VFX for Candy Rose Music Video

The Candy Rose Music Video for Wellington Band Supermodel has been an epic undertaking: from the concept, to the shoot, to the edit and now the visual effects.

Director, Dan Lynch's vision was to create a music video that was like a short film, in which a man who is hopeless with real women tries to live out his fantasy relationship with a doll.
A big challenge for our VFX team, was to make the main actress look like a doll. We have been lucky to work with the talented VFX supervisor Darwin Go, who works as a 2D supervisor at Park Road Post, as he leads a team of visual effects artists through some of the requirements of the project.

Darwin Go doing some long hours on the Candy Rose Music Video.

I interviewed him about some of his processes and challenges for the project:

Why did you decide to take on this VFX project with your busy schedule?

Dan and I have been working together for quite some time now and have formed a good team of artists who share the same passion of making videos and short films. The concept of the video with regards to the VFX work was interesting and challenging for me and I also wanted something different to work on.  Getting the chance to work with mates is always a plus, so working together again with the old gang in VFX and post production was exciting.

Who was on your VFX team?

It's always a pleasure to be working with these guys, Fergus Jack-Hinton, Emrys Plaisted, Jason Astley, Adam Evans and Andrew Alevizos. They are my team members at Park Road Post Production. We have worked on a lot of stuff together and their talent and awesome camaraderie definitely makes work fun. I also met a few others from Dan's circle; Kieran Smith (who took care of most of the CGI supervision) was a great addition to our team, as was William Corcoran, Ahmad Habash, Sam Debenham, Matt Jukes, Sam Harris who, with short notice, gave their all to help in this video during the last push. It was really humbling and also energising knowing that others are also enjoying the project. Wellington is full of amazing and great talent.

Actress Crystal Heart after VFX treatment to look like a doll - Candy Rose 
How do you make a human look more doll-like?
It required a lot of studying on what makes a doll look human vs a person - the bottom line is about the imperfections that add personality and brings a person to life. We had to go the other way and try to take it into perfection which made it superficial. We had to do numerous different tests and exploring of ideas from the team to get a good result. There were many comments like, bigger and smaller; smoother and rougher; to get it to a level that we were happy with.
What has been the most interesting VFX shots and what did it involve?
In my view, the doll face shots and limbs were the most interesting. I was just taken aback on how much we could change a person's face to make it look more like the face of a doll. Together with the limbs done in CG, it just made it much more interesting. The limbs were not the easiest to get right and it required a lot of tests and look development, until we found what we thought was good. We didn't have any flashy gear on set like motion capture, it's just not possible on a shoestring budget. Keiran and his team worked round the clock rigging and roto-animating the limbs to match the footage which I'm really proud of. To me, this was a great learning experience and a fun process to go through as I've mainly worked in 2D supervision.
The doll face work was all 2D so it was mostly trying to keep the subject looking inanimate and consistent. The actual work of making it isn't hard to do, but getting the look we wanted and staying consistent across the whole video took a lot of time and effort. Manipulating actual footage with different lighting conditions and angles did change a person's face a lot.

Some VFX tests for the limbs in the Candy Rose Music Video
What are some of the other visual effects shots your team is working on?
We worked on some green screen shots of the couple inside the car with a slowly crumbling wall. These shots were equally as interesting as the doll shots. They were surreal moments on the video, which also meant we could go further and be more creative on the concepts. We got to play with CG simulation for the wall and lots of great fun in compositing for the car shots. I treated these as the lighter more fun parts of the video to work on. They didn't have much to keep consistent with and these shots did stand on their own.
What do you think some of the particular challenges are with this project?
Time constraints for the team was a challenge. Pretty much all of us had day jobs and it was difficult to get everyone together as a team to achieve a full solid eight hours of work.  There was a lot of trial and error along the journey but we gained loads of knowledge working as a team and this was really beneficial and resulted in a good flow of work.
Another thing I found challenging was I didn't expect that I would have over 90 shots of VFX work. There were lots of paint and roto work that went on to clean up the set. Anything can change when you step in a film set, there is always unforeseen problems that come up and that’s why post production and VFX is there to help take care of that.

VFX magic - The car scene was shot inside a studio with a green screen

How do you keep organised with many people all working on the VFX team in different locations?

We had to find a way to make sure everyone was on the same page and understood what work needed to be done. As we didn’t have an office space where we could all hang out and work together, we used Shotgun which helped herd every shot; every artist; every version that was being looked at. As everyone was working remotely, having a database online meant we could keep track of shots and do reviews and give out notes to the artists. Ideally it would have been better if people were not working remotely as it is antisocial and I believe most of the creativity flows well with people around you.
Towards the end of the post production, Jeff Hurrell generously lent us an edit and grading suite at Martin Square Productions. We were very grateful for this offer and it really helped us organise and work together successfully.