INDIA CHASING HOLLYWOOD
October 12, 2010 1 Comment
INDIAN BIGGEST BUDGET MOVIE TO CHASE HOLLYWOOD BIG WIG
The multi-crore Rajinikanth-starrer Endhiran (Robot) opened to a frenzied response in theatres across worldwide on OCT 1st.The trilingual movie in Tamil, Hindi and Telugu with English subtitles produced by Kalanidhi Maran and directed by Shankar has Rajinikanth and Aishwarya Rai in the lead roles. It‘s a sci-fi emotional movie in which Rajinikanth plays a dual role of a scientist and a robot. The scientist Dr. Vaseegaran creates a robot with artificial intelligence and names it as Chitti, the film goes on to show how Chitti mingles with society.
Its a visual effects showcase to the world audience from India. Biggest budget film ever made in India,Which dawns a eye opener in the visual effects industry with the collaboration of the best resources both from western and Indian technocrats ($41,675,740 approximate). The movie required a unobtrusive VFX of over 2000 shots that add up to around 60 scenes in the film. V.Srinivas Mohan handled the entire film Visual effects as a Vfx supervisor. Frankie Chung and Eddy Wong were the additional supervisors for there respective work.
The Visual effects of the film glimpse the boundaries with collaboration of studios like LA based Legacy effects US (Stan Winston Studios),Indian Artists Computer Graphics Pvt. Ltd(Chennai),Menfond(Hong kong),kinomotive(Hong Kong),Hyderabad based Firefly Studios; Chennai based VenSat, Pixion, EFX Prasad Studios, Ocher Studios, Mayans Creatives. Also some freelancers from London, Canada, Iran, Germany, France and Hong Kong were part of the project. The 80% of the VFX work has been handled by Chennai based studio Indian Artists Computer Graphics Pvt. Ltd.Indian Artists had been earlier facilitated with 2 Indian National Award for excellence in Visual effects for film by Indian government. Lastly been grabbing the award for its excellent work in Tamil Movie – Shivaji for Digital Skin grafting technology used in the Film song. Making a Indian superstar look like European complexion.
Considering the budget and time line. Budgeting and VFX scheduling had been the crux of the project to get it delivered. Mr.V.Srinivas Mohan had the dual role of being a VFX supervisor of the film and VFX producer along with Mr.T.K.Jayakumar in roping the right resources across the world.
V.Srinivas Mohan shared “One of the challenge was to get international standards in Indian budget. For that We have used lots of techniques such as the pre productionn withdetailedd pre visualization, Animatroincs and Light stage face scanning which were much appreciated and welcomed by studios in the Hollywood when we approached them for their services. Thanks to Director Shankar sir for fresh and wild ideas with emotional sc-fi script. The animatronics was used in about 22 scenes in total for the movie. All the resources and technology available at Legacy effects were used for the same including puppets, mannequins and special make-up. 2 main Robot puppets ware designed and build exclusively for this project. About 40 mannequins of The Robot Ranjinikanth were got from Legacy Effects studio for the scenes involving number of robots.”
The Vfx team has used some unique technology such as the Doom Light stage scanning for detail high resolution CGI face. Also the Indian Artists have developed a new proprietary skin shader plugin with the help of Jupiter Jazz, the developers of shake. The shader is open source and the code for it is available at https://code.google.com/p/jupiterskin/.
Pre visualization was one of the most important part of the visual effects work involved in the movie. Sanath P.C from Firefly Studios Supervised on the pre production of the scenes. About 40 scenes were pre visualized in the preproduction stage and done in animation before going in for the shoot. The pre production for these scenes alone took about 6-7 months.
Some of the Major jinx in the visual treatment were the motion control shots which had multiplication of the ROBO character. Which involved lots of planning before going for the shots and getting it 100% done with less penny shed. Having the Frame information of the top and bottom in the super 35 format, Indian Artists deviced a Camera rig to get perfection with manual control without the actual motion control rigs, Which costs huge pie and time consuming, if it were been used for compelete project.
Association of Legacy Effects had given the right value addition to film with live interactions and necessary story blending which was never been attempted in Indian Cinema. Mr.Vance Heartwell and Mr.Alan Scott has helped in all stages of the animatronics and special make-up.
Motion Graphics and Head UP Displays in the film have been Minor Parts which was taken care in detail to reveal the story and give the science fiction texture to the visuals. Which had been complete undertaking at Indian Artists. Direction Team was keen in not having too many eye poppers in actually spoiling the storyline. The Story establishes the robot character to distinguish from the scientist which was donned by the same superstar Rajinikanth. Which involved lots of head removals and dual character interactions with live with Animatronics blends with character movement. Which had a meticulous planning in execution and shot planning with seamless blending of compositing.
The Seamless blending of Key frame Animation,Motion capture, Animatronics, Multi Robots, Real model/texture scan of character had given the right photo-real blend to story. VFX have been seamless and consistent with right colour timing from the DI Team lead by Mr.Ken, Reliance media works.
The most interesting and challenging sequence in the movie was the climax sequence. The climax sequence involves 100s of robots grouping into a cluster with their electromagnetic powers and forming different shapes and forms of characters such as a giant snake and giant human. “Each of the robots had a separate biped and each of them had to be animated to for the formation of the final form and characters to be smooth, such the formation of the head of the giant snake. It was a challenging and exciting task to bring about the desired output. Frankie Chung worked on the character designs for the climax sequence and Jack Ho has helped on location” added Mr.V.srinivas Mohan.
“It was a wonderful experience working for the project. I have to thank entire Vfx team, Director Shankar, Actor Rajini, Producer Sun pictures Kalanithi Maran, DOP Ranthnavelu, Art Director Sabu and Editor Antony for giving their great support in this entire execution process. For the audience the movie is an experience of few hours, but for us it was an unforgettable experience of about 3 years. We enjoyed each and every day and the last 6 months had been sleepless nights” thats how Mr.Srinivas gratitude’s the effort with humble smile.