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Prime Focus has delivered 1108 VFX shots for the latest movie, 'Players'
Posted on Jan 20, 2012 at 08:00am IST
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Prime Focus has delivered 1108 VFX shots and full DI for the latest Bollywood heist movie,  Players . Based on the 2003 Hollywood blockbuster  The Italian Job , the thriller was helmed by directing duo Abbas - Mustan and stars Abhishek Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor, Bipasha Basu, Neil Nitin Mukesh, Sikander Kher, Bobby Deol, Omi Vaidya and Aftab Shivdasani.

In  Players , a gang of robbers led by Charlie (Abhishek Bachchan) pull off the perfect heist, stealing gold worth $10 billion from a moving train, only to be double crossed by one of their own. The movie is a perfect mix of action, comedy and drama, with oodles of glamour.

VFX
Under the guidance of Chief Creative Director Merzin Tavaria, VFX Supervisor Mahesh Baria led a team of 85 artists based in Prime Focus facilities in Mumbai, Hyderabad and Chennai to complete the VFX shots for the movie in just a month and a half.

"Players is our fourth collaboration with Prime Focus. We were truly impressed by the way Merzin Tavaria and his team was involved from the pre-production stage itself, which helped enhance our story-telling", said Abbas Burmawala, one half of famous directing duo Abbas - Mustan.
























One of the most important and challenging sequences in the movie was the plot twist on the train, and the Prime Focus team was involved in planning the sequence in pre-production. Talking about the sequence, DoP Ravi Yadav said, "For such a challenging shot, Prime Focus presented seamless and convincing VFX shots in a short span. Involving Prime Focus helped me to improve the intensity and magnitude of the sequence to a great extent."

Chief Creative Director and Co-Founder of Prime Focus Merzin Tavaria added, "Very seldom does a single sequence require as many as 305 VFX shots. The scale by itself reflects the complexities involved in delivering a sequence of this magnitude. Since we planned the shoot keeping in mind the requirements of post and by utilizing our own internal pipeline, we were able to flawlessly deliver this sequence in 15 days."

For this sequence, the entire train scene was shot on a static rig - the guards watching the movement outside the window were entirely shot against green screen, with moving footage of the Russian background composited, tracked and roto d. To create the foggy effect or illusion on the windows of the train, 3D dynamics and matte painting was used.























The train is tracked by a satellite on numerous computers. The monitor inserts were individually designed and tracked for each computer screen in order to make it seamless with the story line of the movie. The shot when the train passes through a tunnel was completely computer generated, matte painted, tracked and 3D projected. To add glitter to the $10 billion worth gold, each and every individual gold slab was roto d separately.

"Considering safety hazards, VFX was used for most of shots in this scene" said Mahesh Baria. The team used the footage which was originally shot for each character in chroma, roto d each character and then composited the moving footage of the background. To make the scene even more believable, moving reflections and pace were added to the moving background."

Mahesh Baria continued, "Towards the end of this shot, Charlie and his team member Spider break into a fight. In this particular sequence, since most of the shots were under water, we had to add water bubbles. To make the shot look even more realistic and action packed, a lot of blast enhancements, rig removal, chroma and clean up shots were involved as well. In addition, camera shakes and frame-by-frame roto followed by tracking was carried out to make the shot look believable and authentic."

Besides the shot mentioned above, there is a shot where Charlie and two of his other team members are driving cars parallel to the train in an underground rail system, to eventually drive it in front of the train engine. For this scene, the underground rail system and cars had to be made completely in CG. Another sequence shows Spider s house laden with interactive touch screens. For each screen, different moving shots were captured separately and later on the moving backgrounds were composited and computer generated on the screen to make the shots look flawless.

Finally, for the climax sequence, car multiplication, matte painting, compositing and transition shots were involved as the director duo wanted to show a massive traffic jam.

DI
Being a fast paced, action-centric thriller, the look of  Players  also varies as per the narrative. The grading had to be glossy while maintaining a glamorous and sleek look.
The movie was shot on location in a number of different countries - the first part of the movie was shot in Goa and Russia, the required look being warm yellow and desaturated respectively, and the climax, which needed a glossy look, was shot in New Zealand.

Commenting on the project, Rohan Desai, DI Head and Chief Colorist, Prime Focus said "One of the biggest challenges, and the most difficult sequence of the entire movie, was the train sequence in Russia. Since the entire sequence was shot while it was snowing, and the weather was freezing, a consistent look had to be maintained while grading. Keeping in mind the glamorous look of the movie, the snow was treated with finesse. Post the train sequence, a desaturated look was maintained for the fight sequence."

"Since the movie is an action packed movie, we enhanced the original colors to make the movie look sleek, stylish and glossy", said Colorist, Harmeet (Sunny) Singh. "A very warm and glossy look was given to the song-  Ho Gayi Tun  to make it the most glamorous song of the movie. Extensive work was done to make each character look glamorous and stylish in keeping with the movie."

One of the other challenges was to match and grade shots from multiple setup cameras and the 5D camera.

Via Prime Focus
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