How did Pixel Magic
create realistic driving and flying sequences for James Brooks dialogue-heavy film SPANGLISH (opening Dec. 17 through Columbia Pictures) without hindering his ability to elicit great performances on set? Answer: By creating a shooting environment that complemented the director's style.
In Nov. 2003, Pixel Magic began work on SPANGLISH. Ray McIntyre Jr. served as on-set vfx supervisor and oversaw the shooting of more than 200 bluescreen plates. All of the plane and car sequences were shot in front of bluescreen, which enabled Brooks to focus on the performances of the actors (including Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni) and not be concerned with continuity or background issues of a practical shoot.
Cinematographer John Seale (HARRY POTTER AND THE SORCERERS STONE and THE PERFECT STORM) was able to create realistic lighting for the bluescreen sequences, which Pixel Magic used to match the background plates. The background plates included two flying sequences and seven driving sequences in eight different locations. A motion control camera head was used to match foreground and background plates for certain car and bus shots. More than one hundred different background plates were shot to match the bluescreen sequences.
Once filming was completed, Pixel Magic worked closely with the SPANGLISH editorial crew to make sure that each individual bluescreen shot was matched to its corresponding background plate. Due to a large number of vfx shots combined with only two months to complete them, the shots had to be divided up between a few vfx houses. In addition to supervising the bluescreen photography, Pixel Magic was also responsible for compositing two bluescreen car sequences and about 35 miscellaneous shots.
Toluca Lake, California-based Pixel Magic (www.pixelmagicfx.com
), a division of OCS/Freeze Frame, spans two generations of expertise in the creation of visual effects for film and television. Services include compositing, 3D and character animation, wire and rig removal, digital film and hi-def restoration, matte painting, main titles, digital opticals, digital trailers, HD/tape to film transfers, film scanning and recording.
Pixel Magic is currently working on PINK PANTHER, INTO THE BLUE and BE COOL for MGM, and ELEKTRA for Twentieth Century Fox.