The responsibility of saving the world from a resurgent alien threat is thrust upon five teenage outcasts with an attitude. Together they must fulfill their destiny under the guidance of a mysterious alien mentor. Sounds familiar? Yep. It’s the Power Rangers in a brand new contemporary makeover! Directed by Dean Israelite, the film boasts a stellar cast, with Elizabeth Banks taking on the role of Rita Repulsa, Bryan Cranston as Zordon and Bill Hader as Alpha 5.
Multiple Academy Awards winner Digital Domain roped in BOT VFX to help with look enhancement, replacing the green suit stunt doubles with CG characters and prosthetic cleanup on characters.
The Power Rangers’ suits come equipped with wiring called Energy Lines. BOT’s Roto team’s main task was to provide Rotoscopy for all of those lines which were then used to generate glowing and pulsing energy that flowed through each suit. They used 3D tracks to stabilize the camera movement. They then used 2D tracking and frame by frame manual roto in both Silhouette and Nuke on the more complex shots. With some of the shots being as long as 2000 frames, this was a particularly challenging project. Production Coordinator Anand Ramesh explains, “It seems simple in theory, but most of the shots were complicated by heavy action, what with the characters constantly running, flying, flipping and performing crazy acrobatics.”
Things were equally grueling for the Paint team as well. The major task was to paint out the stunt doubles from the original plates of some of the highest-octane shots. They would later be replaced with CG characters. The work was not straightforward Anand explains, “We had to work on slow motion shots and recreate the background with very limited source to go on.” However, armed with clean plates for objects in different depths, the 3D camera track and set geometry from Digital Domain, the team set out to do what it does best. 2D Supervisor Srikanth Srinivasan elaborates, “Some of the trickier shots included those of the characters Zordon and Rita. Since the actors wore prosthetic suits, the main challenge before the team was to fix the obvious wrinkles and cracks that made the prosthetic makeup look artificial.” This called for meticulous paint work, which wasn’t exactly a straightforward job due to subtle muscle and skin movements. Digging into Nuke’s expansive toolset the team was able to track the subtle movements at pixel level, which helped achieve the desired results.
Finally, three whirlwind months later, BOTs delivered over a hundred shots.
“The kind of work this project entailed, it needed the Roto and Paint teams to work in super-efficient tandem. We wouldn’t have made half the progress we did, if it wasn’t for everyone’s proactive and meticulous planning. That is what made this project a truly rewarding experience”, smiles Srikanth.
If there’s anything that gets the BOT team going with superhuman efficiency, it’s projects like these that bring out the collaborative spirit in everyone. As the Red Ranger would say, “It’s morphin’ time!”
Saban’s Power Rangers will be out on Digital HD June 13th and 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray Combo Pack and DVD on June 27th.