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SRK to Gaurav - THE A TO Z OF the VFX that separates SRK’S Gaurav FROM SRK’S Aryan in Fan

Discussion in 'Fan' started by tasifa, May 7, 2016.

  1. tasifa

    tasifa which means Blue Eyes in Thai.

    SRK to Gaurav
    - THE A TO Z OF the VFX that separates SRK’S Gaurav FROM SRK’S Aryan in Fan
    Never before in the world has an actor been made to look so much younger through the run-time of a feature film, claims Team Fan. Haresh ‘Harry’ Hingorani, the visual effects supervisor on the SRK film, and chief creative officer of Red Chillies VFX, talks technology with t2.

    When did you start work on Fan?

    It started when we were working on Happy New Year. One day, the director of the film Maneesh Sharma and producer Aditya Chopra called Keitan (Yadav, the VFX producer of Fan and COO of Red Chillies VFX) and me to discuss the idea. We were very clear from the beginning that this would have to be a mix of prosthetics and VFX. We started scouting for the top prosthetics professionals in Hollywood and zeroed in on Greg Cannom. He has got three Oscars for Mrs. Doubtfire, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It was decided that he would look after the prosthetics and we would colour correct and blend the edges using VFX to make it look real.

    Which sequence did you start with?

    We started with the train sequence as a test to check how it would look by shooting a full sequence of two minutes. This was also very difficult because the director and SRK were clear that if the test didn’t work out, the movie would be shelved. The biggest challenge was ensuring that SRK looked like a 20-something.
    In all, six months went into R&D before the shoot could commence. At that time, the ratio of prosthetics to real face was 70:30. But when light penetrates prosthetics, it gives it a fake look that doesn’t blend well. The other challenge was that putting on the prosthetics takes a lot of time. So, we started reducing prosthetics from the forehead, neck and nose, retaining it only near the jawline, till the ratio became 30:70.

    That meant more work for you....

    Yes. Also besides the clean-up and other details, we added elements like Gaurav’s stubble. In the police station sequence just before the interval, he has a stubble when he goes home after spending two nights behind bars. But wherever you put prosthetics it hides the stubble. So we had to regenerate the stubble on top of the prosthetics. We took a lot of reference photos and created a 3D model of the stubble. Every time as the angle of the face changed, we tracked his face based on markers, put on the stubble with a 3D rendering software and finally mixed it to make it look real.

    Did Shah Rukh shoot the entire film with markers on his face?

    Yes. Otherwise we wouldn’t be able to track his face in 3D space. We increased his eye size, his eyebrows, re-modified his nose, and made his lips fuller and even filled out his cheeks. He was chubbier when he was younger. You can’t do all that without markers, and the rest is the magic of visual effects.

    Which part of Gaurav required the most work?

    The first and most difficult challenge was to make SRK look young. Many viewers thought Gaurav was a body double of SRK, which is the biggest reward for us (smiles). Once we established the younger look, we further altered his nose and other facial features and also reduced his height in comparison to Aryan’s.

    In the video that Yash Raj has released on his making, there is a kind of mask put on his nose...

    Yes, those are prosthetic appliances that we had used in the beginning, but once we decided to make his nose smaller, using prosthetics was out of question. VFX was the only way. If you see his profile shots, once the nose is made smaller and since Gaurav is two-and-a-half inches shorter than Aryan, we had to regenerate all the background areas where his original frame was overlapping on the people around him.

    With every shot, after SRK’s take, they used to shoot a clean plate without him from the same angle, where the rest of the cast would do the same things. That is what we used to recreate the background. We had to extract him from the plate, including his hair strands. Where we could not, we had to create his hair strands in 3D. Out of 83 days, Gaurav shot for 60 days. But in the second half, the director smartly clothes him heavily and Gaurav also puts on high-heeled shoes to match Aryan’s height.

    How were the face-to-face sequences shot in the jail?

    That was the first sequence we shot once they okayed the face. It was the toughest. He would put on make-up and do all the shots as Gaurav, with someone standing in as Aryan and saying his lines. The next day, he would do the same for Aryan with a stand-in for Gaurav. That took us four to five months to finish in post-production. We have done double-role films before in Don and Paheli. But interaction shots, like where Aryan makes Gaurav sit, have never been tried. The whole film, including R&D, took a year and half.

    With the face changing so much, you had to shoot the train sequence again, right?

    Yes, we did that in the end. Gaurav’s hair was different initially — wavy. But the director and Shah Rukh felt that the star’s hairstyle would be the first thing that a fan would copy. So the hair was kept normal.

    You have worked on Ra.One and Krrish 3. In terms of difficulty, where would you put this?

    This is our toughest project in 20 years, since Main Hoon Na and Paheli. Actors have been shrunk, made to look older, but nobody across the world has tried to make someone younger for the entire length of a film. Over 250 artists were involved in the film from Red Chillies VFX. And since we had outsourced the rotoscoping and background clean-up work to other VFX outfits, another additional 150 artists contributed.

    Are you hoping for a visual effects Fan buzz in the West?

    Keitan and I are members of Visual Effects Society. We will exhibit the film there. We will also be showcasing an hour-long VFX making presentation of Fan at effects MTL (an international business convention for the visual effects and animation industry) in Montreal on June 1. It is not only a proud moment for India but Asia as well. We will share stage with VFX studios which have contributed to blockbusters like Deadpool, X-Men, The Martian and the Oscar-winning movie for Best VFX, Ex Machina.

    What’s next on your roster?

    We are working on Anushka Sharma’s co-production, with Fox Star Studio, called Phillauri. Now we will start on Shah Rukh’s Raees. Then we will commence work on the most complicated film after Fan, directed by Anand L. Rai of Tanu Weds Manu fame, where SRK will be seen playing a dwarf.

    KKhan, Dea, Tash and 2 others thanked this.
  2. rollercoast

    rollercoast Zindagi

    I can't read enough about the making of this film! :thumb:
    I am so proud of Him and the whole team, the vision, the perseverance and the talent. Absolutely amazing. I'm sure the international vfx community will recognise what an incredible achievement this was.
    Dea, Rishima62 and Alenka thank this.
  3. tasifa

    tasifa which means Blue Eyes in Thai.

    That's what defines him and the people working with him. He said that this was the most difficult film he's ever had to do. But he forged through the pain, the fatigue and the path of unknown vfx territory. And he won. Everybody involved won.

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