Miklos Kozary worked for studios like Mr. X or Pixomondo and participated in movies like SHOOT ‘EM UP, VALKYRIE or NINJA ASSASSIN. In 2008, he co-founded Elefant Studios and made the effects of films such as CARGO, or HELL.

What is your background?
I studied Computer Science, specializing in CG. After graduating I started working as a compositor for features and commercials in Switzerland, Germany and Canada. I co-founded Elefant Studios in 2008.

How did Elefant Studio get involved on this film?
I have worked with Alex Lemke, the vfx supervisor of WE ARE THE NIGHT, on a previous film project a few years ago and he asked us if we wanted to join the team, which we happily did.

What are the sequences made by Elefant Studio?
We worked on some parts of the bath sequence, where the main character’s wound is healing, on the sequence where the vampire ladies are standing on the balcony and are being hit by the sun and smoke starts to emerge from their skin. We also worked on some mirror replacement shots, on shots where the ladies crawl up the walls, jump out of an airplane and a few more. All-in-all it was 49 shots we were involved in.

For the sequence of the bath, can you tell us how the effects were created for healing and the hair growing?
The hair growing was handled entirely by Alex’s team in Munich. For the healing we created multiple matte paintings, illustrating the different stages of healing. We then used layered mattes to create a blend between them. To give it an organic look we created multiple levels of stitches that are growing inside the wound. These were all created using Sapphire’s Warpto plugin and simple paint strokes of the Roto node in Nuke. We then took this patch and tracked it onto the plate by connecting points of a spline warp to the tracking points.

How did you create the shots in which the girls jump out of the plane?
We did the compositing of the interiors of the airplane where the girls are opening the hatch and jumping out one after the other. The interiors were shot against a greenscreen on the outside, with all the crazy camera shake and flashing lights already baked into the plate. These shots were handed to us in the last minute so that was quite some fun!

How was the background created for those shots?
The background of the interiors was a plate shot on helicopter above Berlin, augmented with some smoke footage and the sky replaced by a matte painting.

Can you explain in detail how you erased the reflection of the vampires in mirrors?
We created a cleanplate from the footage by merging parts from appropriate frames and painting out the character. We then took this cleanplate, tracked it onto the action plate and roto’ed away the parts that weren’t used.

How did you create the smoke on vampires? Is it real elements or CG particles?
We were involved in the shots where the vampires are standing on the balcony. For these, we used live action smoke footage, that we were provided by Alex. Sometimes 15-20 layers were used, depending on the shot.

What was the biggest challenge on this project?
Maybe the wound healing. We only had a very short time to develop a look, that was highly directable and that could easily be applied to multiple shots.

Has there been a shot or a sequence that prevented you from sleeping?
I have a 2-year-old son who prevents me from sleeping anyway, so, no (laughs).

How long have you worked on this film?
4 months.

What are your software and pipeline from Elefant Studio?
We’re using Nuke and Maya as our primary tools. Our pipeline is built upon a proprietary node-based asset management tool that is tightly coupled with Shotgun. For dailies and color grading we use a Baselight system.

How many shots have you made and what was the size of your team?
49 shots with 4 compositors, me included.

What do you keep from this experience?
A small team of experienced artists, using a well thought out pipeline, under the right vfx supervisor, can work effectively from a remote location and deliver high quality work on time. And have fun while doing it!

What is your next project?
We just wrapped up work on HELL, executive produced by Roland Emmerich. We’re currently in production for a swiss feature film.

What are the 4 movies that gave you the passion of cinema?
Can’t narrow it down to 4 movies, but maybe 4 directors: Ridley Scott, Luc Besson, Michael Mann and David Fincher.

A big thanks for your time.


Elefant Studios: Dedicated page about WE ARE THE NIGHT on Elefant Studios website.


© Vincent Frei – The Art of VFX – 2011


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