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Siggraph: New VFX Details Revealed on 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Prime Focus, also an investor in the production, completed 2,282 VFX shots

Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For Character Still - H 2014
Dimension Films
"Sin City: A Dame to Kill For"

Prime Focus World presented an advanced discussion of its work on Sin City: A Dame to Kill For — a special project for the VFX company in that it also took a financial stake in the production while handling all of its 2,282 VFX shots. The film is scheduled to open on Aug. 22.

Speaking Tuesday at CG confab Siggraph in Vancouver, VFX supervisor Stefen Fangmeier and Prime Focus co-founder and chief creative director Merzin Tavaria related that look of the sequel needed to both respect the look of co-director Frank Miller’s graphic novels and the 2005 Sin City film, while also "taking it to a new level." That meant balancing a look that was both stylized and photoreal, and this time with stereoscopic 3D.

The live action was shot entirely on a greenscreen in native 3D, and then there was substantial work that including 65 fully CG locations and 1,500 CG assets. The VFX team numbered roughly 700 (this number didn't include the Prime Focus staffers that handled the stereoscopic 3D conversion work), primarily in Prime Focus’ Mumbai facility (which handled nearly 1,800 of the shots) and Vancouver (nearly 500 shots).

The global effort also involved work from Prime Focus’ London and L.A. offices, as well as connecting to co-director Robert Rodriguez’ base in Austin, Texas. According to Tavaria, this meant revamping its pipeline including asset management and its system for storing and moving data. "Working across countries and time zones was going to be — wow. But it was a labor of love," he commented.

Fangmeier showed making-of sequences from several shots in the film, from greenscreen to VFX elements to final. "It was important to have consistent quality," he emphasized.

Prime Focus World recently merged with VFX house Double Negative.

Email: Carolyn.Giardina@THR.com
Twitter: @CGinLA