Blackmagic Design today announced that visual effects (VFX) company Flying Turtle Post used Fusion Studio VFX and motion graphics software on the new comedy “Looks That Kill.”
“Looks That Kill” tells the story of Max Richards, a teenager born with a medical condition of being lethally attractive, whose life is forever changed when he meets Alex, a girl with a bizarre ailment of her own. Written and directed by Kellen Moore, and starring Brandon Flynn, Julia Goldani Telles, Ki Hong Lee, Annie Mumolo, Peter Scolari and more, “Looks That Kill” is the latest film from Syracuse based production company American High, the producers behind “Big Time Adolescence” and “Banana Split.” “Looks That Kill” is distributed by Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company.
With the film’s cinematography consisting of fluid camera movements and continuous takes, the Flying Turtle Post team was challenged with creating long seamless VFX sequences. According to VFX Supervisor and Flying Turtle Post Owner Shaina Holmes, “Our most challenging sequence was referred to as ‘the big one’ because the plates we received included more than 7,000 frames for just this one shot, which was around five minutes of footage. It follows the main character Max through multiple locations with one long time lapse, so we had to seamlessly stitch edits between green screen shots and place lots of speed ramps to go fast, slow and normal speed throughout.”
With the scene bringing the audience through Max’s emotional journey as he travels between a hospital room, memorial service and the outside world, the Flying Turtle Post team relied on Fusion Studio to bring the shots together into one extended seamless sequence.
“We compared this shot to the kitchen sink omelet at a restaurant, because it has everything,” said Holmes. “Lots of artifact cleanup was needed, along with rig removals, creating clean plates to slide objects down a wall, dealing with daylight changes and camera movements, marrying together two forest plates with different camera pans and time of day, and more. With all the speed changes applied and shot stitching, it ultimately was around four minutes long, and we couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.”
Holmes and her team also used Fusion Studio to create impactful invisible VFX for the film, including compositing multiple plates together, such as adding fire to a tree or capturing a cigarette falling through the air; giving a character a nosebleed; creating and distressing weathered signage; turning light bulbs on and creating flashing lights; removing unwanted people, safety rigging and tattoos from shots; and more.
“Whether it’s doing cell screen replacements or beauty fixes or creating split screens to stitch together the best performances, invisible VFX are most films’ unsung heroes as they keep the audience enthralled in the storytelling without distracting them with technical imperfections,” explained Holmes. “Using Fusion Studio, we did a lot of invisible VFX for ‘Looks That Kill,’ such as artifact cleanup, stabilizations, fluid morphs, wipe transitions, and so on, that the audience would never notice, and that’s exactly how it should be.”
Led by Holmes, who currently also teaches VFX at Syracuse University, the Flying Turtle Post team consists of many of her former students who have gone on to pursue careers in post production. With a focus on mentorship, Holmes works closely with the junior artists, who all work from home as the VFX house operates remotely. For example, for “Looks That Kill,” Holmes helped train the team’s junior artists on working with the film’s anamorphic aspect ratio, including how to use Fusion Studio to add anamorphic lens distortion to stock footage so the look was consistent throughout.
About American High
Founded in the fall of 2017 by writer, director and producer Jeremy Garelick (The Wedding Ringer, The Hangover, The Break-Up) and producer Mickey Liddell’s LD Entertainment, American High is an innovative production company specializing in provocative teen comedies. After acquiring an abandoned high school in Syracuse, NY, the company began operating a groundbreaking full-service production hub consisting of authentic film sets, soundstages, editing suites and a non-profit local film academy. By embracing the R-rated reality of high school, the company’s mission is to do for this generation what John Hughes did for the audiences of the 1980’s – tell modern stories of eclectic characters from diverse backgrounds as they navigate the most formative (and often most hilarious) years of their lives. Since 2017, American High has shot seven films including Big Time Adolescence starring Pete Davidson and Griffin Gluck, which debuted at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival and is now streaming on Hulu; Banana Split starring Hannah Marks, Liana Liberato and Dylan Sprouse; The Binge starring Skyler Gisondo, Eduardo Franco and Vince Vaughn; and The Ultimate Playlist of Noise starring Madeline Brewer and Keean Johnson. In addition to producing multiple films per year, the company aims to finance and acquire a number of third-party films that align with the mission of the American High brand.
About Gravitas Ventures
Gravitas Ventures, a Red Arrow Studios company, is a leading all rights distributor of independent feature films and documentaries. Founded in 2006, Gravitas connects independent filmmakers and producers with distribution opportunities across the globe. Working with talented directors and producers, Gravitas Ventures has distributed thousands of films into over a hundred million homes in North America – over one billion homes worldwide. Recent releases include Armstrong, directed by David Fairhead; Above the Shadows staring Olivia Thirlby, Megan Fox and Jim Gaffigan; The River and the Wall, directed by Ben Masters; Score: A Film Music Documentary; California Typewriter; Legion of Brothers; Katie Holmes’ feature directorial debut; All We Had, Colin Hanks’ All Things Must Pass; and Being Evel from Academy Award winning director Daniel Junge and producer Johnny Knoxville. For more information, please visit gravitasventures.com, and follow @GravitasVOD on Twitter and @gravitasventures on Instagram.
About Red Arrow Studios
Red Arrow Studios is one of the world’s leading creators and distributors of entertainment content, comprised of an acclaimed network of international production companies and labels in seven territories; world-leading digital studio, Studio71, based in six countries; and global film and TV distributors Red Arrow Studios International and Gravitas Ventures. The group’s significant output includes scripted, non-scripted and formatted content and IP, from TV and film to short-form and branded content, made for an array of global networks and platforms. Red Arrow Studios is part of ProSiebenSat.1 Media SE, one of Europe’s leading media groups. redarrowstudios.com
About Blackmagic Design
Blackmagic Design creates the world’s highest quality video editing products, digital film cameras, color correctors, video converters, video monitoring, routers, live production switchers, disk recorders, waveform monitors and real time film scanners for the feature film, post production and television broadcast industries. Blackmagic Design’s DeckLink capture cards launched a revolution in quality and affordability in post production, while the company’s Emmy™ award winning DaVinci color correction products have dominated the television and film industry since 1984. Blackmagic Design continues ground breaking innovations including 6G-SDI and 12G-SDI products and stereoscopic 3D and Ultra HD workflows. Founded by world leading post production editors and engineers, Blackmagic Design has offices in the USA, UK, Japan, Singapore and Australia. For more information, please go to www.blackmagicdesign.com