I get the lowdown on how Looper director Rian Johnson became a CG convert in my latest TOH/Indiewire column.
“I kind of understand where Rian was coming from,” suggests VFX supervisor Karen Goulekas (The Day After Tomorrow), “because there’s so much bad CG that gets done out there and that’s the stuff you notice unless it’s a really good, in your face, CG character. But when it’s done seamlessly, you don’t notice it. That’s why it was so important to me that we got good vendors, obviously for my own personal craft, but also in support of Rian’s vision.”
In the end, Johnson was pleased; he thought the VFX looked real. “He was even picking up the lingo,” Goulekas adds. “‘Hey, Karen, let’s give it a little comping: Is that a halo I see?’ Then we’d be comping dust and he’d say, ‘It doesn’t look like they comp’d it based on the luminance of the flight.’ So I’d make a note of it and I’d line up all the shots and show Rian the changes and I’d follow up.”
In fact, Looper was Goulekas’ first indie experience and she found it refreshing. She got to work in the trenches again and got her first taste of globalization. She even got to collaborate with some old pals and new people she’s admired that she didn’t think she could afford at first. But thanks to scheduling and flexibility, she top of the line companies. Of course, it helped that everyone was a fan of Johnson’s neo-noir, Brick, and wanted to work with him.
Scanline VFX’s Munich division handled the tricky telekinesis; Hydraulx did impressive decomposition of victims; and Atomic Fiction took on futuristic cityscapes. Indeed, I featured both Scanline and Atomic Fiction in my recent column to counter some of the prevailing industry gloom and doom.