Thursday, September 25, 2008

RUSH (TV Series)

Work is well underway on several stunt and CG sequences for Southern Star's RUSH.

RUSH is an adrenaline-charged police drama set within Melbourne rapid response task force. We worked on the pilot nearly five years ago and it's great to see the show go into production. We're working with the team again producing a wide range of visual effects for the series, providing effect design, supervision and production services.

The brief for the series' effects called for realism and energy, perfectly matched to the frenetic, loose shooting style and fast-paced editing. There's no such thing as a 'locked off shot' in Rush and that presents some great opportunities to really give the audience some feature-level thrills. The effects work in RUSH is given no more screen time than a regular shot and is treated to look as in-camera as possible. We are also providing a diverse range of VFX shots and additional technical work throughout the series.

At this point we have produced two specific action sequences, with two more currently underway.

The first, a parkour-style chase through city streets which opens the series, involved tracking air-to-ground footage shot by 2nd unit and adding a CG police helicopter throughout the sequence. The helicopter was modeled, textured and animated in Maya with environment maps made up from satellite images of the actual location. 

Another sequence involves a rooftop stand-off where several stunt set-ups where required.
The sequence called for key cast to be clearly seen from multiple angles, hanging from the side of a building.
For the three main angles, the cast were suspended from a truss rig and harness against a large green-screen, with one shot calling for a camera to be slung above the rig to achieve a high-angle framing. Two additional angles were created by having the cast member crawl on a green-screen wedge. The rest of the sequence was filmed practically against a city view from the roof of the location and required complex rig removal to create the effect.

Location photography was used alongside HD background plates to create the final digi-mattes used behind the cast.
Although all of the various plates used to create the shots were locked off, compositing all of the elements in 3D gave us the capability to 're-shoot' the scene and break outside the frame of the shot, closely matching the shooting style of the series. Maya was used to add dynamic rope that had to interact with the cast, with shadows and window reflections added during the compositing process.

The final sequences are a great taste for what's to come on RUSH and we're looking forward to getting started on the next few Ep's.

For a brief behind-the-scenes of the rooftop sequence from Ep2, check out the video here.