Technology moves fast as lightning, which is nothing new for Exact and their collaborative partner Max Verstappen. So with the second instalment of the ‘Be Tech Curious’ films the visual effects need to be bigger and grander than the last time. Together with Kingsday we decided to up our game and bring out the big guns. Or big arms in this case.
“For this film we wanted to surprise Max in a whole new way. So we decided on a guy in a green morph suit to stand behind him, who would stand in for the robot arms. This made it also easy for Max to interact and obviously quite fun to shoot” explains Will Jeffers, Head of 3D. “It also gave us a practical performance to base the animation on. The backpack had tracking markers on poles attached to it. This allowed us to
anchor the CG arms to Max’s movements – so that it feels like he is really carrying the arms on his back.”
Max and the robot arms
The integration of the CG with the life action plates wasn’t as easy as it sounds, explains Sil Bulterman, VFX Artist. “The guy in the morph suit helped us with real shadows, and with the acting and eye line of Max. Though some shots have a lot of physical contact between the robot arms and Max, which meant we had to rebuild whole parts of Max’s body. The hands ended up being a bit smaller than the original ones and we didn’t want to be restricted by the timing and acting of the hands in the shoot. So it was a bit more warping and animating in compositing to make it all work.”
In the end it is all in the details, confirms Jeffers. “Because the previous films already have a strong direction, it was nice to really focus on the finishing touches. The 3D guys really made sure the movements of the arms are true to a moving robot, with moving pistons, cables and the ability to unfold from the backpack. So no cheating here!”
These details are even more emphasised in the sound design. “The simplicity of the film, made it possible to really bring the robot vibes of the arms to life. We used whatever we could find in the LAB’s toolbox to create the distinct robot sounds. These sounds we later manipulated to fit the movements” beams Rens Pluijm, Founding Partner and Head of Sound Design.