Extraction 2 at FuseFX

FuseFX is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. They are a part of Pitch Black, whose creative studios also include Folks VFX, Rising Sun Pictures, and El Ranchito. The group employs over 1,400 personnel across thirteen worldwide studio locations including LA, NY, Vancouver, Atlanta, Montréal, Toronto, Bogotá, Saguenay, Mumbai, Adelaide, Brisbane, Madrid & Barcelona. The group’s most recent work includes Barbie, Silo, and Extraction 2 which was done at FuseFX in Atlanta.

The new film sees Chris Hemsworth back from the brink of death, as commando Tyler Rake. This time he is set on a dangerous mission to save a ruthless gangster’s imprisoned family.

Extraction 2’s was directed by Sam Hargrave, the production VFX supervisor was Bjoern Mayer and the production VFX producer was Magdalena Wolf. Michael Viera was the FuseFX VFX supervisor, on the second installment of the Netflix series which premiered in June. We spoke to Micheal about FuseFX’s work.

FXG: How many shots did the team work on?

Michael Viera: The Team at FuseFX Atlanta worked on over 150 shots ranging from green screen comps, set extensions, muzzle flashes, glass shatter & smoke enhancements, explosions, creatures, and much more. It was an honor to work with an amazing and talented crew of artists.

FXG:  Can you discuss the approach to gunfire, tracer bullets, etc. – was it all manual comp in Nuke? How much 3D was involved with the muzzle flashes, or was it a library of elements?

Michael Viera: The majority of muzzle flashes that FuseFX Atlanta added were shot for this film. Client-side supervisor Bjoern Mayer and the team provided FuseFX with the list of guns for each character in the film and additionally with practical muzzle flashes that matched each weapon over black with several angles. FuseFX Comp Supervisor Alex Miller created a toolset in Nuke for the team to easily switch between weapons and angles per shot. If there was an angle or weapon we were unfamiliar with, we could utilize FuseFX’s extensive element library to complete the shot.

FXG:  There must have been a lot of stunt rig removal – do you use anything like Nuke CopyCat on rig and cleanup?

Michael Viera: Yes, a lot of rig/crew/wire cleanup was needed for the shots worked on at FuseFX Atlanta. We did not use copycat on this show. The team at FuseFX would go through the turnover together from the client and call out what was needed for each shot. When we identified what was needed for cleanup, our team would create annotations and publish frames creating a road map to what needed to be removed/replaced.

FXG: Could you talk about working with the Production VFX Supervisor, Bjorn Mayer, or were most of your interactions with the director Sam Hargrave?

Michael Viera: We mainly spoke with Bjoern Mayer and Magdalena Wolf, who are both so lovely. It was a pleasure to work with Bjoern again; he’s always so calm and collected and knows exactly what is needed to get to the finish line as a unit. Bjoern had excellent ideas for this movie, and I knew we would work well together to achieve the director’s vision. Meeting with the client-side production team was one of the highlights of the week. When Sam would join our calls, it was a pleasure; we were really invested in this story, and hearing feedback directly is always beneficial for both sides.

FXG:  How did you approach the physical volumetric effects, please – was this a deep comp pipeline? For the various smoke, explosions, etc

Michael Viera: With the plates that were turned over to FuseFX, we had many visual references to help recreate/enhance the required effect. For these shots, there was no need for FuseFX to generate Deep renders. For the shots FuseFX worked on, we could layer our effects in the BG/MG/FG.

 

 

FXG:  What format was this shot in and mastered in?

Michael Viera: The client delivered several different formats/cameras. The Head of 2D at FuseFX, Mani T., developed a workflow for the artist to work in one format and redeliver the plates back to the client the way we received them.

FXG: These days how do you object track when adding so much into a shot… in terms of 3D camera/object tracking?

Michael Viera: One of the most helpful things for us in post-production is to get a lidar scan of the set. This is super helpful for us to get the most accurate camera move. We were fortunate to get all of downtown Vienna scanned with the cars that were on set, which helped us with the scale and placement of the vehicles in the scene when object tracking was needed.

 

FXG: Were the effects sims in Houdini and if so what were they rendered in?

Michael Viera: Yes, our FX simulations were created in Houdini and used the Arnold’s render engine.

FXG: Thanks so much