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Prime focus has delivered 626 VFX shots and DI for spy thriller Agent Vinod
Posted on March 28, 2012 at 02:15pm IST
Prime Focus has recently delivered 626 VFX shots and DI for spy thriller ‘Agent Vinod’. The film was made under the banner of Illuminati Films which was directed by Sriram Raghavan, and is produced by Saif Ali Khan and Dinesh Vijan. Adventures of an Indian RAW agent who is drawn into a series of seemingly unconnected events across the world, leading him to undertake a globe-trotting mission to prevent a nuclear war is the highlight of the film.


The VFX have been done Under the guidance of Chief Creative Director Merzin Tavaria and VFX supervisor Keith Devlin, a team of more than 60 Prime Focus VFX artists in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh worked together to add some extra edge to the spectacular action.

Prime Focus brought in VFX supervisor Keith Devlin for ‘Agent Vinod’, who comes with impressive VFX credentials having worked on prestigious international projects including the James Bond movies, the Harry Potter series, Lara Croft - Tomb Raider and many more. Speaking about Keith’s involvement, Merzin Tavaria said, “We were delighted to have Keith with us, and given his impressive body of work, it helped us to raise the bar of VFX delivery for a film based in India. He played a pivotal role and was deeply involved with this project right from the beginning”.

Speaking about the experience, Keith said, “I was brought in to ensure the overall quality of VFX served as an integral part of the filmmaking process. Giving value to the film with VFX, and not merely using VFX as a ‘band-aid’ was something we wanted at the outset. I was involved in the production process right from the beginning, working closely with the Director Sriram Raghavan , DOP C.K. Muraleedharan and Action Director Peter Hein. We had a hugely enjoyable collaborative working relationship.”

Keith’s contribution to the film was enormous as he not only supervised the entire VFX but was also involved in extensive location supervision. He further explains, “The working ethos that we adopted conformed to the Hollywood model. This resulted in saving time and money on set whilst factoring in the hectic shooting schedules of the stars. What we want to emphasize through this film is that VFX can be used as a normal tool in the filmmaking process, something that is very much the norm in Hollywood these days.”

Needless to say, visual effects play a key role in this racy action-packed movie, and Prime Focus has contributed almost a hundred VFX shots of helicopters along with other VFX for bombings, bazookas, bullets, car chases, and even an awesome autorickshaw pursuit, all of which is bound to keep the audience glued to their seats. Even the popular ‘AV’- Agent Vinod’s signature initials - as well as the opening title sequence, was delivered by Prime Focus.

A team of more than 60 Prime Focus VFX artists in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chandigarh worked together to add some extra edge to the spectacular action.
Talking about some of the more challenging sequences, Keith said, “We treated every problem as a potential advantage and found VFX solutions that presented additional value to the film rather than a compromise. Over-flying Delhi in a chopper is problematic enough, let alone landing it in Connaught Place. Seeing a chopper land is something that has been done in countless films so I used the limitations to our advantage and came up with a much more visually exciting option. Working closely with Peter Hein's superb stunt team, we had the bomb crew rappel down from a craned platform, replacing it later with the hovering CGI chopper. The end result is much more satisfying than merely watching a chopper land and some guys stepping out.”

Considering the time constraints, the entire Prime Focus team worked round the clock to achieve director’s Sriram Ragahavan’s vision of thrilling action that enraptures the audience. The team contributed to numerous lengthy sequences including one, single-take 4,000 frame shot where Saif and Kareena are inside a bar and have to dodge bullet squibs fired from all directions.

With VFX spanning the entire film, the team worked in tandem with the stunt department to ensure that all safety concerns were taken into consideration. This included a particular hotel blast sequence for which the team took care to maintain the realistic look of the blast, without putting the actors to any risk.

The team also contributed considerable motion graphics design for the movie, to help maintain the ethos of a modern-day espionage film. A lot of high-end technology monitor inserts were individually designed in order to blend seamlessly with the story line, serving as a visual delight for the audience.
The entire project comes across as a spectacular effort on part the VFX team.

Commenting on the project, Merzin Tavaria said, “With ‘Agent Vinod’, it was pioneering effort on our part as we were involved in the process right from the initial stage, delivering a massive amount of VFX shots in a short span. It shows how VFX can smooth the editorial process and work in tandem with action and cinematography to enrich the appeal of the film instead of being merely a secondary solution. We successfully achieved what the director and producer had in mind - to match the VFX standards to those of Hollywood. It was a really exciting project, that we're very proud to be part of.”

‘Agent Vinod’ being a perfect mix of action, thriller and drama, with oodles of glamour, the DI team paid particular attention to achieving a sleek and glossy feel for the movie while maintaining an extremely glamorous look. Since it is a niche story revolving around a spy travelling across various countries, the DI team varied the grading of the film as per the narrative.

The look for the film was set by Prime Focus colorist SManoj C.P.K Verma. Commenting on the project, he said, “While grading the movie, the color palette was altered according to the storyline. For instance, the color tone for the scenes shot in Europe was set to cool and pink whereas the look for Russia changed to orange and breezy. A very desaturated look was maintained for most of the sequences based in New Delhi while a lot of brown was utilized to grade sequences in Afghanistan.” With the action taking place in more than six countries, the DI team switched the colors and textures as per the location.

Rohan Desai, DI Head and Chief Colorist at Prime Focus India added, “We liaised closely with the DOP of the film C.K.Muraleedharan. His creative and artistic sensibilities are admirable and we had to match the grading to keep up with the aesthetic appeal of the film. What he actually aimed for was to create a look that the audiences had previously seen only in Hollywood movies. With tight deadlines, it was a challenging task for us and we are proud to deliver DI that exactly achieves C.K.Muraleedharan’s creative intent and vision.”
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