Moving Target Creates Visual Effects for Sundance’s Land with Fusion Studio

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Fremont, CA – Blackmagic Design today announced that Los Angeles based visual effects (VFX) company Moving Target used Fusion Studio VFX and motion graphics software on the new feature film “Land.”

Premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, “Land” tells the poignant story of one woman’s search for meaning in the vast and harsh American wilderness. Edee (Robin Wright), in the aftermath of an unfathomable event, finds herself unable to stay connected to the world she once knew and in the face of that uncertainty, retreats to the magnificent, but unforgiving, wilds of the Rockies. After a local hunter (Demián Bichir) brings her back from the brink of death, she must find a way to live again.

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Compositing Supervisor Jeremy Nelson used Fusion Studio for the film’s VFX sequences, including amplifying the intensity of the wilderness’ weather. “Snow is a force to be reckoned with and is an important storytelling element in part of the film, so I used Fusion Studio’s 3D particle system to create weather in several shots,” explained Nelson. “Rather than hand off the particle work to another VFX artist, having the tools within Fusion Studio allowed me to quickly put together all the shots in a day, and then tweak them as needed. It was a huge time saver.”

Nelson also relied on the 3D particle tools during a driving scene in the beginning of the film. “As Wright’s character is driving to the mountains, we used Fusion Studio’s 3D projection tools to remove elements from the footage to better set the scene, such as signs and traffic, and to change the camera angle. We also used the 3D particle system and displacement tools to make a river running alongside the road appear to be flowing, then quickly jumped into DaVinci Resolve Studio to help loop an element for the scene. I used the edit page to trim the footage to the length I needed and then cross dissolved it over itself to create a seamless loop of the river, before sending it back to Fusion Studio to complete the VFX work,” said Nelson.

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Nelson’s favorite Fusion Studio tool is the grid warper, which he sees as a way to add high production value very quickly. For example, in one scene Wright’s character is overcome by the elements and knocked to the floor in her cabin. She is malnourished when she’s found, so Nelson and the Moving Target team used the grid warper to try out different looks.

“We used Fusion Studio’s grid warper and 2D tracking tools to help make her look emaciated, applying the new look over Wright’s skin so her ribs protruded, her face was gaunter and her color was less healthy,” Nelson said. “The way that Fusion Studio’s tools share data speeds everything up, so we were able to quickly tweak the effects based on notes and how far we ultimately wanted to push the look. We could make revisions faster, which is crucial for a scene like this where it takes some finetuning to find the right balance. Ultimately, they ended up going with a more natural look from the original photography but that’s the beauty of VFX, sometimes you don’t know what the best end result will be until you try different options, which is why you need to have quick, versatile tools.”

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