Author Archives: Nick Smith

autodesk

Onward to Flame 2016

I’m proud to announce I’ve added Flame 2016 to the post-production workflow at Finland Finish. It’s taken a few years to get to this point, and it’s a huge leap forward in terms of my capabilities and workflow.

Why Flame?

It goes back to when I first started in post around 1994. Flame was just gaining traction as the best high-end VFX and finishing solution for feature films and commercials. It was one of those over-the-shoulder tools, where an artist could make amazing things happen with clients sitting in the room. 20 years later it is still the best tool on the market for making difficult “fix-it-in-post” shots happen. It’s the most fully featured system I’ve worked with, and I look forward to growing as a dedicated Flame user in the coming years.

Some of the Leaps:

Background Rendering
Render shots in the background while continuing to work on the next shot. Huge timesaver.

CG Integration Tools
Compositing with CG elements has become more of a necessity these days as the line has blurred between real elements and CG elements.

3D Projection Tools
Working with 3D camera data to create a rock solid composites in less time.

4K UHD Finishing and Beyond
The HP Z840 workstation has the guts to make UHD and even 8k a reality.

This rules. I’m excited. Sorry for the geekery, but man; am I geeking. Let’s go do some work.

– Nick

Breakdown: SSFCU

These recent SSFCU spots were a blast to help create. The Power Tales campaign features iconic fairy tale women in a modern environment; extolling the virtues of banking with SSFCU.

There’s Little Red Riding Hood – evading the Big Bad Wolf, Snow White – lovingly accompanied by her birds, Cinderella – blinged-out and bankrolled, and Rapunzel – nestled away in her ivory tower.

Rapunzel

Working closely with the creative at Greatest Common Factory, we stylized each character with their own unique look. Nick Smith provided color for the 5K Red Dragon footage, bringing out various warm and cool looks, each with rich contrast and depth. VFX on Snow White were provided with a team of 2D cel animators from Aphid Animation, some CG work from Josh Johnson for the Rapunzel tower shots and Big Bad Wolf, and some 3D animation from Brad at Perfect Form. Additional 3D, VFX cleanup and finishing was done in Autodesk Smoke with Nick.

Check out the campaign:

“RED RIDING HOOD”


“RAPUNZEL”


“SNOW WHITE”


“CINDERELLA”

But wait, there’s more!

The second round in this campaign features mock-pharmaceutical ads, all in the name of Power Rewards. Color, VFX and finish by Nick.


“LOW P”


“COUPLES”

Still from Kumiko the Treasure Hunter

From Sundance to Berlinale

2014 is starting out with a bang. Two feature film projects – the Zellner Brothers’ Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter and Richard Linklater’s Boyhood – had their respective premieres at the Sundance Film Festival. Nick completed all visual effects work for both films – Kumiko, which features a total of 16 VFX scenes and Boyhood, which features 7.

Kumiko is the story of a lonely Japanese woman who travels to Minnesota to seek out the mythical treasure from the film Fargo. A dreamy work, full of sincerity and obsession, Kumiko is the Zellner Brothers’ fifth feature film project, and by far their most ambitious. Shot both in Japan and Minnesota, the finishing touches required some set extensions and background replacements to enhance the distant atmospheres of Kumiko’s journey. Nick has collaborated with the Zellners for years, and considers this work to be their finest.

Boyhood, starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette, is Richard Linklater’s groundbreaking film about growing up – shot over 12 years – with characters who age from scene to scene. Some of the VFX work involved greenscreen driving, replacing van window reflections, helicopter shadow removal, and some garden variety touch-up work. This is Nick’s second collaboration with the team at Detour Filmproduction since working on the Hulu Series, Up To Speed.

Both Kumiko and Boyhood were received to great acclaim at Sundance as well as the Berlinale Film Festival – where Richard Linklater was  honored with a Best Director award. Congratulations to both projects and their much-deserved success. Finland Finish is bursting with pride to have worked on these fine films.