Directorial duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris recently tapped long-time collaborators at bi-coastal Brickyard VFX for all visual effects work on their second indie feature, Ruby Sparks. Dayton and Faris have partnered with Brickyard VFX since the company’s inception on numerous music videos, commercials and other projects.
In Ruby Sparks, Calvin (Paul Dano) is a young novelist who achieved phenomenal success early in his career, but is now struggling with his writing, as well as his romantic life. Finally, he makes a breakthrough and creates a character named Ruby who inspires him. When Calvin finds Ruby (Zoe Kazan), in the flesh, sitting on his couch about a week later, he is completely flabbergasted that his words have turned into a living, breathing person.
“Our job on Ruby Sparks was to enhance and polish the shots, keeping it artful and beautiful without detracting from the storytelling,” explained Brickyard’s VFX executive producer Kirsten Andersen. “All of our work needed to be photo-real and elegant, fitting with the film’s aesthetic. This is one of those projects where if we did our job right, the viewer won’t even know we were there.”
In total, Brickyard delivered 80 VFX shots for the film. Sequences that Brickyard contributed to include the film’s opening scene, a swimming pool scene shot underwater, skywriting over the Los Angeles skyline and images of Ruby dreamily projected onto a ceiling. The opening scene features Ruby as an almost heavenly figure, surrounded by light and seemingly walking on air.
“While the sequence was shot practically, we did quite a bit of tweaking on the color and lighting, working closely with the directors to polish the shot exactly as they intended it to be seen,” explained VFX artist Chris Sonia.
“For the underwater sequence, we color corrected and manipulated many layers of footage, compositing and repositioning the swimming characters, to achieve a very fluid and ethereal feel,” said VFX Artist Geoff McAuliffe.
Ruby Sparks opened July 25.