Magical effects – Harry Potter style


Libra Vision, a Cape Town-based high-end digital post-production company, was recently asked to produce a video for estate agents Pam Golding Properties to depict the history of the company.

The graphics department at Libra Vision is headed by Autodesk Flame artist Steven Versfeld and all projects are seen through from beginning to end by him and fellow senior special effects artist Peter Hohsl.

“The Libra Vision graphics department works on many projects simultaneously, and our approach to project work is to use in-house skills to simplify and streamline the work process,’ notes Versfeld.

The Pam Golding project offered some challenges to the team. “When we looked at the story board it was clear that this would be no ordinary video as there were references to Harry Potter-style visual effects, like paintings coming to life and a grandfather clock with a life of its own,’ says Versfeld.

A RED One camera was used in conjunction with Flame and 3D graphics and the VFX shots were directed by Versfeld and Hohsl.

Versfeld continues: “We took the footage into Flame where 3D tracking data was generated for the 3D work. There were a lot of layers! We did final comps and colour in Smoke Premium and we had two compositors working in After Effects and Flame for four days.’

He adds that they had to spend a lot of time to make sure the colour of each scene was matched: “The house we worked in was all wooden and had various textures as well as large chandeliers and varying light situations.’

According to Versfeld, the most challenging part of the job was
marrying the 2D and 3D elements together “to make the various scenes come to life’.

“The end result was a nostalgic journey through the history of Pam Golding,’
he says.

“South Africa has some really qualified and creative animation artists who have proven that they can deliver high calibre work year after year. Cheaper software allows more creative people into the mix, and makes it more competitive. One has to work harder for less and directors are shooting less to do more VFX work, so creativity and collaboration is the key,’ concludes Versfeld.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here