CGA: Belgrade Part 1

Last week fxguide was in Serbia for the second CGA conference. It was an outstanding event, in this part 1 we have images taken from that conference and the work of speaker Bogdan Mihajlovic from QLBEAN.

In part 2 we will focus on the Italian feature, The invisible Boy.

fxguide’s Mike Seymour gave two talks, one virtual production and the other on Machine Learning in vfx.

One of the talks that caught our attention was the insanely complex work of QLBeans, and a talk by co-founder Bogdan Mihajlovic. We have covered QLBean’s high end tracking work before here at fxguide.

As Mihajlovic explained in his talk, the company is known for its work in doing complex high end tracking often with anamorphic lenses for use in vfx production. QLBean’s work covers object and camera tracking and also consulting on highly complex visual shot design. One example, shown and broken down during Mihajlovic talk, was a spot they worked on for Gillette.


Hornet Directors, Lerner & Sander, created a complex 15 second spot for Gillette, showing just how many shaves one can get their hands on with a Fusion refill. Based in Amsterdam, Directors Lernert & Sander are known for their wry approach to image making, often using fashion and design to subvert everyday objects and situations. They have produced both still and motion work for a number of international clients, including COS, Brioni, Campari, Verizon and Gillette.

For this spot, the layered diorama took some complex design work. Carefully calculated camera movements and meticulous motion control were mapped out during previz while a programmed turn table helped create the seamless effect.

Stitching everything together in comp with the aid of a second Maya camera gave the spot its final, unified and consistent look.

QLBeans in Serbia was approached to help work out not only how to track the shots but the complex passes that would be technically required to pull off the spot. Known best for their high end tracking work, QLBeans was keen to solve this mind numbing problem so one set, and one actor could become 16 people in one complex to rotating move.

QLbean’s Ivan Arsic was the Technical Director in charged for main calculations.

The team built a set that would be used for 16 separate takes, and due to size limitations, motion control was used. The team had to find creative solutions to work around the restrictions of the motion control speed and the fact that the studio was not big enough to just build a set that could be filmed normally (but 16 times). After lots of math and careful calculations, a motion control turntable was used that would sync with the motion control camera system. However, this didn’t provide the necessary data to replicate the movement wanted. Using a Maya camera, CGI was used to take over where the motion control left off. The precise rotation and camera movements were calculated for each individual take so that when the shots were ultimately stitched together, they mimicked the sweeping perspective shift that would occur if the whole set was built.

Maya was used to calculate all the data that was programmed into the motion control system. The footage was brought back into Nuke, creating the final camera movement.

Gillette Mirrors was a great exercise for pushing the boundaries of 3D and live action integration. It also is a shining example of solving problem in pre and not taking the approach of just fixing it in post.

More in Part 2 of our coverage from CGA.


Part 2 includes Victor Perez