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MPC: Always have a Plan B

Even the biggest VFX productions can go awry. MPC's Adam Davis, Head of Crowds + Mo-Cap tells of one particular occasion where flexibility was needed.

We’re now moving from luma key- that technique that is as old as cinema itself- to the present day industry. However, the story that we share here can apply to us all. There’s always an element of unpredictability in any shoot, and even giants like MPC often have to think on their feet.

There’s an assumption that the bigger the budget the more things go to plan because you can spend your way out of trouble.

However the truth is whatever your budget, things don’t always go to plan and you need to be resilient and creative when things change unexpectedly. Adam Davis, Head of Crowds and Motion Capture at MPC, has an amusing story of a challenging time when he was working on a motion-capture shoot with horses for Ridley Scott’s Exodus (2015).

If you’ve got stories of a ‘Plan B’ you’ve been involved in – where something went wrong and you needed to adapt- tell us all, especially if you think it’s a common issue that others may one day encounter. We heard how HaZ had to use a grey wall to pull a key on when his director of photography forgot the portable green screen, for instance.

For me, it’d be the time I had to roto the back of an actor from a previous days filming when the actor fell ill. Rather than postponing the shoot we were able to ‘imply’ the actors presence in shots through careful camera angles and a little roto. Phew!

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