Tag Archives: Phosphene

Quick Chat: ‘The Knick’ gets medical help via Phosphene

By Randi Altman

We are all used to medical dramas about heroic, well-dressed, beautiful doctors saving lives against all odds. But Cinemax’s The Knick turns this typically procedural genre on its head. This Steven Soderbergh-directed series — yes, the Oscar- and Emmy-winning filmmaker — stars Clive Owen as the ultra-talented but far from perfect surgeon John Thackery. Yes, that’s the Academy Award-nominated Clive Owen.

The Knick takes place the turn of the 20th Century and focuses on New York’s Knickerbocker Hospital and its staff, who are practicing some pretty “creative” medicine on their patients. With any period piece there are many opportunities for visual effects: removing anything modern that might appear in a shot, set extensions, etc., but that’s not where it ended on The Knick. For Continue reading

Phosphene provides VFX shots for ‘The Fault in Our Stars’

Phosphene’s visual effects team, under the direction of creative director/VFX supervisor John Bair and executive producer Vivian Connolly, completed effects work and adapted the 20th Century Fox logo for the film The Fault in Our Stars. This 20th Century Fox offering, which stars Shailene Woodley, and Ansel Elgort, focuses on Hazel and Gus who meet and fall in love at a cancer support group.

At several key points in the film, Hazel lies in the grass and stares up at the starry night sky, which was created by Phosphene. The very first time we see the night sky is during the 20th Century Fox logo animation. Phosphene was assigned the task of tying the iconic logo with the theme of the film. “We came to Phosphene with the idea of incorporating the starry sky motif into the Fox logo. Phosphene did an amazing job of bringing the night sky to life in a way that really helps launch the story,” explained director Josh Boone.

The Fault in our Stars FOX_logo_night_comp_v034_editsmall

Phosphene’s primary visual effects work included the compositing of a prosthetic leg and stump for Gus. “From my first meeting with Josh, he and I talked about how real and naturalistic we wanted Gus’s leg to look. Phosphene was my first call,” said the film’s VFX supervisor Jake Braver. “We decided early on to stay away from CG and to use the combination of an amputee double and a 2D approach. Phosphene did an amazing job of seamlessly integrating the prosthetic leg and selling the illusion that Gus had lost his leg to cancer.”

Phosphene’s lead digital artist, Aaron Raff, said, “In order to replace the leg, we used camera projections and proxy geometry in Nuke X to project the shape and textures of an amputee body double’s leg into the plate of Gus’ limb. Using this method, we were able to show Gus’s amputation in shots with dynamic camera moves, as well as in shots where the actor moved freely, shifting his position.” The Foundry’s Nuke X, running on PCs, was the only system the New York-based VFX studio used on the shots.

Phosphene effects producer Ariela Rotenberg added, “Throughout the process, we took extreme care to remain true to the thematic and emotional tone of the story, particularly for our work on Gus’s leg, which is such an important plot point.  We were very lucky that Josh Boone and his team came to us with such a specific and grounded vision, which allowed us to really focus on helping tell the story of these incredibly vivid characters.”

Technicolor-PostWorks in Los Angeles provided DI and lab processing.