Post Magazine

November 2011

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Unforgettable makes use of a signature flashback effect. Above: Some of VFX supervisor Lesley Robson-Foster's on-set tools housed in her Prius. Prepared VFX pros offer advice early on. By Marc Loftus Do you need to combine two totally different performances of the same actor — shot at different speeds and frame rates, playing back in slow motion and in realtime — into the same scene? Or, are you trying to blow just half the head off a live-action actor without using a greenscreen or cutting away during a single dolly shot? If you're a visual effects pro, these types of challenges can become commonplace and directors are relying on you for your input and problem-solving expertise. This month, we check in with a handful of studios that have been presented with unique visual effects challenges for both television and film projects. Here's what they had to say about working with directors, troubleshooting effects that haven't yet been attempted, and creating solutions that work within an established workflow. UNFORGETTABLE Lesley Robson-Foster is a long-time independent visual effects supervisor who last winter worked on the Gary Marshall romantic comedy New Year's Eve, and more recent- ly has been on-set VFX supervisor for the new CBS series Unforgettable. 24 Post • November 2011 ForPost Produced by Sony Television Studios in association with CBS Television Studios, Unforgettable stars Poppy Montgomery as Carrie Wells, a former police detective with a rare memory condition that doesn't allow her to forget — good or bad. Robson-Foster was brought on board by Sony. "I like to be hired by production rather than the post house if at all pos- sible," she notes. "I can make a decision about how to shoot something so that it is right for production and the show, rather than what software there is at a particular post house." The most notable effect that appears often in Unforget- table involves Carrie Wells' ability to revisit her past, particu- larly crime scenes. "She can go back and visit her own memories, and the writers have chosen to demonstrate that by having her in the frame twice," Robson-Foster explains. The two performances are described as her past self and her traveler self. "Every week we have a big motion control rig," she explains. "I hire the right rig for the gag, and it depends on what the director wants — either a MoSys system or a Techno dolly, or whatever I decide is right for the shot and we shoot the layers I need accordingly." The show shoots with Arri Alexa cameras, and Robson-

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