Written by Walter Schulz

VFX work is one of the most challenging and rewarding crafts one can be involved in. Fortunately, I’ve had a long career of multi-discipline work, having done everything from modeling, animation, MoCap, and AI digital crowds.

My background includes being a Creature Developer (ILM San Francisco) and Crowd Department Supervisor (ScanlineVFX), Pixomondo) in the post-production field. That, combined with having had large-scale On-Set Supervision experience for projects such as Midway (2019), gave me a thorough understanding of my process and approach to keep high-quality work on my most recent project, The Curse.

The Curse allowed me to return to the basics of the craft. The different sets presented some of the most feared challenges when doing On-Set Supervision: “mirror walls”. Reflections are something you are always looking out for and doing your best to advise the Directors on how to avoid them. This is when my passion for physics came into place, and I had to suggest all the best setups for camera and crew in order to stay out of the reflections at all times. By projecting the building surface planes, I drew the exact spots where there would never be reflections of the crew, resolving most possible issues.

There were so many memorable moments during the production of The Curse. In order to have all the references for motion and positions for the actors and the set, which eventually became the center of the story, I always had two witness cameras running whenever I needed to supervise those key moments. All that footage became instrumental at the time of completing the VFX, but also as a side element we ended up also capturing amazing BTS material with those witness cameras. I got to work closely with the wardrobe department to capture outfits for digital doubles. I had close communication with set design for all the necessary builds and for keeping track of furniture and even minor set decorations to replicate digitally in post if needed.

The most memorable collaboration was my continuous interaction with the stunt supervising coordinator, Timothy Eulich. We had worked together on a previous project, and his knowledge and experience helped us plan and execute everything without any incidents. The stunts were very challenging, and we had to evaluate every aspect to minimize risks and, at the same time, be able to capture all necessary footage and data from my end.

This show has an amazing character and timeline curve, going from a small-town drama to ending as a sci-fi thriller; therefore, I had to use a specific approach to each defining moment of those episodes. Each one posed a new challenge. In order to capture some of the key elements, I used LiDar and photogrammetry to provide exact locations and props. Early on I also built some 3d scenes for the production to prepare for the difficult stunts that were on the upcoming schedule.

The Curse was an amazing project to work on and I had a great time collaborating with the rest of the crew to create such a unique show.