Dear Brodie is a short film executive produced by and starring Russell Westbrook to promote his brand, Honor the Gift. In the short, young Westbrook sees his older self in reflections, symbolizing his promising future. It was a quick shoot with no visual effects supervisor on set, but still looks slick. So how was it done?
Post-production wizard Danny Joseph handled VFX on the short and told us how it came together. We also learn what the most difficult part of the project was.
According to the company, the film is "dedicated to honoring our childhood selves—the lessons of life’s innocent freedoms full of moments worth celebrating, in the present or through nostalgia; a reminder to never lose sight of the person we want to be."
Watch the short below.
NFS spoke with Joseph, who gave us this behind-the-scenes insight.
We're super proud of this project! Dennis Williams, our director, had come to me about two days before shooting to talk about what kind of VFX he wanted to see, and what was possible, given the time and budget. It wasn't possible to have a VFX supe on set, so we broke down all the VFX shots into each element that had to be shot in camera. Dennis and his DP did a great job collecting everything that was needed to complete the project.
Our biggest challenge was definitely the "cap match cut." I was very interested to see how those takes would look, considering Kayden Williams (who played young Brodie) and Russell Westbook were on set at completely different times during the day. Luckily, they recorded a clean plate of the sky for both times.
In the breakdown, you can see the house was rotoscoped in both takes, with the sky being hand animated to match the camera speed tilting up, and then tilting down in the later shot. The cap (also hand animated) was rotoscoped out of a completely different take of Kayden tossing it into the sky. We liked his performance in one take, but the cap quickly left the frame and wasn't quite usable. After about 10 revisions, we had the art direction of the cap falling nailed down. Plus a little bit of time remapping on the camera tilt back down, we created a moment that we're extremely proud of and we hope many people can relate to.
Learn more from the VFX breakdown below.
If you're interested in learning more about VFX and post-production, check out these resources:
- How to Animate VFX on Top of Live-Action Background Plates
- How These Free or Affordable VFX Tools Can Inspire Your Storytelling
- A Beginner’s Guide to Rotoscoping in After Effects
- The Easiest Way to Rotoscope
If you have any more VFX tips, leave them in the comments!