Cinematographer Nico Aguilar, AMC, and Company 3 senior colorist Bryan Smaller have a long collaborative history, having worked together on about 30 projects of varying length over the years including Run, a short film for which the Mexican cinematographer received both the ASC Heritage Award and the first place International Kodak Scholarship Award. This time, they’ve teamed up on the recent Netflix film, Chupa, a cuddly creature feature starring Christian Slater, Demián Bichir, and Evan Whitten.
To achieve the look of the film required ongoing creative collaboration between Aguilar and Smaller. Aguilar created a significant amount of this work through careful lighting, but, he adds, “We augmented the work in color with the type of techniques that you’d normally approach in visual effects.”
“I leveraged Resolve’s ‘object detection’ feature to isolate objects precisely when keying wasn’t enough,” says Smaller of a tool within Resolve that uses AI technology to select objects without rotoscoping.
The tool evolved during Chupa’s post process, unlocking even more shaping of the look for the filmmakers. It helped Smaller really fine tune the look in ways that previously would likely have either required many more weeks (or even months) to accomplish in Resolve, or would have required huge swaths of the film to go to a VFX shop to cut out mattes.
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