How did you got involved on this show?
We had already worked with Matthew Vaughn and Marv on KICK ASS 2, so we were on board from the very start providing Pre-vis and vfx tests.
How was the collaboration with director Matthew Vaughn?
It was very good, he had quite clear cut ideas, we had to meet certain briefs, but then we were given free rain. If it was something we felt strongly about, he would listen, and often change his mind.
What was his approach about the visual effects?
We had to do CG previs and stunt Previs, Nvizage took care of the previs with Martin Chamney as the supervisor.
The Gazelle fights were so complicated, it took a lot of planning. Actors had to be able to perform the stunts and no virtual cameras were to be used. It had to feel ‘real’.
How did you work with Production VFX Supervisors Steven Begg and John Bruno?
Steve let us get on and supervise our sequences. John Bruno had an input towards the end, but didn’t really change anything with Gazelle.
What are the sequences done by Nvizible?
Any sequences with Gazelle. The dinner parties, the mountain chalet, and the final fight. We created the environments for Valentine’s house and the Alps when seen from the chalet.
Can you describe one of your day on-set and then during the post?
A day on set consisted of stunt rehearsals, motion controls camera speed tests. Some of the larger shots took a week to rehearse.
In post it was a case of checking leg cleanup/paint out. Tracking and animating the prosthetics, often making shot specific model tweets. Then on to lighting and compositing.
Can explain in details about the sequences pre-vised by Nvizage?
Nvizage created three main previs sequences for this project, the halo parachute jump, Roxy in space and the impressive opening shot of the film, as well as motion studies and technical previs.
Can you tell us more about the motion control rigs?
The more complicated shots were pre-vised by Nvizage, supervised by Martin Chamney and Nvizible were able to work out a technical version incorporating motion control, by The Visual Effects Company. Three different motion control rigs were used including the Milo, Eiger arm and the 360 rig. All the action was then rehearsed with these high-speed rigs and sound cues moved in time to choreograph the action.
How did you handle the legs of Gazelle?
We shot her with green socks. Depending on her action, she sometimes had heels on, and other times sneakers. Again this meant her blades were tweaked depending on shoes.
Can you explain in details about the creation of her legs?
We were led by the art dept. Then we had to make them look sexy, like a good pair of designer shoes.
What was the main challenges with the legs?
Tracking and animation. As the blades don’t move like a foot and ankle would. We also had to transition through multiple performers. So we would animate a CG double for a few frames to sew them together.
How did you enhanced the gore aspects of the fights?
We did, but because of the style of the film, not the rating this time, we had less gore then you would expect.
Can you tell us more about the beautiful of Gazelle jumping through a glass and firing in slow-mo?
We were lucky Sofia was up for doing this. We shot multiple hand held passes, Sofia, a clean pass, the glass, the piros. All of these were then tracked and comped hand painting elements through where needed.
How did you manage the face replacements?
We shot lots of Phantom face events against blue. These were full frame at 600fps. This allowed us to select frames and 2D track faces in. On some shots we wrapped these elements into gio two and a half D. In some instances we used a CG face, but this was usually only the case for a few frames and tended to be used with a 2D approach.
Can you explain in details about these face replacements shots?
Often what was hard is maybe transitioning between Sofia and a double. We had face to match too. Which meant even 2D we had to matching lighting and other effect.
What was the biggest challenge on this project and how did you achieve it?
Blending a large number of performers into one shot, and often doing this at high frame rates, which meant we had no where to hide. No motion blur, and more time for the audience to scrutinize our work. Also with all the retimes, every cut change meant we had to work on lots of additional frames that never made it into the film.
Was there a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleep?
The high speed motion control shots. But because we had rehearsed them, they turned out easier than some more conventional shots.
What do you keep from this experience?
Stick to 2D face replacements, a real face shot in camera always looks better.
How long have you worked on this film?
We were involved in the film for around 14 months.
How many shots have you done?
We did 220 shots, 110 of which were legs.
What was the size of your team?
At its height we had a team of approx 30 artists.
What is your next project?
It’s another MARV film about EDDIE THE EAGLE.
A big thanks for your time.
// WANT TO KNOW MORE?
– Nvizible: Dedicated page about KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE on Nvizible website.
© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2015