GOLDEN LION ASIA WINNER 2020
Transphere is a story that follows a pair of fated souls finding each other in parallel dimensions and in re-incarnations. The viewer is taken on a fast ride through time and space, with zoom switches from micro to macro and back, Buddhist philosophy being a visible inspiration. Kosai and his production company NION, creative agency Drill and VFX studio Juice in Tokyo, had to tell a captivating story while making the best of the IMAX potential in a visceral cinematic ride.
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“The biggest challenge was immersing ourselves in the director’s mind and truly understanding the story, which seemed quite complex at first,” said Michał Dwojak-Hara, Juice Tokyo’s Managing Director.
The Director Kosai Sekine, both as an artist and a Philosophy major, had the tools within reach to imagine this astonishing tale. His quite abstract ideas needed a visual language that combined immense 4K IMAX footage and CG materials, working seamlessly together. The briefs weren’t straightforward, but that was the beauty of this particular cooperation. “This project was tricky because the material being worked on was in the same size as the final files they had to deliver,” adds Dwojak-Hara. “If they were 10K [files], it would have been a piece of cake.”
There was actually no possibility to shoot it using IMAX dedicated cameras, as there are so few of them, and they are used only for high profile, big projects. The crew had to work with whatever the budget allowed for, but the IMAX camera quality is incomparable so this what Juice had to aim for in the final presentation.
Filming was done in a month around the suburban Tokyo locations, so then Juice had four months to do their CG work on the tightly choreographed footage. Due to a limited budget, there was no possibility to do more motion control, to hire any particular camera lenses to make the whole process more effective. The Juice animators had to manually adjust the camera movements previously captured, so each shot meshed into the next.
Due to a very long R&D stage and rich preproduction for the filming in Tokyo, Juice took a big part in the creative process, workshopping and consulting on possible solutions with the director, looking for the right visual expression. In order to find the best ways to express the visuals technically, lots of previs, concepts, even animatics were created and prepared. This abundance of concepts helped the director Kosai choose what style would best embody his vision.
There is always a fixed price, meaning that a certain amount of work has to be put in the project, either on set, or later in post, and it is inescapable. In this case, the Juice team were doing a very ambitious project with a pretty tight budget, so it was more efficient from the financial point to do the work in postproduction.
“Often the decisions made in conjunction between the CG artist and production specialist, benefit client, and agency, while still delivering on the very tight deadline. And as we all know in today’s film and commercial world, times are not extending but constantly shrinking. Whatever solutions we might have to accommodate that – especially if they are in sync with cost-saving, we believe them to be the future of approach to the motion picture.”Adam Tunikowski, the CEO and co-Founder of Juice.
挑战之一：“项目最大的挑战是如何走进导演的脑海，去完全地理解这个故事，最初我们觉得这也太复杂了” JUICE东京的常务董事Michał Dwojak-Hara回忆到。
导演关根光才即是艺术家，还有哲学背景，这是他构建这部奇妙故事的基础。他抽象的奇思妙想需要华丽的视觉语言，大量的4K IMAX和CG素材，天衣无缝地去呈现。虽然该项目在简报中并没有明确地给出方向，但这正是此次合作的魅力所在。“这个项目很棘手，因为我们的原始素材和最后需要提交的成片大小是一样的，” Dwojak-Hara补充到。“如果我们当时能有10K （的素材），就是小菜一碟了。”