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Categories: NewsVFX

Fusion Studio Used for VFX on Feature Film Dumb Money

Fremont, CA, USA – Monday, January 22, 2024 – Blackmagic Design today announced that VFX Supervisor Sam O’Hare used Fusion Studio visual effects (VFX) and motion graphics software for Black Bear Pictures and Columbia Pictures’ “Dumb Money.” Fusion Studio’s speed and scripting abilities allowed O’Hare to quickly handle the numerous screen closeups required for the online trading driven comedy.

“Dumb Money” is the ultimate David vs. Goliath tale, based on the insane true story of everyday people who flipped the script on Wall Street and got rich by turning GameStop (yes, the mall video game store) into the world’s hottest company. In the middle of everything is regular guy Keith Gill (Paul Dano), who starts it all by sinking his life savings into the stock and posting about it. When his social posts start blowing up, so does his life and the lives of everyone following him. As a stock tip becomes a movement, everyone gets rich, until the billionaires fight back, and both sides find their worlds turned upside down.

“Dumb Money” also stars Pete Davidson, Vincent D’Onofrio, America Ferrera, Nick Offerman, Anthony Ramos, Sebastian Stan, Shailene Woodley and Seth Rogen. Directed by Craig Gillespie, the film is written by Lauren Schuker Blum and Rebecca Angelo and is based on the book “The Antisocial Network” by Ben Mezrich.

O’Hare, a New York City based VFX Supervisor, led the team that delivered more than 500 shots for the movie. “I’ve been using Fusion for years. It’s still my go to when I need to execute compositing quickly and efficiently. For ‘Dumb Money’ I had four VFX vendors, but due to logistics and budget constraints, it made sense for me to handle some of the shots myself, for which I turned to Fusion,” said O’Hare.

With online trading and news playing a large role in the film’s plot, O’Hare used Fusion Studio for a significant number of screen closeups and treatments. “Screens play a big part in the film, and we had a variety of shots that were extreme closeups on graphics,” he explained. “In Fusion, I built a look for the closeup shots of the screens using reference photography of screen LEDs as a base and concatenated transforms to downres and pixelate the provided graphics and footage. These were combined using various blend modes and color corrects and finished off with vignettes, defocus and grain.”

“Since I was executing a lot of shots and needed to keep my naming conventions straight, I wrote various Python scripts for Fusion to give me a basic pipeline. These ensured my OpenColorIO pipeline was accurate, my files and outputs were always named correctly, and my frame range was always set, as well as built slates and burn ins that automatically updated per shot,” he said.

Additionally, O’Hare used DaVinci Resolve Studio editing, color grading, VFX and audio post production software to help manage the various VFX shots across the film’s four vendors, further relying on its and Fusion Studio’s scripting abilities. “I also used Python scripting to speed up my use of Resolve, which I turned to when reviewing shots because I needed to sync up the color between the LogC4 plates, Linear EXRs and Rec.709 editorial references. Using an exported list of shots, my script would make a Resolve sequence with all those elements added, color coded, and the QuickTimes trimmed to length. A second script used DaVinci Resolve’s Fusion page and Resolve’s native nodes to automatically add the correct gamut and OpenColorIO color transform for each EXR sequence. This meant I could easily check shot length, transform, and color, and look at cleanup and keying work against the plate with a click of a button, as well as play everything back in real time at 4K,” he added.

O’Hare continued, “Since I also wanted to check the differences between versions, I wrote a third script that would automatically search for other versions of EXR sequences or QuickTimes in the folder and move to the next or previous one with a keystroke. All of this allowed me to eliminate a lot of busy work and focus on the imagery. Setting up a hundred shots for review was as simple as doing one. Lastly, I used Resolve to output sequences for approval by the director.”

While most of O’Hare’s work on the film is invisible, he finds that to be the biggest praise. “It’s all intended to be invisible VFX, so when the audience doesn’t realize it’s there, that’s the biggest compliment. All in all, we had more than 500 VFX shots in the movie, including bluescreen car sequences, a whole load of screens, environment replacement for dozens of trees with CG to turn autumn into winter, and adding actors into scenes for which they couldn’t be scheduled and had to be shot separately,” he explained.

“The main things I return to Resolve and Fusion for are their ease of use and speed. I can often accomplish something in a matter of minutes that would take a lot longer in other software. I’m also confident in their color management which is vital for a VFX pipeline,” concluded O’Hare. “Without using Fusion and Resolve, we wouldn’t have been able to execute all the work that needed to happen within the schedule and budget, simple as that. By relying on those tools, I was able to respond in a timely manner to vendors, execute shots, keep producers and the director up to speed, and not have to work crazy hours to make it all happen.”

Press Photography

Product photos of Fusion Studio, DaVinci Resolve Studio and all other Blackmagic Design products are available at www.blackmagicdesign.com/media/images

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

Kerry de Boer

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