CoSA VFX Breaks Into Alcatraz

CoSA VFX Breaks Into Alcatraz

Burbank, CA (15. March 2012) - CoSA VFX supplied over 250 visual effects shots for the first season of Alcatraz, airing on Fox this Spring.

“For a show that isn’t necessarily VFX-driven, there’s a lot of variety to the effects work,” says CoSA VFX Supervisor Tom Mahoney. “We’ve been asked to deliver particle simulations of tear gas, matte paintings of San Francisco, look development for hi-tech gadgets and everything in between.”

“The tear gas was especially fun,” adds CoSA's Christopher Lance. “We had less than a week to create photo-real CG elements of billowing white smoke, and to integrate them into a shot that cuts right up against practical smoke in the shots that follow.” VFX Technical Director Brian Demetz generated the gas as a 3D fluid simulation, using special techniques to enhance detail while keeping render times within the deadline. As many as 64 million voxels went into each gas jet, totaling 130 Gigabytes of simulation data for the shot. Multiple lighting passes gave Lance the flexibility to match each gas jet to the on-set lighting. 

Bad Robot VFX Supervisor Jay Worth and VFX Producer Liz Castro awarded CoSA critical shots for the Alcatraz pilot in which Rebecca’s partner falls to his death from a San Francisco rooftop. CoSA’s Tom Mahoney created a matte painted backdrop for the character dangling over the street below, while the comp team tackled complex removals of on-set rigging and safety equipment. Other seamless effects for the series handled by CoSA’s compositors included a close-up head replacement to fix performance issues from a reshoot.

Alcatraz is one of three Bad Robot television series that CoSA worked on during the 2011 - 2012 season, along withPerson of Interest and Fringe. “Jay Worth is a highly collaborative and insightful supervisor, not to mention a visual effects powerhouse,” says CoSA VFX Producer Joseph Bell. “CoSA has supplied 750 shots for Jay’s shows so far this season; over 250 for Alcatraz alone.” CoSA uses The Foundry’s Nuke software for compositing, and Luxology’s Modo for hard surface modeling, rendering and rigid simulation.