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Malditomaus Uses Fusion Studio for VFX on Horror Film Spiral


Samuel L. Jackson in Spiral

Blackmagic Design today announced that Argentinian animation and visual effects (VFX) studio Malditomaus used Fusion Studio VFX and motion graphic software on Lionsgate and Twisted Pictures’ critically acclaimed horror film Spiral: From the Book of Saw.

A criminal mastermind unleashes a twisted form of justice in Spiral, the terrifying new chapter from the book of Saw. Working in the shadow of his father, an esteemed police veteran (Samuel L. Jackson), brash Detective Ezekiel “Zeke” Banks (Chris Rock) and his rookie partner (Max Minghella) take charge of a grisly investigation into murders that are eerily reminiscent of the city’s gruesome past. Unwittingly entrapped in a deepening mystery, Zeke finds himself at the center of the killer’s morbid game.

Buenos Aires-based Malditomaus specializes in producing captivating imagery for feature films, television, virtual reality and augmented reality (VR/AR) content. VFX Executive Producer Martín López Funes spearheaded Malditomaus’ work on the film under the leadership of VFX Supervisor Jon Campfens of Switch VFX.

“Fusion Studio has been one of our main VFX tools for years,” said López Funes. “For ‘Spiral,’ we frequently relied on its optical flow image analysis to create slow motion shots. When you slow down footage, there’s often missing pixels, so we used the optical flow tools to create and animate intermediate frames to smooth out the footage. The optical flow tools identify, duplicate and blend the new frames, as well as generate motion vectors to track them within the footage, so everything appears seamless to the audience.”

Chris Rock in Spiral

For Spiral, Malditomaus also relied heavily on Fusion Studio’s motion tracking tools to stabilize shots, as well as its rotoscoping tools, such as B-Spline and bezier, for image corrections. Additionally, Fusion Studio’s Planar tracker came in especially handy for the film’s green screen scenes.

López Funes explained, “Throughout the film, there are several instances where an image is shown on a TV, monitor or security camera. For example, if a cop was looking up something on a computer, we used Fusion Studio to composite the image of the operating system on the computer’s screen. Depending on the sequence, we used Fusion Studio’s camera tracker and motion tracking tools to match the movement and stabilize the image so it could move perfectly with the shot. We also used the Delta Keyer for keying out the green and blue screens and creating clean plates, and the Luma and Primatte keyers to refine precise details, such as hair movement against the screen.”

Malditomaus also used Fusion Studio’s 3D particle generator to create smoke and muzzle flashes for gunshots throughout the film.

“We used the 3D particle generator to create the clouds of smoke and tracked them using point trackers to the weapons’ barrels. We then created muzzle flashes by layering particles and forming them with masks. Together, the smoke and flash gave a very realistic effect of a gun firing,” López Funes concluded.

Spiral stars Chris Rock, Max Minghella, Marisol Nichols, and Samuel L. Jackson, and is produced by the original Saw team of Mark Burg and Oren Koules. The film is directed by Darren Lynn Bousman and written by Josh Stolberg and Pete Goldfinger.

All photos courtesy of Lionsgate; Photographer Brooke Palmer.

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