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Prime Focus has delivered 431 VFX shots for ‘Cocktail’
Posted on July 27, 2012 at 06:51 pm IST
A team of 50 artists  completed the visual effects for the movie in just 60 days
The VFX team at prime focus Mumbai and Hyderabad, delivered 431 VFX shots for the latest release cocktail. A team of 50 artists completed the visual effects for the movie in just 60 days was VFX Supervisor Govardhan Vigraham, who worked under the guidance of Merzin Tavaria, Chief Creative Director of Prime Focus.

Speaking about the challenges, Merzin Tavaria, Chief Creative Director of Prime Focus said, of all the various VFX sequences in 'Cocktail', one of the most interesting and challenging sequences was creating a London backdrop. DoP Anil Mehta shot the sequences against green screen as if it were the actual location in terms of lighting and camera movement, so the visual effects had to match seamlessly with this approach. The challenge was to create a backdrop of London that worked well for each of the shots. With a variety of plates to work with, the team created a vast cityscape with buildings and streets filled with traffic and people. In the end, the team had to match-move the live camera to achieve a highly realistic background movement that took care of various technical aspects such as depth of field and parallax.

Talking about these shots, Prime Focus VFX Supervisor Govardhan Vigraham said, "While shooting the movie, the DoP had a particular vision which was very evident in the shots; the lighting, framing, camera movement, so we had to ensure that we delivered the 'look' that he had set for the movie. Anil spent considerable time with us in setting the various parameters, like the exact composition of the London backdrop and the tones for day, evening, and night."

A good example of this type of shot is the green screen window composite, created for the scene in which Meera is looking out of the window at the slow moving traffic in London, whilst the camera slowly tracks back to reveal the entire room. In order to make the simple shot look stunning, the team added a range of realistic elements such as reflections and scratches on the glass, transparent curtains and an accurate resemblance of street lighting. Additionally, to give a natural look to the shot, it was important to find the right 'levels' in mixing all these elements, resulting in a shot that not only looked natural but also visually captivating.

The movie also involved many VFX-heavy sequences; one of which was Veronica’s accident sequence. In this particular sequence, a heavily intoxicated Veronica is standing in the middle of the road and is hit by a speeding car. With the impact, she is flung in the air before crashing to the ground, as the car goes past her. Considering the safety hazards inherent in shooting this scene, the director wanted to use VFX, so Prime Focus were engaged during pre-production to ensure the success of the shot.
To achieve this accident sequence, the sequence was shot in two different layers. One layer was of the speeding car and the other was Veronica hanging on cables. At the compositing stage, Veronica’s layer was tweaked to create the sudden lift on impact, before being flung in the air.

Besides the shots mentioned above, there were several PIP shots required. Numerous television inserts were individually designed and tracked for each television screen, and there were a number of motion graphics shots, clean-up and compositing work.

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