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Nice Shoes Lights a Fire with Lady Gaga

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"Marry the Night"
Lady Gaga‘s latest epic, which has had tens of millions of views online since its premiere, is directed by the Lady herself, and features her strutting through a parking lot of car fires and explosions. The explosive effects come courtesy of a collaborative effort between post supervisor Foad Faridzadeh of Dream Riders Studio and the Nice Shoes VFX team led by creative director Aron Baxter and head of CG Boaz Livny.

The autobiographical “Marry the Night,” which follows Lady Gaga through the austere halls of a clinic, an enormous dance hall, her apartment, and a series of massive choreographed dance scenes, is a portrait of a pivotal moment in the performer’s career. The film shifts to an almost post-apocalyptic scene of slashing rain and burning cars enhanced into larger car explosions and flaming heaps by Nice Shoes.

Severe weather conditions on set created a challenge in filming the exploding cars, which had been doused with gasoline. Nice Shoes augmented the footage so that the hero shots of the singer and the flaming vehicles would be the stunning images of the director’s imagination.

Nice Shoes undertook an intensive R&D process to determine how to create flames that would best suit this environment and integrate into the original footage. Livny’s team modeled the non-burning cars with Maya and created the accompanying flames using 3D Max with Fume. “We had to track the cameras and match the cars in place of actual vehicles,” noted Livny. “Then, based on the footage we had, we blocked out the real vehicles with CG vehicles and created flames bursting out from the CG surfaces.” The crew used Flame for compositing and cleanup.

Nice Shoes tailored their VFX to match the rainy night, which involved integrating the CG flames with the reflections in the puddles. “We faced a real challenge due to a combination of factors: the complexity of the weather conditions, the lack of explosions in the initial footage, and the task of creating continuity in the various edits,” stated Livny.

“Nice Shoes VFX did a fantastic job creating a seamless blazing landscape despite working against a very complex palette,” stated Baxter. “Our team pulled this off flawlessly.”

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