Whodoo EFX (www.whodooefx.com) is a visual effects company, specializing in the creation of special effects from concept to completion.

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