Interview with Krrish VFX Producer Craig Mumma

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“Krrish has raised the bar of VFX in Indian Cinema”

Your comments on Krrish and what made you opt for doing the hi end VFX execution exclusively in India? Krrish has raised the bar of Visual Effects in India. I was approached by Rakesh Roshan to work on the film. The team at Film Kraft said that they wanted to do some mind blowing, out of the world visual effects that could be comparable to the best in Hollywood and that’s so special about Krrish, it has a film production team that has great production values, understands the importance of VFX and is taking Indian cinema standards as high as the best in the world. There were some things in my mind with regard to the film like the budget, the overall quality that was needed and so I had to sit down and think about where I would do this project and who would be capable of performing the creative and also the amount of work that would be needed in this film and how we could pull it off in time. Over the past few years VFX and CG have evolved substantially in India and I as well as the team were confident that we could manage world class work right herein India. We searched and did tests with many different companies, the criteria for selection being who can handle the creative, the workload and also be proud of working on the project, which is very important. And EFX performed the best. Besides, having worked with the EFX team in the past, I had developed a great professional rapport with them and had the confidence that they would be the best solution for Krrish. What has the experience been like? In my line of work, I only want to worry about the creative, don’t want to worry about the deliverables the schedules and so forth… A lot of times I get involved with these projects and find myself also getting involved with the management of the effects house. That’s not where I want to be and this time around thankfully I didn’t have to get involved with things like getting shots delivered in a timely manner. Shots and Sequences in Krrish that have really raised the bar of VFX in India? One of the unique moments in shooting this movie and something which I am proud of putting on screen is this one particular shot which we canned in Singapore. Action Director Tony Ching said that he wanted Hrithik to fly between a truck and a trailer with the camera following him. Performing that shot was dangerous on a couple of levels, firstly because we were using the real truck and secondly because we were using the real actor and not a stunt double. The concept for the shot sprung up very spontaneously on the set and it was designed then and there. We were thinking as to what could be done in terms of VFX to help make the stunning shot possible. One of the better ideas was to remove the back of the trailer of the truck and move the truck forward and have him jump right behind it as the camera follows him through. I knew that the FX team could pull off this shot with making the container at the back of the trailer in CG and then track it along with the truck. That’s one of the moments the audience will be taken aback and wonder how he jumped through a moving truck with camera man following him all the way through. This is one of the shots that is going to stand out and also as an accomplishment not only for me but also for the EFX team. Another pivotal moment in the movie is in Singapore again and the character Krrish is jumping or running through the city chasing a helicopter to find his father. During these moments of the chase this is where a lot of the CG Krrish comes into play because we can’t use stunt people in a lot of these situations. As we are going through the city, we see him leave one of the rooms where one of the actors had just been killed. Going through the Singapore street, leaping over cars, going up a fountain and so forth. That was actually the Krrish. In some situations we needed him to jump up on top of the clock tower so that he can scan and look to where the helicopter had gone. In this situation they wanted to see him leap up onto this building. Twirl up into the clock tower and we couldn’t do this on the set for real. This is where we again had to use the CG Hrithik and animated VFX to jump up on the clock tower. This again will be another profound moment in Indian cinema that we used a CG hero in such a big extravagant shot as well. There are a couple of other as well when we are in the chase, the CG Krrish jumps from bumboat to bumboat across the river, When he leaps it’s the real Krrish that hits the bumboat and the sequence across the river carries on in CG. One of the other sequences that I enjoy watching is the Bombay circus. In this sequence the lead character, Krrish has to come in and he’s enjoying the circus when a fire breaks out. You can’t have fire with real people as there are too many safety issues, too many risks involved and that’s when VFX comes into play to create a danger zone , chaos and a phenomena where things that bad can happen. We created the Bombay circus with fire where Krrish is in danger. He has to save people within the tent and so forth. That whole sequence is in effects with Layers upon layers of fire done by the EFX crew. Having worked at such sequences in the past, I know that its one of the hardest things to pull off. If you see the latest Hollywood films, they don’t look half as good as this. This was one of the things that I was proud of, of the FX group. Compositing it and putting it into frame is a very difficult thing to do. When you watch the movie sequence, you’ll see that it is quite an amazing amount of work. Another sequence that we are proud of and feel has turned out well is The Night Fight Back. Here again we required stunts that went beyond the sets. A CG bike was created, we took a bike that was on our set and recreated it in our virtual world. We could make it do what we wanted it to do and not restrict it to the set. There are a couple of shots that EFX has done so well and one of those is when Krrish spins up in the air and launches the bike spinning out at the camera. That’s a full CG bike, and one of those things which I would dare anybody to look and say that wasn’t a real bike. The whole sequence is like that with the motorcycle flying through all the different ways and to pull that off and make it look as real as they did is a moment that the EFX team should be proud of. You have used advanced body scanning techniques with Hrithik Roshan for Krrish. Can you talk about that? We flew Hrithik Roshan to LA and scanned him with the most modern scanning techniques available today and put him into a virtual world forever. Quite a new thing for Hrithik to stand there in a neutral pose as we took pictures and scanned him into a virtual world. When he saw that for the first time it was a surreal moment to see himself caught into a computer and virtually move him forward making him jump and make him do things that he couldn’t do on set. I always enjoy doing these advanced scans because then we get to take the actor do do different things that on the set he wouldn’t be able to do because its too risky for him to be involved. connect@animationxpress.com