Flash Film Works Creates Visual Effects for ‘Alpha’ with Fusion Studio

Set during the last Ice Age, Alpha is a new epic adventure that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend.     

While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man, Keda, is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, Alpha, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives.     

Directed by Albert Hughes (The Book of Eli, Menace II Society), and starring Kodi Smit-McPhee (X-Men: Apocalypse, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) and Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson (Atomic Blonde, Game of Thrones), the visually stunning film is an action adventure drama produced by Andrew Rona and Albert Hughes.    

Going Through the Ice with Fusion Studio    

For their work on film’s visual effects (VFX), Los Angeles-based Flash Film Works relied on Blackmagic Design’s Fusion Studio.    

For example, during Alpha and Keda’s perilous trek in the film, Keda falls through ice and is trapped below the surface. The Flash Film Works team used Fusion Studio to create the VFX sequence.

“The fall through the ice was shot in a tank, with wax used on top as the ice. It needed to look more realistic, so we used Fusion Studio to remove a lot from the plate and add 3D objects back in, so the ice would break in a certain way,” said VFX Supervisor William Mesa.      

“Once Keda is in the water, there’s a strong current that pulls him. We used Fusion Studio’s 3D particle system to add ice fragments and bubbles to the water to really show the flow of the current,” Mesa continued. “Then we composited in Ice Age era fish and underwater landscapes to make the water come to life.”    

With Keda being trapped under the ice, the Flash Film Works team also used Fusion Studio for face replacements between actor Kodi Smit-McPhee and his stunt double. Then they used Fusion Studio’s 3D tools to project the ice sheet under the water, making it extend even further.    

Compositing Supervisor Jeremy Nelson explained, “During the scene, the wolf is looking down at Keda as he struggles under the ice. Some shots were done with a stunt double, so we had to take Smit-McPhee’s face and put it on the stunt double’s body. For this, I used Fusion Studio’s tracking tools to track and stabilize both plates, so I could marry them together. I then used the grid warper to match the faces and retiming tools to fine tune things, so the face’s movements really matched the actor’s performance.”     

Flash Films Works also relied on Fusion Studio for additional compositing work on the film. “Whether we were adding people to various shots or changing the landscape to add mountains for flyover scenes, Fusion Studio was our go to tool,” concluded Mesa.    

DaVinci Resolve 15 is Now Shipping    

For more than 30 years, Fusion has been one of Hollywood’s leading VFX tools, being used on hit films and television shows, such as Red Sparrow, Ant-Man, Orphan Black and Teen WolfNow, DaVinci Resolve 15 has integrated Fusion, making it the world’s first solution to combine editing, color correction, audio post production, multi-user collaboration and now VFX and motion graphics in one software tool.

DaVinci Resolve 15 is now shipping. It gives users a new Fusion page for feature film quality VFX and motion graphics animation, including a true 3D workspace with more than 250 tools for compositing, vector paint, particles, keying, rotoscoping, text animation, tracking, stabilization and more. It also includes a major update to Fairlight audio, along with more than 300 new features and improvements for editing and color grading, such as a LUT browser, expanded HDR support, stacked timelines, and subtitle and closed captioning tools.      

The Fusion integration has been a massive project that will be completed over the next 12-18 months. The standalone version of Fusion will continue to be available for customers who need it. For more information, visit their website     


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