Eyeon Case Study Battlestar Galactica Aurore de Blois

Another is the Skydiving sequence from Razor; when the young Adama fights a classic Centurion in hand to hand combat high in the atmosphere of a frozen planet, plummeting to the ground. When I first saw the previs and learned I was printing that sequence I was floored because it is such an exciting part of Razor.

What are some of your favourite tools in Fusion, and how do they help in production?

I do a lot of matchmoving on BSG, and one of my favourite features in Fusion would be the 3D tools. They allow me to complete more on my own without bothering the CG team for elements. Anytime I can ease their workload somehow is a good thing- being able to import my own starfield or other background into a 3D comp helps to speed things up.

I use Fusion's 3D to check my matchmoves for accuracy by importing the models into a slapcomp.  But for the larger matchmove shots I also provide a previs render to the CG team to demonstrate the track is solid. 

I use imported matchmoves to clean up plates in Fusion's 3D instead of trying to achieve the same thing with a 2D track, which does not work so well if your camera is zooming or has a perspective shift.

How capable is Fusion as a compositing application in the broadcast industry?

I would recommend it to anyone.

What qualities or elements of the Razor episode do you think led to the VES and Emmy awards it received?

We push the envelope for a weekly series. We go big, don’t hold back and create exciting VFX shots that you don’t expect to see on television. We have never let long render times scare us away from achieving what we wanted to get in any shot, never compromised that way. I think that alone has set us apart. We have an exceptional team that works great together. It was very rewarding for Razor to receive a VES Award because of the sheer amount of work that went into it. That was a show with over 60 shots cut out as well- it was going to be much bigger originally.

How vital were Fusion’s roto and masking capabilities on Razor?

Roto plays a huge role in BSG. We couldn’t do the split screen multiple Cylon duplicates shots without it.  I find the masking in Fusion to be great to work with. Having masks act as a separate node tool is a great addition. You get a wide range of control, plus instancing masks helps out as well.

In Razor, the mask paint tool was especially helpful when I had to insert a Centurion behind smoke and falling sparks in a corridor on the Pegasus. It made a shot that might have appeared impossible into a shot that turned out great with a small effort. Roto would not have worked, as there were subtleties in the smoke that masking alone simply would not have achieved.

Are there any new features in 5.3 that you feel will further help you in your pipeline?

The stickies are great and I am enjoying the additional options within the masking tools. More than anything though I am enjoying having my entire computer's power available to me with the 64 bit Fusion.

What can we expect from you in the future?

I wish I could discuss the upcoming project I will be working on; it is very exciting but top secret.

Are there any new features in Fusion 6 that you are excited to use and feel will further help you in your pipeline?

The Region of Interest tool will certainly help with some of more intensive shots, but I think the new 3D features will be a great asset- I am especially excited to be playing with those.


How does it feel to be recognized for your work with an Emmy award?

That is difficult to put into words, actually. It’s humbling and exciting at the same time. I guess most of us at some point imagine what it might be like, hope for it, wish for it- but for it to actually happen is different.  It was a surreal experience for me in some ways, how it happened so fast.  It is incredibly rewarding. When I began work on BSG over 3 1/2 years ago, I knew it was a tremendous opportunity to be on board and I've been grateful for it.  Not just being part of such an exciting show- I have considered myself very fortunate to be part of the BSGVFX team itself because of who is on our team, and what we accomplish on a daily basis.  It is a distinctive prospect to be involved in something like that; they do not come along too often so to be part of it is something not to be missed. To have received an Emmy was a great honour, but to have shared that honour with my friends and co-workers just made it even greater for me. I recently learned that Galactica is the first broadcast series to win back-to-back Emmys for best VFX- that is extraordinary and something to be very proud of.  When the Skydiving sequence from Razor picked up a special class Emmy Award, I was particularly happy because that part of Razor was always my favorite sequence.


 How does working behind the scenes affect your view of the show?

You can’t enjoy a novel when you read the end first... This is essentially where I am with trying to watch the show.  I have discovered that I actually have a hard time watching it and that began for me early on.  Somehow it is difficult for me to just enjoy experiencing it since I am ‘behind the scenes’, as you put it.  I know too much about it so the mysteries are gone for me, I suppose. Despite this, I still think it is easily one of the best things out there, and it will hold up beautifully years from now. Gary actually made a great point during his Emmy acceptance speech he made- about how BSG is a drama and not sci-fi. One day all those who have been avoiding the show because of this misconception will give it a try and they'll be stunned to realize that they were passing it up based on an assumption that was very wrong.

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