Solving VFX problems on Set
on the pilot for nbc series reverie, Stephan Fleet needed to find a way to show lead character mara (Sarah Shahi) being pushed off a balcony and fall hundreds of storeys “We didn’t have the budget for heavy digi-double work,” says Fleet. “And we didn’t have the time for motion control. I also didn’t want a ton of wires crossing through her face and hair. So, collaborating with the director, Jaume Collet-serra, I came up with this super crazy idea, to do the shot in two parts.
“The first part was easy – a profile shot of a guy pushing her off the balcony onto a pad. VFX would add the banister she smashes through. The second part was nuts. We had two really strong stunt dudes hold the lead actress up and we used a live-switcher to eyeball her into her end position from the first part, then we picked up the move, tracking the camera around her. We blasted her with wind, and shook the camera like crazy. VFX added the city around her and blended the two plates together.”
Fleet says the result of this approach was that it didn’t feel like the actress was hanging on wires, which meant it felt more naturalistic. “Given our budget,” adds Fleet, “and our three-week post schedule, I think it’s a really rad shot, and it was played a ton in the trailer – that’s when you know you did something well, in my world.”